red train on rail near body of water during daytime

TOP 10 Interrail tips for an unique experience

Interrail is with no doubt one of the best experiences that you can do. Find out how to plan for it and how to make the most out of it.

Interrailing around Europe is a really amazing experience but it can be really stressful too. After our “Interrail/ Eurail, your ultimate guide” article that you can find here, we would like to share some tips and advice for your trips across Europe.

With these 10 Interrail tips, your experience will be more enjoyable.

1. Planning your entire trip in advance

First of all, please do not underestimate this step! Many people don’t set a plan, wasting their time to find trains and decide where to go. This situation can cause a lot of frustration that you can simply avoid doing this process earlier before the journey. It is always good to have in mind a kind of itinerary that you would like to undertake. Take in consideration for how long you want to travel for and plan the different destinations taking into account the distances between them. Decide your priorities and design your journey around them.

As many say, planning the journey is the beginning of an amazing adventure, this is why you should start early so you will not stress out when the day of the departure approaches. Besides, a journey really begins from the moment you start to plan it.

Please be mindful that some trains (ferries or buses) are not covered by the Interrail Pass, so you should make a reservation; you can make a reservation up to 8 days before but I advise to do it as soon as possible.

2. Travel light, choose a nice travel backpack

The Backpacker
Photo by Apaha Spi / Unsplash

As you could notice from the headline above, we said backpack, which is the perfect travel mate for this kind of journey.

Don’t overpack your backpack!

You will always have the chance to use a washing machine somewhere in your accommodation or surroundings. Traveling light is really important because you will spend a lot of time carrying your backpack on your sholders. This touches onto my next point which is not forgetting to bring at least two pair of comfortable shoes. If you travel for 1 month, I suggest to bring clothes for 8/10 days. I hereby recommend a 40L backpack.

3. Carefully choose your travel mates

I know this is not a really nice topic to talk about, but think carefully about who you are going to be traveling with. You will spend most of the time with your travel mates so it is good to share the journey with people that have at least the same tastes as you. It is possible to have some arguments, we are humans and we don’t have to agree on everything, but it is important to give space, take a deep breath and try to sort the arguments out as soon and as politely as possible.

This kind of trip couldn’t be for everyone, adventurous spirit is a must and the last thing you want is to drag alone a travel mate whose expectations were 4 stars hotels and comfort traveling. This is the journey and the adventures of your dreams, don’t let a lazy traveler ruin it.

4. Plan your night trains wisely

Photo by Kalegin Michail / Unsplash

Many people do not want to use them because they are not a mainstream way to travel. However, they have their charm and it is the best way to cover long distances saving money for an accommodation and time for daytime activities. This is a really good tip to take into account while you are planning your trip at the beginning because they might not always be available every day.

Moreover, remember that if you have the Global pass with limited travel days, and you take a train before midnight arriving at your destination the following morning, you can only use one travel day instead of two.

5. When in Rome do it like the Romans

Seafood Paella
Photo by Kaitlin Dowis / Unsplash

Once you get to your destination, try to leave your national habits to the border. It is an experience and you should live it to the fullest. It might sound like a silly tip but, there are travellers making this mistake that prevents them from having a great experience, especially when it comes to food. McDonalds’ and other fast food might be the safest way to go when you don’t know if you are going to like the local food, but this is a risk worth taking. Try all the culinary specialties of the country. Find out on internet (TripAdvisor or Foursquare) or speaking with locals about the typical restaurants that can offer the best culinary experience.

However, if you are after to the cheapest way, the local supermarket is the place you might want to go for as it gives you local food at a very affordable price. Also, you will be able to make sandwiches for the day after and be ready for a busy day around wherever your itinerary is.

6. Do not fall asleep in the morning and enjoy the trip

Travel clock in the morning
Photo by Julian Hochgesang / Unsplash

Make the most out of this trip and the city you are visiting. It might sound very tempting to stay in bed till noon after a night out, but remember that the clock is ticking, and you might be getting your train back before you know it, regretting not to have explored the place the way you wanted. So, get up, wash you face, have a strong coffee and off you go!.

7. Make sure to have these apps in your phone

Photo by Yura Fresh / Unsplash

Back in the days, not too many years ago, travellers used to rely on many different tools to get around the city: maps, books with international trains and buses time tables, city guide books etc… These tools were space wasters and most of the times heavy!

Today we can condense all of these in our phone, so take advantage of it. The apps that I find really useful during these kinds of journeys are the followings:

Google maps, most of you know it and recently it can also be helpful offline.

TripAdvisor, if you are looking for restaurants o activities this app is what you are looking for.

Google Translate, this can be your amazing friend when you do not know the local languages.

Rail Planner, the official Interrail app can help to check the trains in the whole Europe., perfect for your reservations.

Hostel world, perfect for amazing hostels around Europe.

Airbnb, for shared and private apartment.

Meetup, amazing for meet new friend and attend local event

Uber, allows you to search for available drivers close to you.

8. Check the local currency and be sure to have a travel debit/credit card

Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

Before starting your journey make sure to know which currency you will need, not all the countries have the Euro (€), for example the United Kingdom has the Pound sterling (GBP – £).

Other countries that do not use the Euro are: Iceland, Norway, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Take in consideration the exchange rate.

As long as you are in the euro area everything is quite simple but when you will be in a different area you will have to think about the exchange rate.

If you need cash no worries, Europe has a lot ATM machines and most of the time the exchange rate is more convenient than currency shops. However, the provider will probably apply a commission.

For this reason, there are new generation cards as Wise and Revolut which can help to make payments in any currency, anywhere, without worrying about hidden fees.

You can find more details about Transfer wise here, and for Revolut here.

9. Know where to sleep

Photo by Marcus Loke / Unsplash

Not arrive at your destination without having at least some information about the accommodations that the city can offer. Book the hostels in advanced so you don’t waste time to find a bed where to sleep and consequently increasing my stress levels.

So please plan this as well, there are many options: Airbnb, hotels, hostels, camping and lastly for the brevier people, sleeping outside the train station can be a really good and cheap option when you have an early train or you are arriving in the middle of the night at your destination. Be aware that the train station can close during the night but you should be able to sleep outside with a sleeping bag.

10. Enjoy the experience and stop panicking

silhouette photo of five person walking on seashore during golden hour
Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

Planning an Interrail can be stressful. However, you have to think that first and foremost it is a holiday experience. You are not a robot and things can go as you’ve planned them or not. You could find different difficulties such as missing trains, delays, getting to the wrong station etc. but they won’t stop you to have the greatest experience of your life. Remember that the problems could turn the journey to a better experience most of the time and you will go back home you will happily remember those moments, even if at that time they caused you stress.

Interrailing is not just to explore Europe, but it is also a personal journey where you can learn to improve your personal growth as a traveler.

Enjoy it!!!