If you’re dying to see more of the world but can’t afford to fund a round-the-world trip, then why not consider interrail?
Explore Europe for as little as £322 when you travel by train. Interrail is popular with not only students and adventure seekers, but also anyone who wants to see more of the world for lower cost in less time. Interrail allows you to visit numerous countries over a week, two-week or month period, within a realistic budget. Not everyone can afford to fly around the world, but you needn’t miss out, just rethink your mode of transport. These top tips will show you exactly how to prepare for your first interrail trip.
How does interrail work?
An interrail ticket allows you to hop-on and off European trains, enabling you to see multiple countries at a small cost. The ticket will be in your name, meaning it’s non-transferable, so keep it safe. You’ll also need to carry your passport to prove you are who you say you are.
Buying your interrail ticket
Interrail.eu provides European passes and information on the destinations on offer to you.
You can either purchase a one-country pass, which as the name suggests allows you to travel to and from one country. If you’re interested in travelling to two or three countries it may be more cost effective to buy a few of these passes; prices start at £32pp.
Those looking to cover more of Europe are probably best off purchasing a Global Pass. The Global Pass allows you to travel to up to 30 countries:
Costs start at £322 for 5 days travel within 10 days, and go up to 1-month continuous travel for £766. Seniors and those 25 or under can benefit from discounted prices of up to £400! *
Before you travel
Make sure you do your research before you travel, as the last thing you want is to get home and find out you missed out on seeing X, Y or Z. You can save money by buying one travel guide of Europe and enjoying some bedtime reading before you leave. There are lots of travel guides on offer and carrying only one book will increase your much-needed luggage space. Also remember to leave room for a European Rail map and a compass, as you won’t want to spend hours walking around in circles if you don’t know which way is North.
Start by marking down the countries you think you would like to visit. If you’ve only got two-weeks then you are going to have to be selective. Once you’ve decided where you intend to visit, you need to plan the most effective route to minimise your travel time and increase the time you get to explore each stop. Find the quickest routes online (check your ticket is valid for these routes as some fast trains incur an additional fee), and then start thinking about accommodation.
Trust us, you do not want to leave this until last minute. If you consider yourself a real-life Bear Grylls, or Cub Scout/Girl Guide at best, a tent will inevitably save on costs. There are many campsites dotted around most of these countries and they are extremely cheap. If camping isn’t for you, don’t worry as you can sleep off the ground by staying in an affordable hostel.
Improvised accommodation may sound fun but we’d recommend booking at least a couple of locations in advance, especially in the summer when these places get booked up early. Sleeping on a night train is another, if not slightly bumpy, alternative.
Bonjour, Ciao, Hallo, Cześć, Alo, Hej
It is worthwhile learning some key phrases before you depart so you can get by. The obvious Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You are essential, but also some numbers, Where is/are…?, Do you speak English?, One beer, Toilets, etc. will come in extremely handy. Don’t rely on people knowing English, brush up on your phrases before you depart and you’ll be thankful you did.
Now we don’t like to brag, but here at FairFX we are pretty much experts on this subject.
A Prepaid Currency Card will most likely be your best friend as you won’t have to worry about (A) lugging Travel Cash around in multiple denominations; (B) ordering too much currency as you can top-up as and when you need funds; and (C) it’s a secure Chip & PIN card, so if you’re worried about losing it why not order and Family and Friends card too. You can always keep the additional card in the hostel safe/bottom of your rucksack and transfer funds between the cards as and when you need them.
You can register for our excellent currency card rates here.
Anyone who has been to a music festival can probably relate to this next tip: Lay out the entire luggage you think you need on the floor, now half it. We’re serious! The best way to travel is using a rucksack as it frees up your map-holding hands. You might think you’d like to take a hairdryer or those extra pair of shorts, but after two weeks of carrying them on your back you’ll wish you had left them at home. Travel light, and we guarantee you’ll be much happier!
The exception to the rule is comfortable footwear and travel Scrabble.
Look after your valuables, especially if you’re on a long train journey and likely to nod off. Use a cable-lock to fasten your bag to the luggage rack or overhead.
Border police may ask to see your passport or the contents of your bag as you cross between countries, so don’t carry anything you shouldn’t.
*Based on a youth travelling 1-month continuous on a Global Pass versus an adult.