For years, the interRail pass has been considered the must-have ticket for any student traveller. An inclusive rail ticket, the ‘Global’ pass covers more than 30 different countries and provides a great opportunity to explore the diversity of the continent.
This summer, after 5 days on Sheffield RAG’s ‘Treasure Hunt Europe’, myself and two friends decided to extend our pass…after a lot of planning, awkwardly sleeping on trains and mistakenly calling a Slovenian family instead of a hostel, we managed to have the trip of a lifetime without blowing our budget!
InterRail offer a number of passes at a range of different prices; a Youth pass will only set you back £144, as long as you are happy to travel second class, i.e. a standard ticket on British trains. We opted for the slightly more expensive ‘10 day travel within 22 days’ pass which allowed us to plan for longer breaks in certain cities. Before choosing your pass, brainstorm all the countries or cities you would consider visiting, and then work out your train plan. To help, I would recommend purchasing Thomas Cook’s European Train Timetable for tackling train times – some websites do not provide you with the shortest train journeys or the most convenient times.
Once you have picked your route (which is easier than it sounds) start planning your accommodation. We struggled to find hostels in Austria, Germany and Croatia (very popular countries with interRailers), so find somewhere as soon as possible! Whilst it was a bit of a brick to carry, I thought Rough Guides’ Europe on a Budget offered the cheapest choices for accommodation, eating out and nightlife. It also provides handy maps, detailed with all of the choices in the guide; it was a life-saver on more than one occasion! In addition, HostelBookers provides a good service for booking accommodation, although you usually pay a small booking fee.
My interRailing journey encompassed 22 days, 23 trains, 16 countries and 9 cities: Brussels, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Linz, Salzburg, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Split, Hvar and Bräc (two Dalmatian Islands), Lake Bled, Venice, Florence and finally, Cannes.
Interestingly, along with the picturesque Lake Bled in Slovenia, Prague turned out to be my favourite destination; the eclectic mixture of historic and new, combined with its superb nightlife and characteristic accommodation (a room with a ceiling under 1.70m and a toilet on a balcony across a corridor) deems it a must for any bud
Meet new people? Check. Discover new places? Check. Have an unforgettable experience? Most definitely!