Here is a list of InterRail tips so you can be ready for the big day !
Book the next train ride the day you arrive in the city
When you know your next destination and know how many days your are planning to stay in a city, it is worth booking your next train ride to your next city the day / minute you arrive in the train station. That way, no waist of time and you don’t have to come back to the train station during your stay. By doing this, you’ll reduce the chances of finding yourself in the situation of missing the last train or the last available seats.
Bring a book
Train journey can be long. That is why it is important to keep yourself busy during that time. This can be the occasion for you to read that famous book you’ve always wanted to read but never had the time to do so !
Book / Take morning trains
Taking morning trains if your journey is quite long is better for you is a good choice. To arrive in a city you don’t know a thing about at night can be very creepy and difficult. Besides, if you are not a fan of booking your hostels in advance, it represents a risk of not finding any available beds, and increase your chances of running around the city to find that basic need. So to avoid that, nothing better than to arrive in the afternoon to be able to organize your stay in the new city.
Engage with locals in the trains
Most of the time, they will be the ones engaging with you. Tourist is written on your face (and your backpack) so they will talk to you. Enjoy deeply those small pleasures. An old person not speaking a hint of English still trying to engage with you is priceless and will make your trip way more interesting.
Don’t think Northern countries are unreachable
OK maybe Finland isn’t very easy to reach, I’ll excuse you not going there. But missing Norway and Sweden would be a huge mistake ! The train rides are so much worth it. Trains cross marvelous landscapes that are sufficient to make your whole life fulfilled with joy, peacefulness, beauty and astonishment.
Don’t think Istanbul is too far away either
Even if the journey to reach Istanbul seems long, and outside of the reach of InterRail, it is not. Yes you can visit this beautiful city with your pass. To make the journey to go there more comfortable, you can stop along the road and enjoy some Eastern (and less touristic) counties. Enjoy some nights in Belgrade and Sofia ! After having enjoyed Istanbul for few days, 2 ways back are being offered to you : the first one through Romania or the second one through Greece so you can enjoy the sun and the beaches !
Concentrate your journey on 3 to 4 countries
If you don’t like to rush and you want to enjoy yourself and chill as much as you can (let’s be honest it’s holidays after all), I recommend you to focus your trip on a maximum of 4 countries. Travelling is exhausting, so if you want to enjoy your trip, do not forget to plan (at least a general idea) of your trip before leaving.
InterRail is not just for visiting capitals
The usual journey of many InterRailers is Amsterdam – Berlin – Budapest – Prague – Vienna. Those cities are magnificent and a must see, but you do not HAVE TO go ONLY there. InterRail is yours, you can go anywhere in Europe. Do not limit yourself to busy capitals. You should be able to enjoy some Norwegian and Slovenian landscapes ; as well as charming villages like Santarém in Portugal or Szentendre in Hungary.
Do not plan everything
Please, do not book all your trains, hostels in advance. This is a huge mistake even if you are a very organised person. It is important for you to understand that during your trip you will meet travelers and locals whom will give you many tips about what to do and where to go next. You could miss so many wonderful things with a very strict planning. So relax and take your journey as it comes !
Shy people : travel alone !
Travelling alone is the best way to get over shyness. By being alone, you will have to open yourself to others. In hostels, trains, bars, you’ll find that engaging with people is way easier than you think. So if you are of being alone (or be seen as alone), no worries, you will always be surrounded by other travelers. Many of them travel alone in order to meet new people and to escape their comfort zone. So shy reader, do not be afraid, do it, and you will be forever thankful to yourself for having found the courage to do so !
Need a travel buddy or just more information about InterRail ? Check this website.
I had myself the opportunity to do 4 InterRails, here are my different journeys :
Paris – Vienna – Belgrade – Istanbul – Budapest – Berlin – Copenhagen – Stockholm
Paris – Cologne – Hirtshals – Oslo – Flam – Trondheim – Bodo – Lofoten Islands – Kiruna- Stockholm – Copenhagen – Bruges
Paris – Amsterdam – Hanover – Berlin – Budapest – Vienna – Ljubljana – Milan
Naples – Rome – Venice – Milan – Prague – Budapest – Krakow – Warsaw