US citizens, Asians or even South American travelers tend to travel through Europe in one big trip. To do this, interrailing might be one of the best ways to discover the more than 30 countries, hundreds of cities and even more villages. Here are some tips for travelers seeking the ultimate European adventure.
Maybe you are planning on traveling through Europe on a budget this summer. In that case, chances are big that you’re exploring the continent by railway. You can combine the sunny French Mediterranean coast with culturally rich cities in Eastern Europe or remote wilderness places in Scandinavia. Or what about alpine villages in the Swiss Alps?
DON’T TAKE TOO MUCH LUGGAGE WITH YOU
When traveling with railways it’s better to keep your luggage to a minimum. In fact a simple backpack should do the trick. It’s easiest to carry while traveling across a continent. Just take some clothes, money, your passport and a tootbrush with you and that’s all you need.
CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET DRASTICALLY
Europe is expensive. In fact, it might be one of the most expensive continents in the world. Eventhough there is a difference between traveling in Eastern Europe (cheap) and Northern Europe (expensive). But still.. pretty expensive. The main part of your budget will go to food, transport and accommodation. A tip to find cheap accommodation is using Airbnb. You can find rooms at decent prices AND you’re staying with local folks.
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LEARN A FEW BASIC WORDS OF EVERY LANGUAGE
Europe has a lot of countries and unlike continents such as North America and South America, there are a lot of different languages. It might be wise to learn some of the basic words of every one of them. Just to make sure you’re able to say ‘Hello’ or ‘Thank you’ in their native language.
TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE
When planning a route the website will most often show you the quickest way to get from point A to point B. But sometimes there’s another route that might take a bit longer, but the view out of the window makes it well worth the extra travel time. Europe has a lot of scenic train journeys to choose from. The Flåm Railway between Oslo and Bergen, the West Highland Line, Fort William to Mallaig or Bernina Express between Chur and Tirano. You can read more in our post about ‘Scenic railway journeys in Europe‘.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE…but keep room for adventure
It would be real adventurous to go on an interrail journey without planning anything. It would be expensive too. The internet is a great source to compare cheap accommodation, train fares in promotion, etc…
USE INTERRAIL PASSES
Another reason why you should plan your route at least a little bit in advance is to make use of interrail passes. These let you travel through Europe or some countries with one single (more beneficial) ticket. But it would be stupid to buy a pass for the whole of Europe if you’re only going to end up visiting a few countries.
If you’re a European resident, then go straight for the InterRail Pass – you can choose between a ‘Global Pass’, a single ticket valid in 30 different countries, or a ‘country pass’, allowing unlimited travel in your specified country. However, if you are a non-EU citizen, you’ll need to look out for a Eurail Pass.
DON’T TRY TO SEE TOO MUCH
The huge network of train lines and relatively small distances make it easy to whizz between cities and countries.If you’re in Milaan you could be in Venice, Geneva, Turin or Paris in a matter of hours. It’s tempting to see all these cities. Although it’s a rail trip, you do probably want to see more than the inside of a carriage!
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SMALLER PLACES
Paris, London, Barcelona, Geneva, Stockholm, Berlin… and so on. There are plenty of cities in Europe worth a visit. Cityhopping from one main city to another will make you miss alot of beautiful places. Think about places like Chamonix, Bruges or tiny Scottish villages alongside the West Highland Way.
Do you still have some tips for travelers who are planning an interrail trip through Europe?