Tuesday, July 14

Travel: A guide to Interrailing

Around this time nearly 2 years ago (on my 18th Birthday in fact!) myself and 2 of my friends set off to Budapest to meet 2 of our other friends who had just spent 1 week travelling round Italy. Little did I know that what was to come were some of the best memories I have. Our trip consisted of Budapest, Prague, Krakow, Berlin, Hamburg and Amsterdam all in the space of 2 weeks. I absolutely loved it. I would also love to go again so here's some tips on how to plan.
Get an Interail Pass
This may seem obvious as this is a post about inter-railing but these are so worth the money compared to paying for individual trains. You will need to pay for reservations for overnight trains (make sure you go in advance as we found out the hard way and ended up having to change trains at 3am! on the way to Krakow) but I know this would be worth it as you can upgrade to an actual bed.

Get a map
When we had our first planning get together we had an inter rail map (and some wine) and set about planning a route. We didn't get to go everywhere we wanted as we had to cram it all into 2 weeks but we looked up distances to make sure we could fit most of it in.

We stayed in hostels that we booked through Hostel World as we had a discount card so we could avoid pesky booking fees. We spent an afternoon reading reviews and looking at maps for each place deciding where would be best. We did pretty well with this as everywhere we stayed was really nice, our favourite was definitely Wombats City Hostel in Budapest primarily for the bar area and the fact they upgraded us so we had the whole room to ourselves when we arrived. In Amsterdam, all accommodation was ridiculously overpriced with really poor reviews so we actually ended up staying  at a campsite called Camping Zeeburg in Wagonettes which was actually brilliant. We were quite a way out of the centre but rented bikes which is a must in Amsterdam anyway. We booked all our accommodation before we arrived but I know my brother did it along the way and it worked out for them (most of time!) so do whatever feels comfortable.

See the sights
When we were booking our accommodation we made a list on which bits we wanted to see of each city knowing full well we wouldn't get to see everything. Make a rough itinerary but make sure you leave some time for relaxing and other sights you might come across once you're there. Fellow travellers you meet in hostels are also really helpful. I still have notes on my phone with recommendations of places to go. I also thoroughly recommend doing a walking tour in Berlin - we had an excellent guide called Brian and he was so in depth about everything and took us places we'd never thought of going. He also named the 5 of us as Harry Potter characters so he obviously knew how to impress us.

Plan roughly how much you're going to spend in each city bearing in mind Western Europe is a lot more expensive than Eastern. I'm still getting over the fact a really good cappuccino cost less than 90p in Krakow. Make sure you allow for any emergencies by taking a credit/debit card that's cheaper to use in Europe.

Your travel companions
I did quite well as the boys were pretty relaxed which meant we were helpful to do what we wanted to do and they chipped in every now and then. We only had a few minor arguments but nothing that resulted in someone ditching us. Make sure you trust the people you're going with.

Just go and do it. 
Interrailing is something I'd never actually considered until my brother did it and even then I was convinced it wasn't for me. I thought it would be really scary travelling round with 4 other 18 year olds but it actually turned out to be an amazing 2 weeks and something I can't wait to do again.

Have you been inter-railing? Have you been to any of these cities? What was your favourite?
If you have any questions about my trip let me know in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them.

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