I was lucky enough to spend the month of June interrailing this year and I can honestly say it was one of the best experience of my life. During my travels, I picked up a few tips that hopefully can help some of you out there have the trip of a lifetime! So without further-ado, here are my top interrail tips and tricks...
This may sound obvious but don't underestimate the benefits of planning your trip. Many people think that you can just 'wing it', and you can (and you should) to an extent. However, putting in some effort in to organising details like train times, reservations, itinerary etc can save you a lot of time and money that could be better spent on improving the quality of your holiday.
2. Be Flexible
I know this seems like a contradiction of my previous tip but let me explain! Although you should have an idea of your route, be prepared to change it. You may not like somewhere as much as you thought you would and end up loving a different location. Having the flexibility to hop on a train and leave or stay an extra night somewhere else really makes the experience of interrailing all the more exciting!
3. Pack Smart
Packing is an important part of any trip but even more so when it comes to interrailing. It's important to pack light and the ultimate motivation to do so is that you're the one carrying everything on your back. A helpful (but difficult) guideline is to lay out everything you think you'll need and then half it, just don't forget the essentials!
4. Keep a Diary
It may sound a bit cringe, but keeping a diary is something that every traveller advises. You cover so much ground and see so much that it's impossible to remember everything. My friends and I would write about each place on the train leaving and it's so lovely to look back on. We also kept a 'quotes book' where we wrote down all the funny things people we met said or we said ourselves. Trust me, your future self will thank you for the laughter and memories.
5. Cook Yourself
Cooking yourself is surprisingly easy to do when interrailing, particularly if you're staying in hostels or self-catering apartments. It saves so much money that you can instead spend on fun things to do. Of course eating out is inevitable but try to limit it as much as possible. Instead, hit the local Aldi or Lidl (they're everywhere in Europe) and stock up on breakfast for your stay and some easy dinner options like pasta, omelettes and stir-fries.
6. Ask Locals
No matter how many time you google what to do in various cities, often the best things can be found out from the locals. Hostel workers are particularly helpful for recommendations on cheap places to eat and the best places to go out so make sure to ask!
7. Choose Travel Companions Carefully
This is arguably the most important tip of all. You may think that there could be nothing better than spending a month with your six best friends but being friends with someone and going on holidays with them for an extended period of time are two entirely separate things. I personally chose to travel with two of my best friends and we were so lucky that we didn't fight once. However, we know each other for long enough to know when to give each other space. I'd recommend not travelling with more than four or five people and remember that there will be a lot of exhausting, stressful situations so it helps to avoid clashing personalities.
My final tip is to not to overdo it. Definitely get out and do as much as possible but it's better to give yourself time to enjoy everything rather than focus on being able to say you went to X amount of cities. Try to plan your route so that it's geographically makes sense so that you don't end up taking a 22 hour journey from one city to the next (we actually met girls who did this!). Have a few places you really want to see and things you want to do so that you maximise every second. Travelling is exhausting and you don't want to waste an experience of a lifetimes just because you were too tired to enjoy it!
I hope these tips were helpful and if you have any questions please do leave a comment below and I'd be more than happy to help in any way I can. If you're interested in more interrail-related posts, checkout the internal section of my blog here, which I will be updating consistently.