Back in the summer of 2011, after living together for the previous two years, we decided that it was time to take our first holiday together. Instead of taking your average one week at the seaside, we dove right in and decided to InterRail around Europe. Having only been outside of the UK once before myself and Kris never, this seemed fool-proof. Despite a few hiccups along the way, this was the single best decision we’ve made as individuals and as a couple.
Travelling is one of those things that many believe should be done at least once in your lifetime. At the time of our trip we were travel novices, backpacking amateurs and Kris didn’t even have a passport. But, we managed it and so can you. So from one amateur traveller to another, this is how we planned our first Interrail trip.
Planning Our Interrail Trip
The idea of an InterRail trip was suggested to us by a friend. An InterRail (or Eurail) pass is a special type of train ticket that you can buy for travel within Europe. The ticket options available are either for a global pass or a one country pass for almost all countries in Europe. The travel time of the ticket also varies from continuous to a select number of days within a set time frame. The global passes are bought for set prices whereas the one country passes vary in price dependent on the country itself. It’s a shame that the one country passes don’t offer a continuous option.
As this was our first trip, we were adventurous and wanted to see as much as possible and get a feel for everything so we chose to buy the 22 day continuous global pass. As the ticket cannot be used inside your country of residence we first had to book our travels to Europe and back. This allowed us to stay a few days either side of our ticket and book the accommodation in advance. At least we’d have a bed to sleep on at the beginning and the end. We planned the rest of the holiday as we went along. Planning where to go took some time and seriously highlighted our lack of knowledge about Europe. We started off with a big printout of the InterRail map and began putting pins in the places we would like to see. It was great watching the trip come together as we added pins, removed them and finally joined them all with string to see the not-so-concrete plans. We chose places based on things we knew and how good they sounded in the guidebook, which we later forget to take with us.
Narrowing down our lists from everywhere to a few select locations, our final country’s to visit list (after changing our mind on the trip as well) ended up as: France, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
Other pre-trip planning included some general purchases for our trip. Having never been on this kind of holiday before we had to buy ourselves some gear. Two backpacks, a two-man tent, two sleeping bags and the Rail Timetable for Europe, we were ready to go.
Next stop: Paris!
Have you been InterRailing? How was your trip?