The weather has been horrific in England for the past few weeks, so I’m sure we are all mentally planning some sort of summer escape. Last year I had the privilege to go interrailing with my friend Harriet, and although it ended up being quite expensive, we got a lot of bang for our buck while we were out there. The beauty of interrailing is that you get to visit so many places for such a good price, which I’m sure is why its so popular amongst students. I thought I’d go through our process of planning a travelling holiday on a student budget.
First, we decided what places we felt we 100% had to visit, me and Harriet both decided on Budapest and Lake Bled for the favourites but we had no idea about the others. We also came to the conclusion we would like at least 1 beach destination for a few days of relaxation, and definitely a city in Italy. Then we had to work out the logistics of travel, we had 7 travel days available and worked out the routes we could go from each place. Our route went Budapest, Lake Bled, Milan, Nice, and Paris. The only compromise we had to make was Milan, as it was very difficult to find a location in between Bled and Nice that trains would allow access to.
After this we bought our passes, which worked out at around £120, and then made sure we booked all trains that required booking. This was a hidden cost that we were completely unaware of before we started, and ended up being completely unexpected, so I would be aware of that as it came to around £140. Alternatively you can ensure that you choose routes that you do not have to book if you have a really tight budget. If you can I would definitely suggest doing at least one overnight train, its an experience in itself but it means you can sleep the whole way.
Now we had the fun bit, we chose our hostels. To ensure we knew how much money accommodation was going to cost we decided to book these beforehand using hostel world. Paris and Milan hostels were generally more expensive, Bled was more middle range and Budapest and Nice were relatively cheap. Before taking these into consideration we made sure we read reviews and looked at all the pictures. We also decided what facilities we needed, wifi was a must so we could contact friends and family and upload photos. Luckily the range of hostel prices balanced out to our set daily budget. We were happy with all our choices besides one, a lot of our hostels were spacious, colourful and clean. The only negative one was Milan, which was cramped, hot and sweaty but I think 1 out of 5 isn’t too bad especially as it was our shortest stay.
After this we got to relax a bit, this was all completed by March last year, however the beauty of interrailing is that you can do it super last minute also if it suits you, I’m a planning freak so it was better for me to know I had a hostel ready when I reached a location. All I had to do then was save my money for general spending money and activities, we worked out specific budgets for each place. Obviously cities like Budapest are significantly cheaper than places like Paris, so definitely take this into consideration. Also Nice and Bled ended up being cheaper as we were doing a lot more free activities as well as relaxing. My biggest advice for working out your budget is making it location specific, and also do your research about how much activities will cost. For example, visiting the Schezenyi thermal baths in Budapest and going up the Duomo in Milan. Also consider looking at fun free things to do, a lot of the sites we visited didn’t cost a penny.
Hope this helps anyone who is a student considering travelling. I do not have a job at uni, however I have a part time job at home, which mostly funded the trip, although I only work in my breaks, so didn’t have the hugest budget compared to what other people may have.