…to Frankfurt to Prague to Krakow to Bratislava to Budapest to Belgrade to Zagreb to Rijeka to Ljubljana to Salzburg to Munich to Zurich.
Yep, that’s happening. I am officially going travelling in June and July and I’m visiting all of the places above. Now you might be thinking how can a student afford all of that? Inter-railing. That’s my answer. What is inter-railing you ask? It’s basically an affordable way of travelling around Europe…by train. You hop from country to country, staying in youth hostels or hotels, trying all the local food and see all the amazing sights. I know some people who have been before and they say that it is such an incredible experience so I thought I’d tell my readers about it to see if you like the sound of it.
We are going all out with our trip and going to a lot of countries in one go but that’s because we went with the ‘I want to see everything’ approach, but you might prefer to take it slower and spend more time in each place. This is the good thing about using the inter-rail website: there are several types of tickets you can buy to suit your travelling preference. Rather than going for the 10 within 22 days like us, you can go 5 within 10 days meaning you have 5 days of travel, therefore can visit 6 countries as your first train will be from wherever you fly to, and 10 days to do it in. Or you can choose a continuous pass which allows you to travel every day.
So what’s good about the passes? Well everything is in one place. There’s no need to print separate tickets for each journey, instead you just use the one pass for every journey. Plus the website stores the train timetables for each country so once you’ve worked out your route you just type in each individual journey and it will show you the train times. It also works out a lot cheaper, especially if you’re covering a huge amount of countries which are far away from one another.
In terms of cost we will probably be spending between £1000 and £1500. That sounds a lot but if you think about how many places we’re going to it really is not that much. Accommodation comes really cheap. If you use Hostelworld.com you can find cheap dorms for no more than £20 (excluding Zurich because Switzerland is extremely expensive), with some being under £10 (we’re away for 34 nights and I think we’ve spent about £500 on hostels which really isn’t bad!). As I said, the pass is definitely value for money- ours is £219 but we get to see 11 countries with that (the rest of the countries we are paying for outside of the inter-rail pass which added another £100 onto the costs). Of course the day to day costs like food will probably add up quite a bit because we are going to have to be eating in cafes and restaurants since there will be no place to cook, however if you’re careful and budget for each day you can make sure this doesn’t cost too much. Plus some hostels include breakfast in their price so at least that’s one meal! Finally, providing you book them in advance, flights there and back can be found cheaply too. Or use our trick and take the Eurostar to France…it only costs £30!
So if this sounds good to you then check out the inter-rail website( http://www.interrail.eu/interrail-passes/how-to-use-your-pass). Be warned, there is a lot of planning involved because you do have to make sure that you make reservations on the trains which need them and that you book the hostels in advance so that you can guarantee you have somewhere to stay. But I have a feeling it’s all going to be worth it in the end!
If you have any questions feel free to ask.