Essentials For Interrailing Around Europe
Wikimedai Commons: By Champer
Interrailing is a life-changing experience that everyone should enjoy. You can choose to visit as many or as few countries as you want around Europe at a pre-set price. A lot of planning needs to go into how long you want to stay in each country, and what you plan to do while spending time in the different cities. While researching the tips and tricks of staying in foreign countries, it’s also important to get advice on the best ways to hop from country to country as well. Here’s a look at the essentials for a stress-free and fun interrailing experience.
Interrailing Planner App
The days of needing a guidebook or reading a foreign train schedule are gone! Using an interrailing app works both on and offline to help you with your journey planning. Interrailing apps can advise you which trains to take to get to your destination the quickest, and even tells you the number of stops between you and your destination.
Another key piece of information while interrailing is that some train journeys require a reservation fee. This is either because it’s a long-haul journey and train provider doesn’t want to waste space on travellers who change their mind, or the train offers a more accommodating seating (in some cases beds) for overnight journeys. Either way, the app will also inform you of any reservation fee before booking your next train. When offline, the app won’t take into account cancellations, so it’s best to call in a day before to confirm your booking.
Travel Pillow, Blanket & Ear Plugs
The journeys can be long at times, and there’s only so much reading and chatting you can do on some days. Taking a premium travelling pillow along will make sleeping on trains much more comfortable and will lower the risk of any neck or back pain when you wake up. U-shape pillows can be bulky, but paying a little more will really make the difference, and other pillows tend to be smaller to pack away (which is always good when travelling with a full backpack).
A thin thermal blanket will also help to keep you warm and save some space, which is great when some of the journeys air conditioning might be set a tad too high. Finally, earplugs, if you’re a light sleeper these can really work in reducing the background noise of other passengers or the train itself, whether you find in-ear or a headset better is up to you (it might even be worth testing both out before you go on your adventure).
Padlock (or 3)
Padlocks can’t be stressed enough while travelling across countries. It’s shocking how easy it is for a thief to take your possessions without anyone even realising. Locking up your essentials on the train is vital in case you drift off for a nap, some thieves will just rummage through your bag and everyone else will think it’s their own. There may also be occasions when your hotel or hostels room isn’t ready and you need to leave your bag somewhere, don’t make it easy for strangers to rob from you, lock it all up whenever possible!
Although it’s a product you’ll likely be able to buy in any country you visit, taking your own is always advised. Knowing the brand you’re consuming reduces any risk of having a bad reaction to something you’re unfamiliar with, plus might not be able to even read the label which is never good. After dozing while seated on a train can result in aches and pains so it’s aways good to be prepared in advance.
Pre-Paid Travel Card
A modern-day traveller’s cheque, having a pre-paid travelling card is the safest way to interrail and not risk losing all your funds. You can basically transfer money into the account at any time, and you can then travel around the city with just the pre-paid card to pay in shops as you would with your personal card in your home country. If the card is stolen, it means that you only have the potential to lose what has been put onto the card that day, rather than risking your complete bank account.
The majority of pre-paid card providers also offer better currency conversion rates when spending on the card, so your pre-paid card doesn’t face the same penalties as your personal debit card.
Follow all these tips will make you experience much easier with a lot less to worry about. The majority of people’s experience interrailing isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes it such an exciting adventure. So, expect a cancelled train, a lousy hostel and hours of looking for somewhere to eat, it’s all those stories you’ll be laughing at in the years to come.