An Interrailing Guide For First-timers

Have you considered interrailing for your next travel adventure? Whether you are planning your first trip without parents, taking the kids on a European adventure, or making time for memory making in your retirement, Interrail has something for everyone – travelling across the continent by train is something not to be missed and a travel experience that will stay with you for many years to come.

Before you head off on your rail hopping vacation, take the time to read this interrailing guide for first timers, because ensuring you are prepared will take your holiday experience to a whole new level… 

Check your seat reservations:

Seat reservations, who needs seat reservations – While you can in general hop on and off trains with your Interrail Pass as much as you want, the vast majority don’t require seat reservations. However, on busy routes across Europe, it’s always worth booking a seat in advance to guarantee a seat, as well as accessing additional services such as Wifi, power sockets and sleeping facilities. Certain train services have compulsory seat reservations, so it’s always worth checking before you travel. 

Be flexible, things may not always go according to plan:

Even if you are the most organised person in the world, there’s a slim chance that you will run into some difficulties when travelling across Europe, so be ready for the unexpected. These could include confusion over accommodations, rail disruptions, or delays. It’s critical to keep in mind that all of this is a part of the trip experience and that you will get a lot of knowledge from these experiences. Just keep your cool and always allow more time than you anticipate needing. For instance, if you’re trying to catch a connecting train or travelling to and from the station. 

Plan your packing and luggage requirements in detail:

Packing for a vacation is never easy, but when interrailing, it really is an essential part of the adventure! Carefully planning what you will need for each very varied element of the journey, making sure you are ready for every eventuality while still travelling fairly lightly needs careful thought. Additionally, you should carefully evaluate your luggage choices while you will be travelling throughout Europe with your bags. Consider what kind of luggage would be most appropriate for you as you will be carrying your bags on and off trains. And no, a rucksack is not necessary for this! While backpacks are undoubtedly helpful, a lot of Interrailers prefer to travel with carry-ons and bags. To lighten your load, try packing as little as possible, but don’t be hesitant to ask for assistance if you need it! 

Make sure you have all your essentials to hand:

It really does help to try and  travel as light as possible while interrailing, but don’t leave home without your essentials. These include your passport, phone, portable phone charger, travel adapters, first aid kit and hand gel. It is also a good idea for you to pack your own cutlery and food storage boxes (plastic bento or tupperware, for example) so you can pack up leftovers to eat on the go, or to take food if you are going somewhere a little more off the beaten track – there may not always be a supermarket or convenience store on your route for the day. 

Have an entertainment plan for the train:

If you think you can stare out the window for the duration of the trip, you might want to think again. Even though the view will be amazing, you will likely be spending a lot more time on trains than usual, so you should absolutely find other things to do to pass the time. For extended travels, make sure you have activities planned, such as reading a book, downloading podcasts, or bringing a card game to pass the time with other travellers. In addition, if you plan to listen to music, don’t forget to bring headphones. You’re not out to get other travellers unhappy! 

Travel while you sleep by taking night trains:

Why don’t you try scheduling a night train if you’re short on travel days or just can’t handle another eight-hour trip? Night trains are an excellent means of travelling between nations since they offer reasonably priced, cosy sleeping accommodations. Additionally, you can save money on lodging! You only need to use one travel day if you take the night train. 

Stay open minded and ready for an adventure:

As well as exploring different places across Europe, your Interrail trip is the perfect time to find out a little more about yourself, too! Really embrace the travel spirit on your adventures and be open to the opportunities in front of you. If a local invites you for dinner – go! If you want to visit a different destination – do it! With the flexibility of your interrail pass, you can adjust and amend your train journeys to suit your needs. remember to stay safe on your travels, and always ensure that at least one person knows your current location. 

Interact with other travellers:

Whether you’re travelling solo or with friends from home, some of your very best adventures will occur when you connect with other travellers. Make friends for life in train carriages or while exploring the key sights of a city. It’s a fantastic way to learn more about different cultures and to share your love of travel with those around you! 

Finally, and most importantly, have the travel adventure of your life:

As you crisscross Europe’s enchanting terrain, take pause to relish the serendipity of the unexpected, for it is in those unscripted moments that the true essence of travel reveals itself. From the cobblestone streets of historic cities to peaceful rural vistas, each stop along your route beckons with the promise of new and enriching encounters. An incredible adventure awaits! The thrill of hopping on and off trains, exploring new cities, and immersing yourself in diverse cultures is truly unbeatable. Remember to savour each moment, from the bustling streets of one city to the serene countryside of another. Have an amazing time, and may your Interrail journey be filled with unforgettable experiences and wonderful memories!