InterRailing: how it works
All aboard for a European escapade - Jess Fitch from gapyear.com explains why InterRailing is just the ticket for those in search of a multi-country adventure.
What? The InterRail pass combines low cost travel in Europe with maximum flexibility. The pass allows you up to one month of unlimited travel across 30 countries. Substantial discounts are also available on European ferries for InterRail pass holders. InterRail also offers single country passes for many countries in Europe.
Who? Although it's available to everyone, the prices are substantially cheaper if you are under 26.
How much? There are five options; depending on how long you want to go for, and how many days you want to travel. The shortest pass allows you to travel for five days out of ten and costs £119; the longest is for one month and allows you to travel every day. It costs £295. Individual country passes start from £55.
Tips for using all discount rail passes:
- Many trains require a supplement above the regular ticket price, and this is almost always the case with couchette and sleeper trains and many high-speed trains. Be particularly alert in Italy and Germany, where supplements seem to be charged at will.
- In Italy booking ahead is strongly advised, due to overcrowding and train repairs;
- You can't use an InterRail pass in your own country; although you can get discounts on travel in the UK. You can't use your InterRail on Eurostar, although again you can get a discount;
- Many European trains split into two parts half-way through the journey with the two halves ending up in different destinations.;
- Buy food and drink before you get on a train. Trains can often get delayed so may be longer than you had planned. Food prices on board are often quite pricey and local food and drink is often better.
If you have a rail pass with a limited number of days travel on it make the most of it by only using it in the more expensive countries. Trains are most expensive in the Scandinavian countries, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and the cheapest in Italy and Eastern Europe. If travelling over weekends in Germany buy a bargain Deutsche Bahn's 'Happy Weekend' ticket instead of using your pass.
Buying your ticket
Go to RailEurope's website to find out about ticket prices, as well as book tickets and hostels online. Also, bear in mind that Inter-rail passes cost more for those over 26 years-old.
Before you go
Read up on the places you're thinking of visiting beforehand: there's nothing like leaving a town far behind only to read that it's home to the word's biggest cheese sculpture, or that you've just missed the international air guitar championships.
When travelling on trains, keep your valuables hidden and close - for instance, in a money-belt under your clothes. Use a cable-lock to secure your backpack to your seat or the luggage rack.
What with all this criss-crossing of the continent, you may not know when you're about to cross a border, and those armed border police piling into your carriage can come as a bit of a surprise. They'll ask to see your passport, and they may check through the contents of your rucksack thoroughly, so don't be carrying anything you shouldn't.
By Jess Fitch from gapyear.com (updated by TheSite.org)
Read the comment policy
Use our free question and answer service and speak to an expert!