Today, just over a week away from heading to our first destination, let me tell you, I feel like I’ve done a master’s in how to travel by train across Europe (c It is clear that my knowledge of these famous bills has gone from 0 to 100 in a few months). That’s why in this post, I’d like to summarize everything I learned before taking my first train, for those who are thinking of buying an Interrail ticket .
1. How many countries would you like to visit?
The first thing to do after deciding to travel through Europe by train is to choose the number of countries you are going to visit . If your intention is to travel several countries (you can do 30, in total), which is very common for this kind of trip, you will have to buy a Global Pass . If, on the contrary, you only want to visit one country , what you need is the One Country Pass . In both cases – and in those of the other tickets they offer on their website – you will have to be a European resident. If you’re not, don’t worry, you can use a Eurail pass .
2. It’s cheaper for people under 25 or over 60.
Like many other things in life, for all intents and purposes, you stop being young at 25 (I always say that youth is more about the mind than the date of birth, but , Well…). Interrail is one of those things. It can also cost you less if you are over 60.
3. One day trip, all the trips you want.
As I told you above, the price of the ticket depends on the days of travel you would like to do over a specific period. And that, what does that mean? This means that on the days you choose to travel, you can take all the trains you want ; you can even spend the whole day traveling, if you feel like it. In addition, be aware that if you take a direct train that starts from 7 p.m. and arrives at your destination from 4 a.m. , you will be counted on the day of travel from the day following that of departure, which will save you a travel day.
4. Not all trains are valid.
Most, but not all, European trains are included in Interrail passes. For example, high-speed trains are often not included; on the other hand, regional trains and many tourist trains, yes. You can see them, by country and in detail on their website .
5. Traveling at night is a good option.
If you are going to do long distances , I recommend you to choose a night train , it is a good idea. So you can go to bed in one country and wake up in another, and you save time — you travel at night and you visit sites during the day — and money — you don’t pay for a hotel! In our case, it only suits us to go from Prague to Krakow. The only thing to take into account is that to travel by night train, you will have to book in advance , and this means, in most cases, paying a price that varies depending on the train. , the country and the conditions in which you want to sleep (on a seat, on a berth, etc.).
6. When in doubt, check social media.
From my experience, I can tell you that Interrail responds to you very quickly via their Twitter account . They also have a very active profile on Facebook ; you can therefore easily ask them questions, at any time, and believe me, there are doubts.
7. You can apply for a pass in a short time.
If you book your pass online, the number of days after which you will receive it will depend on the country where you are. In addition, passes are also available at some train stations. In my case — I’m in Spain — I received it in just two days. You can calculate the approximate reception time on their website .
8. The app can help you…
… but you will have to browse the train websites of the countries where you will be going . I can tell you that the Rail Planner mobile app (available for iOS and Android ) is very useful. It allows you to search for all the train connections you want and, in addition, offers other interesting information such as the additional reductions you get with a pass . However, I still had to visit the websites of the official train services of each country because I better understood the information they give.
9. Have a blast playing Tetris on trains.
Here’s how I imagined myself for the past few weeks: playing Tetris on trains, and then what? I didn’t have fun, by chance? What about the giggles that will take us when we lose a train, because this train does not exist, in reality? Seriously, I must admit that the preparations are a lot of fun here. And I can say, without fear of being wrong, that “ Google Maps ” is my new bible.
10. The budget for your trip is up to you.
In the end, what kind of trip you’d like to take and what you’d like to spend will be up to you. You can choose the kind of ticket you want, as I told you above; stay in three-star hotels or more, or in one- or two-star hotels, or hostels — that’s what we’re going to do, my sister and I; you can even actually sleep on the train whenever possible. It only depends on you!