What is Interrailing?
If you’re a keen traveller you’ve probably heard of the term “Interrail” or “Eurail”. As we are from Europe the ticket that we bought is an Interrail pass, if you are from outside of Europe it would be a Eurail pass.
If you haven’t heard of Interrail or Eurail I’ll explain. Basically, an Interrail pass is a train ticket that is valid on lots of trains throughout Europe. It allows you to freely travel without the need of worrying about booking trains.
The only thing that you may have to book, which on some trains isn’t necessary, is the train seats. You usually have to book seats on high-speed trains and trains from one country to another. These seat bookings usually cost between €10 and €30 sometimes, less sometimes more. NOTE: Some trains are NOT included in your Interrail pass.
The Pass Itself
We bought a 1st Class Interrail pass which cost us £277 including insurance in case we lose or damage the pass (we are very clumsy). This allows us to travel on 7 days within a month. We bought this from interrail.eu (if you are from outside of Europe you can buy your pass from Eurail) and at the time of purchase, we got 15% off hence why we got 1st class.
The next thing that we did was plan where in Europe we wanted to go. We chose to do Western Europe as we only have 2 weeks and we would like to do Eastern Europe on another trip.
Our initial ideas for locations were: Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris, Nice, Monaco, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, and Geneva. We came up with 12 cities that we wanted to visit. Now as we are going for 17 Days that is way too many cities to visit especially with some being quite far out of the way.
We narrowed it down to Amsterdam -> Paris -> Geneva -> Milan -> Nice (travelling to Monaco on one of the days) -> Barcelona -> Madrid. To see how this journey would flow with approximate train times we used a really good website called Interrail Planner. This produces a map with the exact train routes you will be travelling on. Here is ours:
Maybe some flights?
To save us two train journeys we are flying from Manchester to Amsterdam and then flying back to Manchester from Madrid. This means we are using 6 train journeys with 1 spare in case of an emergency or in case we mess up our travel diary whilst we are on the way. These flights were booked through Skyscanner which is great for finding the best prices on flights. The cost for both flights including hold luggage was £151.85 per person.
Booking your accommodation
As we are both 17 years old we had to book our accommodation very carefully. This included the tedious task of phoning up EVERY hostel we looked at which meant a very expensive phone bill… whoops!
We booked as many hostels as we could but some refused us as we are under 18. In a scenario like this, we had a look on Airbnb and double checked with the owners if it was ok for us to stay in their apartments as we are 17. Some said yes, some said no.
If you are under 18 and you are going travelling I’m letting you know now that people will say no. If this happens make sure you don’t give up or get pissed off, if you do it will make planning your holiday absolutely horrible. If this failed and owners from Airbnb said no then we would move to hotels. We only booked one hotel throughout our trip, which is in Madrid, as we wanted to do it on a budget like most travellers. However, we didn’t book the hotel in Madrid because hostels refused us, we did this because we wanted to stay in a nice hotel to relax in on our last couple of nights.
We are leaving to go on our adventure in late July. Here is a list of the places we are staying and prices (for 2 people) to give you a rough idea of how much accommodation cost us.
Amsterdam – 2 nights – Hostel – €126
Paris – 3 nights – Airbnb – £165
Geneva – 2 nights – Hostel – 136 CHF
Milan – 2 nights – Airbnb – £99
Nice – 3 nights – Hostel – €144
Barcelona – 2 nights – Hostel – €80
Madrid – 2 nights – Hotel – €122.40
Total in GBP (roughly) = 808.95 / 2 = 404.47 pp
So the price up to now for one person is £836.32. Now, this may seem expensive as it does to us. But you have to remember this is for a 2 week holiday INCLUDING accommodation.
Getting your seats
Now, let’s get to the seat bookings. When you book your pass with interrail.eu they have a separate site for reservations. On this site, you make an account and add your pass and all the details that are required. After this, you add the journeys that you wish to go on and it will add the trains that you need to get along with the times and a rough price. Once you are certain you can add the train journeys to your basket. This will then tell you a rough price and all the trips will get sent to interrail.eu for review and they will email you back with a definite price. Something that I really like about the reservations website is that it produces a PDF with your itinerary on of the journeys that you will be taking.Here is ours:
Luckily we only have 1 train on our journey which requires changes and that is from Nice to Barcelona. It stops at Montpellier Saint-Roch for about 1h30m which means we can go to a few shops and then make our way back to the station. We figured as our journeys aren’t too long we will just stick them out. If we had extra long journeys then we would have broken them up by stopping somewhere for a day or night. With the guide prices our seat bookings cost (per person) €158.50 which converts to around £135.47
So with all expenses apart from spending money, the price reaches £971.79 which, considering you are travelling around Europe, isn’t bad.
So, this is how we shaped our Interrail trip… Exciting! All we need now is to actually go on the trip!
None of the links we have used we have been sponsored for this is how we booked our trip as cheaply as possible.