Photo: Ljubljana, Slovenia. Courtesy of Dan Noutch and Abi Bunce.
Hi, welcome back to thebettinsonblog’s travel series!
So sorry that you missed out last Sunday – I’ll be drafting posts through the week now – but I was busy travelling, as many travel bloggers are.
Just a shame it was only as far as Weston-super-Mare, eh?
As expected from the descriptive title and my previous post, in this chapter we’ll start to explore the idea of interrailing.
To break down this week’s key points, I’ve relived my school days and kindly completed the 5 W’s and that extremely awkward H for you.
It never had the same ring to it when the invited H to the party, did it?
What is Interrailing?
Believe it or not, Interrailing is the use of a single train pass to travel within or between participating European countries. Across a flexible range of different options, your pass will provide you with endless possibilities as you encounter (hopefully) sunnier climbs, beautiful landscapes and heaps of culture. Think of the food.
Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a comprehensive travel planner, the ability to start everyday in a new location should you choose to do so will lead to an array of jealous friends and a bloody good Instagram feed.
Where can you go?
Up to 30 European countries, including fan-favourites France, Spain, Italy and Greece, can be visited with an Interrail pass. Of course, this means there’s scope to experience a wide breadth of culture throughout your travels, which is what everyone is looking for, right?
While single passes limit you to the borders of that specific country, if you purchase a global pass, then you’re also entitled to 2 journeys in your country of residence (for outbound and inbound journeys), this is a new feature to the pass and I’d highly recommend using it. Last summer, we flew into Paris and out of Barcelona, which – despite Skyscanner’s best efforts – obviously increased costs.
To make sure that the cities you want to travel to are easily connected (as some surprisingly aren’t), I’d definitely recommend downloading the Interrail Rail Planner App – it’s available on both Apple and Android.
Who can do it?
While an Interrail Pass can only be used by European citizens and official residents, non-European citizens are welcome to purchase an Eurail Pass instead, which can be found at Eurail.com.
(Note: Non-Europeans who can prove that they reside in Europe can use Interrail, if not already clear).
There are currently three age ranges to select from when buying a pass – including Youths (12-27), Adults (28-59) and Seniors (60+) – and Kids can go free.
(Note 2: Under a fourth category – the Family pass – an adult can supervise a maximum of two children each).
When can I go?
Upon ordering your ticket, you’ll be asked when you want to start using your pass and the date you put will be printed onto it as your start date. And as the service runs throughout the year, there’s no specific month or season for your adventure to begin.
Thinking about a trip for early next year? Not a problem, you can order an pass up to 11 months before you start the trip.
How expensive is it?
As ticket prices are dependent on your age, pass type and number of travel days, this one’s a bit harder to answer. However, ‘global’ passes currently start from €175 (£148.34) and single-country passes from €37 (£31.36). Sounds like a bargain to me.
Last summer, we spent five weeks abroad, visited thirteen locations and decided upon the 15 days within a month pass. Stuck between the 10 and 15 mark, we didn’t use all of our days but easily could’ve. Make sure to make the most of your money as you don’t get any unused days back in cash!
Across each chapter of this series, I’ll explore the costs at each location including hostels, food and drink. But in advance of that, I’d advise you to budget carefully. Hidden costs like train reservations can cost you dear and sting a little – we got by daily on about €20 – €25.
And finally – but most politely – why should I be interested?
Sold as ‘the convenient option for independent travellers with a thirst for adventure’, this mode of transport provides you with the freedom to see wherever, whenever. After 5 weeks away, I was left wanting so much more (even if I was craving a proper cuppa). Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s still so much more for me to see!
Realistically, long-haul travel has always seemed out of bounds to me on a part-time job and student loan. And so, as this option worked out to be pretty cost-effective, it made sense to pursue it. Especially when the weather and culture were so vastly different to the UK.
Over our time away, I’d estimate that I spent about £1,500. Based on the experiences, memories and sights – I’d say it was 100% worth it.
So, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, I’d suggest looking a little closer to home to start planning your Interrailing adventure today.
Need any extra information about Interrailing? Be sure to visit the website.
Next week, we’re leaving the UK to relive last summer’s adventure. Make sure to brush up on your French, as we’ll be touching down in Paris bientôt.
For now however, I’m going to take a long look at my photos and some sunnier days away from Doris.
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