Every year thousands of young backpackers head to Europe to experience 3 weeks or a month (normally) of adventure throughout one of the world’s most diverse continents. Travellers have been ‘Interrailing’ for years (even my dad went way back when!) and more will go in 2016 for sure!
I have been lucky enough to have been twice, and here are my 6 top tips for your trip later this year!
1) Pack Light
Don’t over-do it when it comes to sorting your rucksack remember it’s probably a months trip at most rather than a 12 month globe trotting bonanza! My first time we primarily travelled through Italy Austria and Switzerland (with a trip to Santorini) and I thought it would be a good idea to pack 2 pairs of jeans…which never got worn!!
2) Plan ahead. But don’t plan too much!
Europe, more than most other continents requires more planning because of the more expensive transport. Choosing what cities or other locations that are a priority before you leave will result in way less stress and it will save you time in the long run.
Planning too many cities over long distances can ruin your trip though. Some places you might end up in for less than 24 hours if you’re in a rush and if it’s a major city there’s no way you will see everything you want.
3) Save enough money to do the things you want
Now this may seem very obvious, but you could either save enough to just about get by or enough to have all the cool experiences you dreamt of 6 months beforehand. The trip just wouldn’t be the same if you had to turn down the chance to see the islands along the Croatian coast or take the mountain train through Switzerland.
4) Stay in dorm rooms
This point is probably more relevant if you’re not travelling as a couple. Nevertheless, I’ve always found the easiest way to meet fellow backpackers is sharing a room. Naturally you’ll go out with them, get to know them quickly and have at least one thing in common…Interrailing! Not to mention that you will save money as well and that could go a long way in an expensive part of the world.
5) Give the local language a go!
First thing to say is…well…I’m no linguist! I can get by with french and then bits of Spanish and Italian, but in all honesty that’s because I tried hard to pick up the basics on my trips previously. It can make all the difference if you greet the locals in their language, or order your food and drinks. You’ll probably feel a whole lot better about yourself and they’ll appreciate the effort…even if the standard isn’t the best. I even got a free drink when I greeted and ordered in Italian when in Paris last time round so don’t turn your nose up at the idea!
6) Coffee….or some sort of caffeinated drink!
This is likely to be one of the most exhausting months that you will ever have. The early starts for long train journeys after nights out or just general late socialising/sight seeing will be okay to start with but you’ll probably lag behind eventually. Never fear! An early morning coffee (especially in Western Europe) will be an absolute God Send!