Preparing my first Interrail Europe tour!

Preparing my first Interrail Europe tour!
Photo by Arthur Edelmans / Unsplash

Travelling and interrailing are all about new experiences and having fun! But obviously, it all requires a bit of planning ahead.

I don't want to kill all the spontaneity and rather go along with the flow, but I still think it's important to have some idea of places I want to see or things I want to do, and roughly where I can sleep. It's especially important because I'll be travelling (partly) in August, which is high season in Europe, so it would be a shame to miss out on an awesome hostel or miss a train simply because I didn't book it early enough.

Originally, I was supposed to do this Europe tour with my friend Arno. Unfortunately, life got in the way and we will only be able to do the first week together. 😥
But I'll still make the most of the trip on my own!

Dates

The first thing we need to put down are dates: from 21st August to 16th September.
In the end, these dates didn't really work out for Arno, but it's too late for us to change them... We still managed to squeeze in an extra day at the beginning, so leaving on the 20th instead of the 21st. I'll also finish slightly later since I don't have a limit date.

Itinerary

The next thing we nee to do is decide on an itinerary. Arno and I defined a fairly precise itinerary starting in Paris—where we meet—then going through Milan (Italy), Venice (Italy), Trieste (Italy), Jesenice (Slovenia), Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria), Bohumin (Czechia), Krakow (Poland), Berlin (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Cologne (Germany), Rotterdam (Netherlands), and finally Antwerp (Belgium). Along with the destinations, we decided on the number of nights for each, taking into consideration overnight trains we could take.

The first week with Arno will be exclusively in Italy, where we will visit some friends.

However, since I will now be doing the rest of the trip on my own, I will keep more flexibility, changing activities, dates and destinations as I meet people.

The plan is now to start in Italy with Arno for the first week, somehow end up in Rotterdam for the weekend of 16-17th September, and after that go to the UK for one last week.

Accommodation

Next up on the list is accommodation. Still in the spirit of flexibility and improvising as I go, we don't want to book too many nights in advance. What we did do in that case is to research possible hostels and places to stay, and draw up a list of options for each destination.

To find our accommodation, we stick to the popular platforms like HostelWorld and Booking.com. For each find, we mark down the price per night per person, the rating, and some additional comments. If you're curious, here's our complete list.

Packing

One last element to prepare before actually leaving is to pack our bags! Even though it's not the kind of thing you would do weeks ahead, it's still important to draw up a list of things you would need or want to bring with you, especially when space is limited - like in a backpack!

And we did exactly that! You can find our whole packing list here. We tried to think of everything we want to take with us, but also include all the things we or other people think are essentials :)

Bear in mind this list might be slightly different to what will actually be in our bags when we leave.

Other miscellaneous stuff

Aside from doing all of these, we still have a few things we can do beforehand, to avoid having so many things to do during the trip.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Looking up activities. It's probably a good idea to have some idea of what kinds of things there are to do at our destinations.
  • Currencies. Even though it's pretty straightforward in Europe, some countries don't use Euros. These are Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Switzerland, to name a few.

And that's about it for preparation, now we just have to go with the flow!