InterRail Preparation Checklist
What to do – How to prepare
Planning an InterRail trip? Below is a full preparation list to help you plan your trip!
Also check out our InterRailing Packing Checklist
This is the exciting part! Start planning where you want to go. You may not have a strict route, but it is useful to have a vague idea of what you want to see and where you want to visit. Bear in mind that your plans will almost certainly change! Start reading guidebooks and looking online and write down a proposed route. You can find some good route ideas at gapyear.com. Make sure to check Government travel advice to check that the places you want to visit are safe and accessible.
Most countries in Europe are safe to travel in, and most visits trouble free. However it is very important to check government travel advice before travelling. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice In some countries you visit it is likely that there will be some areas where travel is not recommended. Make sure you take this into account when planning your route.
Once you've decided where you want to go you need to figure out how to get there! You may not want to book internal flights just yet, but you'll need at least some transportation from home to your first destination. I use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights on the day I want to travel, or to explore the cheapest month to travel. If you know how long you are travelling for, and where you'll be when you want to return, book a return ticket, otherwise you could book a one way ticket and plan to book your return flight when you are away. STA travel offer a MultiFLEX pass, starting at £29 these passes let you change your flights; this is good, as you may wish to stay longer than you initially planned! Flights through STA are usually a good price. If you're travelling from England to continental Europe a coach or train may be a cheaper alternative to flying. I traveled with Eurolines Uk coaches from London to Brussels, travelling on the ferry over night. This took approximately 8 - 9 hours. You could also consider the Megabus. Or a quicker but more expensive alternative is to take the Eurostar.
You can buy the InterRail Global Pass Here!
I do not recommend a continuous pass, unless you are planning on travelling by train every day. For a month long trip a '10 days within 1 month pass' should prove perfect. You should order this at least two weeks before you travel to ensure it arrives on time. Make sure you fill in your pass accurately before each trip, ticket inspectors are frequent and unrelenting in handing out fines for incorrectly completed passes. Read more information on the types of passes you can get here.
Travel insurance is essential. It is often difficult to find travel insurance which will protect you for an elongated holiday. I tend to use Outbacker Insurance or World Nomads.
Find out whether you require a Visa for any of your destinations, and apply well in time of your departure date (at least a month before) to give your visa time to arrive. Check if you need a Visa here and read more here.
Check that your usual vaccinations are up to date. It likely that you won't need any additional vaccinations for travel in Europe. If you do need additional vaccinations, book them at least a month and a half before your trip as most courses take a month to complete. Check the Fit For Travel website to check what vaccinations you may require.
For long trips I do not recommend that you bring enough cash to last your entire trip, as you risk having it lost or stolen! Instead I suggest that you bring enough Euros (check if the countries you are visiting use the Euro here) to last 1 week. You can compare exchange rates here. Then bring a card, or travel money card to withdraw money for the rest of your trip. If your bank doesn't offer competitive exchange rates consider a Caxton Fx currency card or I use an STA Travel Money Card. These card boasts no withdrawal fees at ATMs, and you load them with money as you go, so that if they are stolen, you don't have to worry about all the money being withdrawn from your bank. You can also get someone at home to load the money onto your card for you. Take a look at this website to review other currency cards. There is easy access to ATMs through most of Europe.
I book most of my accommodation through Hostel World Hostels are a safe and affordable form of accommodation; if you're travelling alone choosing a large dorm room (eg. a 16 bed mixed dorm) in a hostel will give you the opportunity to meet and socialise with other travelers, larger dorms are also usually cheaper. When InterRailing I booked all my hostels before I left, although this is not essential; always aim to book at least your first 2 nights accommodation in advance to ensure a place to stay while you are finding your feet, from then you can find subsequent accommodation using your hostels WiFi, or turn up and hope for the best (In my experience hostels were mostly frequent and easy to find). Bare in mind that in the summer months some of the nicer hostels are likely to be fully booked. An alternative to hostels is Couch Surfing, although I have never tried it I have heard some great reviews from friends. Airbnb is also more and more popular every year. Or for hotels try Booking.com or Trivago.
Just before you leave you should photocopy all important documents twice: • Passport • Travel Insurance Details • Boarding Passes/ Travel Tickets Take one copy with you and leave one at home in case of emergency.