You are probably anxious about your first interrailing trip. Dont worry, here are some tips that you need to know before you head off to Europe. And you can always leave a message via the comment box if you have a question and ill try my best to reply as soon as possible.
Plan in advance. Make a list of departures and arrival times of trains you are planning to take, and recheck every now and then if there's any changes on the schedule. Have a look if there's any events and festivals planned on your destinations on your date of arrival. It might be fun to join the festivities. There is also an app called RailPlanner where in you can check updates on train times.
Make sure to check if the seats need a reservation fee. When we went for our interrail trip last summer, we chose the first class tickets. Some of the first class journeys required reservation fees, which cost a few pounds, especially in major and busy cities.
Consider the amount of luggage you are taking. Most interrailers advise only taking backpacks. For us, we were interrailing for a continuous month and outfit and comfort are quite important for us so we decided to bring 1 medium luggage each plus a small bag for valuables. We didnt have any problems except on our sleeper train journey (see separate blog). Although we got a whole cabin for ourselves in the sleeper train, it was still small for the 3 of us with 3 medium luggages and 3 bags, but we made it work. Apart from that, you will be walking with your luggage to your accommodation (unless you take a taxi everytime). Fortunately, our hotels were close enough to the train stations. Also, if you have some time to wait for your train, some train stations have luggage storage where in you can pay a small amount to secure your luggages in, so you can roam around the city luggageless.
Check what currencies you will need. Not all countries in the schengen area accepts Euros. Here's the list of them who have different currencies:
Bulgaria – Bulgarian Lev – BGN
Croatia – Croatian Kuna – HRK
Czech Republic – Czech Koruna – CZK
Denmark – Crowns – Krona/Kroner
Hungary – Hungarian Forint – HUF
Macedonia – Macedonian Denar – MKD
Norway – Crowns – Krona/Kroner
Poland – Polish Zloty – PLN
Romania – Romania Leu – RON
Serbia – Serbian Dinar – RSD
Sweden – Crowns – Krona/Kroner)
Turkey – Turkish Lira – TRL
Switzerland – Swiss Franc – CHF
UK – Great Britain Pound – GBP
Check if you can avail of debit/credit cards with no foreign fees.
Make sure to put your mobile phone on roaming status. Some mobile network offers free roaming for the whole of Europe. And we used google maps a lot.
Check the free itineraries in my blog. We have been making #2daysin comprehensive travel itineraries to make your travelling easier and more comfortable.
Take a sleeper train. If you are travelling a long distance, sleeper train is a perfect idea to connect from one destination to the next. It is a great idea to see the scenic mountains and rivers while on the train. Don't forget though that sleeper train requires a hefty reservation fee depends on what class and cabin you are taking.
Make sure you budget properly. We made a spreadsheet of our budget so we can keep an eye on our day to day spending. Apart from that, we have a spending cap per day which is £30, excluding hotel accommodations.
Try to wake up early to see the best of a city. Major cities can be jampacked by tourist so if you'd like to see the beauty without photobombers, then better wake up early. You can always go back to your hotel in the afternoon for some siesta anyway (especially on a summer where its too hot)
Dont worry if you cant see it all. Dont put pressure on yourself to see everything. Every destination has tons of things to see and a few days will never be enough. There's always a second time anyway to come back. Stop worrying and enjoy your interrailing trip.
BONUS: Always secure your passport. If you are a non-european citizen but currently living in Europe or the UK, you will be required to show your visas at some point, especially if you are crossing from a schengen area to a non-schengen area.