10 Tips for Your First Interrail Trip
Feeling excited yet? You should be! Whether this is your first time exploring Europe or travelling across the continent by train, it's time to make memories to last a lifetime. Here are some of our top tips before you head off on your trip to make it even better than ever.
1. Download the Rail Planner App
Travelling between European countries by train might sound daunting, but it doesn't need to be. With our Rail Planner app, you can keep track of your trip and individual train journeys in an easy and organised way. Here, you can find the latest information on train timetables, book seat reservations and access your mobile Pass throughout the trip. Whether you want to wing it or add more structure to your trip, check out the 'My Trip' section to plan the itinerary of your dreams.
Tip: the mobile Pass is only supported on Apple devices iOS 13.0 and later and Android devices 6.0 and later. Make sure to update your phone before downloading the app.
2. Check your seat reservations
Ah, seat reservations. You can hop on and off trains with your Interrail Pass as much as you want, and the vast majority don't require seat reservations. However, on busy routes across Europe, it's always worth booking a seat in advance to guarantee a seat, as well as accessing additional services such as Wifi, power sockets and sleeping facilities. Certain train services have compulsory seat reservations, so it's always worth checking before you travel.
Tip: seat reservations are not included in your Interrail Pass and can be purchased at a small additional cost. Find out more here.
3. Be prepared for things to go wrong
Even if you're the most organised person in the world, there's still a small chance that you'll encounter some obstacles while travelling across Europe. These may involve train delays, cancellations or accommodation mix-ups. It's essential to remember that this is all part of the travel experience, and you'll learn a lot from these moments, too! Just remain calm and always allocate more time than you think you'll need. For example, when you are travelling to and from the station or trying to catch a connecting train.
Tip: worried about what to do when a train is delayed? Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
4. Plan before you pack!
It's always difficult to pack for a holiday, right? And when your luggage is coming with you across Europe, it's important to consider your packing options carefully. You'll be carrying your bags on and off trains, so think about the best kind of luggage to suit your need. And no, this doesn't need to be a backpack! Although backpacks are undeniably useful, many Interrailers travel with suitcases and carry-ons. Try to pack as lightly as possible to ease your load, but don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it!
Tip: if you want to store your luggage while exploring a destination, check out our offer with Stasher, a luggage storage service available across Europe.
5. Always pack the essentials
Try to travel as light as possible while travelling (you'll thank us for it!), but don't forget the essentials. These include your passport, phone, portable charger, travel adapters, face masks and hand gel. We'd also recommend that you pack your own cutlery and food storage boxes (e.g. Tupperware) so you can pack up leftovers to eat on the go.
Tip: read our Packing Checklist to kickstart your Interrail travels!
6. Take enough for the train
If you're the kind of person, who can look out the window for a whole journey, think again. Chances are you'll be spending a lot more time on trains than you normally would, and although the views will be absolutely stunning, it's important to find other ways to occupy yourself, too. Whether this is reading a book, downloading some podcasts or taking a card game to share with fellow travellers, make sure to plan in advance for those longer journeys. And if you're planning to listen to music, please bring some headphones. You don't want to annoy the other passengers!
Tip: not sure what to listen to? Check out our Interrail Spotify playlist, recommended by travellers for travellers.
7. Consider taking night trains
If you're short on travel days or can't face another 8-hour journey, why don't you try booking a night train? With comfortable sleeping options at affordable prices, night trains are a great way to hop across countries. Plus, you can save on accommodation, too!
Tip: if you take a night train, you only have to use one travel day (the day of departure, but conditions apply). Learn more about the night trains and how to save travel days here.
8. Be open to adventure
As well as exploring different places across Europe, your Interrail trip is the perfect time to find out a little more about yourself, too! Really embrace the travel spirit on your adventures and be open to the opportunities in front of you. If a local invites you for dinner - go! If you want to visit a different destination - do it! With the flexibility of your mobile Pass, you can adjust and amend your train journeys to suit your needs.
Tip: remember to stay safe on your travels, and always ensure that at least one person knows your current location.
9. Connect with other travellers
Whether you're travelling solo or with friends from home, some of your very best adventures will occur when you connect with other travellers. Make friends for life in train carriages or while exploring the key sights of a city. It's a fantastic way to learn more about different cultures and to share your love of travel with those around you!
Tip: find it hard to make friends while travelling? Read our top tips here.
10. Have the time of your life!
We hope that your first Interrail trip will be the first of many, but we know that it will be an extraordinary experience. Take the time to appreciate every moment, embracing the freedom, adventure and different cultural experiences available to you in each destination. We wish you luck on your travels, and can't wait to hear how they went!
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How to plan your Interrail itinerary Whether you like to plan out every moment of your trip, or take things as they come, an Interrail Pass is for all. Find out how to put together the perfect itinerary for you in our step-by-step trip planning guide.
Travel by night "It is not about the destination, it's the journey" - Ralph Waldo Emerson