From discovering hidden gems in some of Europe’s coolest cities to eating new foods you didn’t even know existed to meeting fellow travellers and making friends for life – if you’re going inter-railing this summer then you’re in for a trip to remember.
But if this is your first time backpacking it’s easy to get sucked into tourist traps or not know where to start looking for a decent hostel. We’ve got some tips to help you in preparation for the trip of a lifetime.
Stay in hostels, they are the best place to meet like-minded people and hear about lots of cool places off the beaten track. Plus, they are a lot cheaper than hotels leaving you more money to spend on whatever your heart desires whether that be a nice meal out or a few more pints at the pub…
If you’re not sure where to stay have a look at websites like hostelworld.com and booking.com. They usually have lots of reviews from other travellers. If you’re going away with your pals and you’re going for a long time it might be best to book beds in a private dorm in the middle/towards the end of your trip.
Although hostels are lots of fun and the best place to meet new people, sometimes it’s nice to get away from strangers and recharge for a night or two.
Don’t over pack – most hostels have washing machines that you can use for a couple of euro. It’s very easy to wash your clothes as you go along so really there’s no need to pack 50 pairs of socks for a three week trip…
Comfy shoes are a must. While your new sandals might look good in all your snaps you’ll regret your choice of footwear when you’re lugging that big backpack on and off trains and spending hours traipsing around Europe’s stunning cities.
Some trains cost extra and aren’t actually included in your interrail pass (especially trains to/from/around Italy). So make sure you check on the interrail website beforehand whether you need to book a train, pay a reservation fee or print out a ticket.
You’ll find that the best things about a city are usually free and completely off the tourist track. Talk to locals, to other travellers and to the staff at the hostel that you’re staying at and find out what’s really worth checking out in that town/city.
You’ll find that the main tourist attractions cost a fortune and aren’t as impressive as a place recommended to you by a local. If you’re on a budget head to a supermarket when you arrive and stock up on snacks for during the day when you’re out and about. If you eat out every day whilst exploring then you’ll find that you end up forking out a lot of money for the simplest of meals. Most hostels also have kitchens so don’t feel like you have to eat out every night.
Grab a few of your dorm pals, head to the supermarket and have a big group dinner. Not only will it save you money but will help you get to know the people you’re sharing a room with and make friends for life.