How not to: an Interrailing guide

Paulina Matacinskaite

The Don’ts to make your interrailing trip a success

Interrailing, while it may not seem like it, is actually a pretty significant commitment, and seeing as how I am now an interrailing expert (I’ve done it once),

I feel like I can guide you on how to go about it in the best way possible. So, without further ado, here is your four-step guide on how not to go about your interrailing trip.

Vienna, Austria

Tip 1: Don’t start your trip off with a dud

For this, if your schedule allows, I highly recommend sitting in Dublin airport, or an airport cafeteria of your choice, with some of your best friends and probably some of the coolest people you know, drinking iced lattes, or if you prefer-pints.

This is the time to really prepare yourself for the next few weeks- in my case it was three- and get yourself ready for all of the beautiful and exciting places you will visit, the many hours you will spend on trains chatting and anticipating your next stop, and not to be forgotten, the various unique sleeping spots you will encounter-parks, train floors, beaches etc.

Because trust me, you will encounter them.

Tip 2: Do not expect everything to go your way

Venice, Italy

Something that we as a group learned early on in the trip- is that there will be many things that go wrong- however, this is all part of the fun and excitement of interrailing, it keeps you on your toes and it certainly makes for some really great stories to tell later. We hit our first bump in the road on our way to our second stop- Berlin, Germany.

To put a long story short, we just about made it to the train heading to Duisburg and when we did, it turned out that said train was no longer going to stop in Duisburg due to weather problems, but rather pass it altogether. At this point we didn’t know if we should be laughing or crying, but after an early morning train from Cologne, 04:26 to be exact, we made it to Germany’s capital.

From then on we were definitely more prepared.

Tip 3: Don’t skip out on the quieter spots

The major cities; Paris, Amsterdam and Prague are probably just a few of the most well-known interrailing spots, however, it is definitely worthwhile visiting places that are not as popular on the interrailing route. Lake Bled in Slovenia for example, was probably my favourite spot on the trip and perfect for the adventurers who feel like jumping out of a plane (we did) or simply for those who want to relax by the dazzling blue lake.

Bled, Slovenia

Another unexpected highlight of the trip was in Nice, France. Of course, Monaco is a must visit, although be wary that a slushie could set you back seven euro, and undoubtedly, it’s a cool spot for lovers of cars and high fashion. Cap-d’Ail was my personal favourite, however, only a 20-minute train ride from Nice-Ville, which you can take using your Interrail Pass.

Nice, France

Here you will find one of the most gorgeous beaches I have ever laid my eyes on, clear blue water and an eerie cave that took around 15 minutes to swim out, which was exactly what we needed considering the 37-degree weather.

Tip 4: Don’t forget to stay vigilant

Split, Croatia

This might seem obvious, however, it’s easier said than done. Especially, after you’ve just travelled for hours to get from Venice to Milan, where you find that the train station closes at around one in the morning and now you have to find somewhere to stay for the next three hours.

Not ideal, and especially not ideal when you get to the train station and fall asleep while waiting for your train, only to wake up to your phone having been stolen. Additionally-in a city you don’t know, where they speak a language that you don’t.

AND, when all the things that you need in order to get home; train pass, boarding tickets etc., are on your phone. This is what happened to my friend, and unless you want to experience such an unfortunate event, I highly recommend using all your personal belongings and bags as a makeshift mattress so you’re less likely to get robbed.

There are obviously a few basics you need to remember: A good backpack is essential, an idea of what you want to do in each place is something I’d strongly advise.

I went in July and still surprisingly needed a raincoat (thanks mom for making me take one) and believe me when I say you will want snacks on every train- the doughnuts from Goluzarije in Split were my personal favourite.

But, in the end, it’s your trip, so make the most of it!