Being a first time interrailer as of June 2016, I faced my fair share of hiccups along the way. From not bothering to fold my clothes properly in my backpack, to accepting my imminent death when lost in a forest that showed no signs of civilisation… There are so many mistakes while Interrailing that you are almost guaranteed to make: you will never take enough photos, you will lose some money and you will have to sprint your heart out for at least one train…
That said, I hope the following advice can help you out with avoiding some of the same rookie mistakes that I made. There are just a few things I certainly don’t want to experience again – so let’s get started!
This mistake caused such a hassle when I was travelling. For all other hostels, it was stated within the terms whether we could pay by card. However, where we were staying in Prague, it wasn’t. We didn’t give it a second thought and assumed cards would be accepted… Because of this, we were sent away from our hostel until we could come back with the right amount in cash; Which completely screwed us over with the exchange rate being so poor in the centre of the city. We ended up paying an extra £60 that we didn’t really have because of this, so please check if you are on a tight budget. On the plus side, if you’re travelling with Euroventure you obviously don’t have to worry about any of this since all your hostels are paid for in advance!
BREAKFAST IS SO IMPORTANT. I can’t emphasise this enough… How can you expect to fully enjoy and even have the ability to explore a city, if you have nothing to fuel you inside!? You are going to be a walking A LOT and there is nothing worse than feeling faint on a walking tour. You’re already going to be handling hot weather (in summer) and the distance of the walk, so you’re just making it harder if you don’t look after yourself. Make sure you have a good-sized breakfast to keep you going – snacking also adds up money super quickly, so you may as well fill yourself up until your next meal!
You ARE a tourist! Being a redhead and as pale skinned as me, I just cannot escape the stereotypical tourist look… But I firmly believe there’s no shame in that. Do whatever you fancy (within reason… obviously), most locals are pretty friendly and really do their best to help you out. I managed to score so many free things from looking at cafes/shops/attractions (As well as being super polite and friendly) – locals just knew I was a tourist! Plus, it’s your adventure: don’t miss out on things because you’re worried people (who you will never see again) will judge you. They’re used to it, trust me.
HUGE MISTAKE. These can rescue you from the most awkward of situations. A quick save from food splashes on your only nice smelling t-shirt, sticky and sandy hands on the beach and good for a general cooling system on those boiling summer days…
We had a really diverse experience with roommates – in some places everyone will mingle whereas in others people will keep to themselves. Doing as much as you can to befriend your roommates gives you such an advantage, as you may find that they have (potentially better) plans that you’d never even have thought or heard of! It also makes the sharing situation so much easier and more pleasant since you won’t be feeling awkward, or be lying awake at night scared that everyone’s a criminal (they’re not).
I’m sure I haven’t covered everything here, but like anything in life, travelling is a learning experience… As long as you don’t make any totally disastrous mistakes while interrailing (like losing your passport – definitely don’t do that), you’ll be fine! Here are some last parting tips from me to you: