You’ve heard of Interrailing right? That thing that students do when they leave school, during a gap year or in those long uni summer holidays?
Interrailing might be most commonly associated with students and the 18-30 crowd; hanging out in hostels and slumming it with a backpack and a bunch of mates. But the face of backpacking is becoming more and more varied, and interrail for older travellers is a growing trend. Mature holiday-makers generally have more time and financial freedom than most people in their 20s and 30s, so what better time to embrace the joy of travel!
If donning a backpack and heading out into Europe on a shoestring doesn’t sound like your thing, we’ve got 5 reasons to convince you that inter-railing should be on your travel radar, whatever your age.
While you might expect to come across young backpackers on your journey, experience shows us that interrailing will bring you into contact with travellers of all ages. Even staying in hostels – traditionally a bastion of budget backpackers – you’ll now run into a whole range of guests. With boutique designs, friendly staff and plenty of comfy private rooms on offer, hostels now provide a viable option for even the most particular travellers. At Euroventure we’ve had customers from 18-80 enjoy the social atmosphere of our boutique hostels.
If the idea of boutique hostels doesn’t win you over, why not upgrade yourself to something a little more luxurious? There’s nothing to say you can’t make interrailing a high end experience, staying in some of Europe’s most celebrated hotels if you so choose.There are loads of different accommodation options these days, so you can choose the type of stay that best suits you.
Add to that the luxury of avoiding crampt and stressful air-travel – getting around Europe by rail is super easy! With no airport security checks or restrictive baggage limits, train travel is one of the most comfortable ways to get from place to place – and of course there’s always the option of treating yourself to 1st class if you fancy a glamorous upgrade. High-speed trains Europe are fantastically spacious and eco-friendly – not to mention speedy, with many travelling upwards of 300km/hour. On night trains you can even bag yourself an en-suite private cabin for an additional supplement – expect plush surroundings with refreshments served to you in your very own room.
While some spring chickens might aim to cover as much ground as possible in the least amount of time, taking advantage of night trains and long journeys, there’s no reason for every interrail trip to take place at break-neck speed. The great freedom of a rail holiday is that you can pick the pace that suits you, with most rail providers offering regular daily services. If you prefer to avoid longer journeys, why not pick your destinations accordingly to make sure that your journeys are manageable. This will allow you to arrive refreshed and ready to take in the next city. If you’ve got the time to spare, spend longer in each destination and give yourself time to soak up the culture, food and atmosphere that each city affords you. You can read more about how to match your itinerary to your travel style in our destination guide.
If you missed out on the backpacking experience the first time around, it’s never too late. Europe is more accessible than ever before; fascinating regions like Eastern Europe and the Balkans are welcoming huge numbers of tourists where once few were able to venture. With the advent of the internet travel information is far more readily available than in the past – within the blink of an eye you can find timetables and book trains across Europe. If these things were an obstacle in the past, they certainly needn’t be now! If you’ve got the time to spend, now is the perfect time to see all those places you always dreamed of.
Whilst there are plenty of reasons people love taking guided group tours (we offer some of our own!), there’s something special about the freedom of travelling independently. Interrail provides a straightforward and stress-free way to do it – you can give your trip a little security by booking accommodation in advance, but retain some flexibility in the open nature of your rail pass. While you’ll sometimes need to make seat reservations for certain services, mostly you’ll be free to pick which train you fancy getting during the day. Which means if that museum you’ve been dying to see doesn’t open till 10, you can probably push back your travel to fit it in… Add to this the abundance of information available online and in cities and you can see why Europe is one of the easiest regions in which to travel independently.
If you love the idea of inter-railing but the thought of organising it yourself fills you with trepidation, why not take a look at some of our ready made packages. We’ll sort all your accommodation, trains times and tickets and then send you a complete personalised itinerary and trip guide telling you everything you need to know about travelling Europe by rail. If that hasn’t swayed you, then why not head to our reviews page to check out what other customers have said about their Euroventure trips!