Travelling has always been a dream of mine, and I got to the point where I knew I needed to do it. I didn’t want to end up being one of those people that never did the thing. No regrets. Once I had finally decided I was going to travel Europe I had to make a big decision: how was I going to travel? There are many different routes and many different ways to travel, and all have their good points and bad. After a lot of thought, research, and hours of trawling the internet, I decided that getting an Interrail pass was the best choice for me. My choice of ticket was 10 days travel within a month, as it was cheaper than the unlimited ticket and it was sufficient for my trip.
I definitely got the most out of my ticket, using up all ten travel days – some of them were full days of travel too! Plus I had a fantastic time, and it was only added to by travelling by train. There are many, many reasons to travel by train, and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of going around Europe. It truly is one of those trips of a lifetime, though I’m not going to lie – I’m considering doing it again one day! There’s so much of Europe to explore, so why not?!
Why Interrailing Europe was incredible
See more places
There’s no way I would have seen 11 cities in three weeks if I’d travelled any other way, plus you get to see the landscape from the train window. I spent hours in towns that I would have never visited otherwise. One of the places I stopped was Vanence which has a fantastic view of the Alps. Another stop was Villach, a little town in Austria which was very quant and pretty. Another place I would have never thought to go. Seeing the countryside and mountains and rivers was also incredible. The land looks amazing from the air, but in my opinion it’s even better to experience it up close. And there is SO MUCH beautiful landscape in Europe.
Good value for money
My Interrail ticket cost me £314, and my flights cost me a total of £93. The flights could have been cheaper but I waited too long to book. Still, just over £400 isn’t bad for travel between 13 cities. You do have to pay a compulsory booking fee in some countries, but this was never very expensive. I think the most I paid was 10€, and most of the time it was free. The further east you go, the cheaper it is to book, and I didn’t have to book at all past Croatia. In total I took 16 trains while I was away, making it about £20 a journey. Most of those journeys were at least a couple of hours long, which would cost an arm and a leg in the UK.
Not so bad for the environment
Train travel is one of the least polluting ways to travel. Flying is the worst without a doubt, especially if I have flown between 11 cities and from London and back. I dread to think what my carbon footprint would have looked like. I try to avoid flying if I can, but it’s a necessary (if not incredible) evil that one must face to see the world. There are ways around it, but they’re rarely within my budget or time constraints. I’d love to get the train across Europe to Russia, then ride the Trans Siberian Railway all the way to Beijing, and maybe one day I will. Right now I haven’t the time or the money. Driving is also a fairly good way to go, but only if the car is full. Considering I was travelling on my own it wouldn’t have been much better than flying everywhere.
Flying is a scary experience. I’ve got over the impending doom feeling that the plane might fall out of the sky, but I am still anxious about the whole process. Checking in, and customs, and then waiting for ages are all very daunting. Especially compared to the relative ease of just stepping on a train. I am okay with train travel, even the thought of doing it in a different country wasn’t that scary to me. Finding the platform in a huge, unfamiliar train station caused a bit of a panic at times, as did finding the ticket office. However, it dominated my thoughts a lot less than flying would have done. I could have driven, but seeing as I don’t even drive in the UK at the moment I didn’t even consider it. Far too scary.
I could decide on the day what time train I was going to get for the most part. It wasn’t the end of the world if I missed a train. I didn’t have to decide months in advance what route I was going to take, and when. This came in very handy seeing as I did change my plans a couple of times. The only money I lost was on airbnb costs, which wasn’t a great deal. If I had chosen to travel by air I couldn’t have left Budapest a day early to escape the rain. I would have got drenched and had a baaaaad time instead of spending a lovely evening in Vienna. You also don’t need to arrive at a train station two hours before you leave, and you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to park. Had I driven around Europe I would have had far less choice of accommodation and it would have almost definitely cost more.
I like trains
I do, I lovc trains. Not even ashamed. Travelling on trains all across Europe was like a dream come true for me. I don’t care if that makes me a mega dweeb. No, I don’t know what types they all are or anything, but I can appreciate the differences between a British train and a Czech one. It was cool getting all the tickets from the different operators too. A nice souvenir for me 🙂
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