Posted 10 years ago

Hi all,

Firstly, what a great site! Really glad to have found this wonderful resource - learned loads already and I only found it last night!

Anyway, here is my situation. My daughter and her boyfriend have bought 30 day youth tickets which they are using in June this year. They have done quite a bit of looking at places to go but have not yet finalised a route, other than that they start by taking Eurostar to Brussels and and by taking Euostar fom Paris. They have ideas to go as far as Istanbul, want to visit Croatia, spend a week in Amsterdam etc, which I am trying to help them plan into something more realistic! But I don't want to take over or dampen their enthusiasm - they have saved hard for this and I want it to be their trip.

So my reason for posting. They are both 19, and although quite savvy, I would be grateful for places to avoid. What should I advise them on pre-planning - should it be military in its preparation or should they just go with the flow? How safe is travelling on the night train, and does it save time/money over booking hotels or hostels? Money is going to be limited, so £60 pn hotels are clearly not an option! And how do I start with ensuring they see lots but without just spending a whole month in a railway carriage? :)

Any help would be so gratefully received. Thanks

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replied 10 years ago

Go with the flow is the best way to travel. :)
Have some fix places they want to see - and in between be flexible and free. A military preparation will work for the first days of travel, but then, people get more and more relaxed and feel the freedom they have with Interrail.
Some trains require a pre-booking in peak travel season as they have limited seats for Interrailes, especially high speed trains in France (TGV). Also night trains ([ux][/u]) are recommended to book some days in advance, which is quiet easy at larger railway stations during the trip. The station can also be in an other country than in the country of departure of the train.
Important is to always have a look on the schedules, to avoid trains with extra fees for Interrailers:

I would not say that Interrail is dangerous. Every city has its dark corners - it doesn't matters if it is London, Paris, Berlin, Bucharest or Istanbul. I'm travelling now since 20 years by train and never had bad experiences. Also heard of it from other travellers got stolen something - but that's live and you learn from it. :)
It's also the main thing I learned from my first trips by Interrail: to become responsible for myself. So Interrail is much better than any of these all inclusive drinking holidays for two weeks at the same place at a beach. :)

For the Eurostar from and to the UK I recommend NOT to buy the Interrail reservation which is about EUR 75 one-way. :(( Buy in advance a special price ticket for Eurostar here from EUR 48: [ux][/ux]
And then they can start interrailing from Brussels or end their trip in Paris, stay there for some more days and then go back to the UK by Eurostar train ticket.

If your daughters route is more fixed, post it here and we can have a look on it - to help - to optimize. :)
An interesting trip is definitely from the UK to Amsterdam. Also nice be ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, as the railway stations are directly at the ferry terminals and connected to the schedules of the ferries: [ux][/u]
Then to Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Belgrade.
From there options via Bucharest or Sofia to the Black Sea. Down to Istanbul.
Or to Montenegro. By bus (cheap) to Croatia.
And back via Slovenia, Italy, Southern-France to Paris.

Eastern Europe is definitely inexpensive compared to cities like Paris or Amsterdam.
Hostels are recommended here on railcc: [u][/u]
Booking also possible via [ux][/ux] or [ux][/ux] and can be done during the trip - most hostels offer free Internet access.

I hope this information will help you, and your daughter as well. :)
Maybe they ordered their official Interrail tickets via our partner link [ux][/ux] to support our project!? :)

Pete :)