Words: Adam Mulcahy
We’re now over half way through semester one and I am definitely not the only one thinking about summer. Maybe you have looked into J1s but had no luck in getting a job? Not up for getting legless every night somewhere in Greece? Short on cash so you can’t afford to go away for the full summer because you have to work? Then interrailing is the perfect option!
Last summer, I did an interrail and it was probably one of the best things I have done or ever will do. It is completely unique experience in that you can tailor it to be as exciting or as relaxing as you wish. Personally, I would change very few things about my interrail. I really feel that my friend Andrew and I made the most of our couple of weeks in Europe, so here is my top ten interrailing tips:
- Don’t over plan.
Book your departure flight and your flight home. Have a rough route you plan to follow but don’t set everything in stone! There’s nothing more exciting than deciding that you will take a detour to Bratislava or go and have a mad night out in Zagreb, spur of the moment. If there is a specific thing you really want to do then set some deadlines or book a hostel in a place you plan to be on a specific day. Obviously, don’t under plan so much that you have no idea what you’re doing. Just try to find the balance.
2. Diversity is key.
Amsterdam – Berlin – Prague – Vienna – Budapest – Warsaw = boring! Hitting city after city in my opinion is not a good shout. After 3 or 4, the next one is just another city and you won’t be able to differentiate what monument was
in which city and all that craic. Break up the cities with something different; Lake Bled for its scenery, Pula for some cliff jumping, Innsbruck for some hillwalking. It’s not all about getting to the capital cities!
3. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
In my opinion, between 2 and 4 people is the perfect number as you don’t want too many conflicts of opinion when decision making. In addition, I would choose to travel with people who you know well enough to know when they need some space and know when to give you your space. The peace needs to be kept to ensure everyone enjoys themselves.
4. Watch your belongings
Say you’re 10 days into your trip and you’re pure chill and you think you know the sceal. Then bam, someone dips into your pocket and takes your phone when you’re sleeping on a 13 hour train to Belgrade. Then you have your mam shouting down your friend’s phone because you won’t be able to text her 24/7. Seriously, put your stuff down your pants or sellotape stuff to your legs, or something similar. You can never be too safe! Especially when you are sleeping in public places.
5. Free walking tours are class.
I don’t know why more people don’t do free walking tours! Walking tours are a great way to see a lot of the city in a small amount of time. There are loads of companies who do them such as Sandemanns and Pancho Tours. Be sure to take advantage of them!
6. Put yourself out of your comfort zone
7. Hit a festival!
This is the one I really recommend! Festivals on the continent are absolutely unbelievable and there much cheaper than the likes of EP or Indie. We went to Sziget in Budapest. It was absolutely unbelievable. Our day ticket only set us back €54. It’s around €250 for your 7 day ticket with camping! You would pay that for a weekend ticket to EP.
8. Try loads of different foods!
We made an effort to try traditional foods and drinks in each country we visited. I just thought it was cool to be able to say that I once ate bull tail when I was in Spain. This one is probably not for everyone though!
9. Look after yourself.
10. Just enjoy it!
Take photos and videos. Make new friends. Make the most of the couple of weeks you are away. Leave your Facebook at home. There is plenty of time for that when y
ou get back to college. This is a completely unique experience so enjoy every second of it.
If you want to read more like the above check out Adam’s blog over at https://bigtripsforsmallpockets.wordpress.com/