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One of the reasons why interrailing around Europe is so great is because the continent is densely packed with a range of diverse cultures and landscapes, but it also means you can avoid costly air travel. While the idea of backpacking across the continent may be most appealing to a younger audience, Culture Trip expert Cassam Looch explained that it’s not to be overlooked by more mature travellers. He explained that the “back in vogue mode of travel is ideal” if you’re looking for a “unique” adventure this summer.
Cruises are a great way to visit multiple destinations in one trip, but if you’re looking to experience something a little different, interrailing is one to consider – no matter what your age.
While it has somewhat of a reputation for being popular with younger generations, Cassam Looche, eager traveller and content manager at Culture Trip explained that it’s an opportunity anyone can take.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Cassam Looche, content manager at Culture Trip said: “Rail travel is most certainly back in vogue and for very good reason.
“Not only is it the most planet-friendly method of transport – something that is becoming increasingly important to far-thinking Millennials – it’s also a totally different way of experiencing a destination – the carvings of its landscape, the quirks of its culture, the lives of its people and all the spaces in between.
“Interrailing is a great choice for a summer holiday to remember. It allows for flexible travel so that you can stay longer in the places you fall in love with and skip through any that you don’t. It can also be a cost-effective way to visit multiple destinations in one trip, without leaving heavy carbon footprints in your wake. If you’re looking for a unique adventure, travelling by train is the way to go.”
Of course, unlike cruises or all-inclusive package holidays, interrailing requires a little more planning to establish the route between your destinations.
Finding the best rail pass, accommodation rates, and most importantly, locations along the way can all be daunting, though Cassam noted that there are ways to make what seems like a mammoth task, a little easier.
He said: “The cost of your rail pass for a European interrailing holiday will depend on the duration of your trip, the countries you want to visit, and the type of pass you choose (e.g. one-country pass, multiple-country pass). It’s worth doing your research beforehand and planning your perfect itinerary so you don’t waste money on a pass that you don’t need.”
In most cases, tickets will be separated into youth, adult and senior categories, so you may be able to make use of some age-related deals while exploring your options.
While passes will cover most trains, ferries and participating public transport routes, certain modes of transport can be harder to simply hop on.
Cassam explained: “Some high-speed trains and overnight trains may require a reservation, which can cost extra, but booking these in advance will get you the best price.
“Also, overnight trains are a bit of a 2-4-1 as you are saving on a night’s accommodation, so planning these into your itinerary can introduce some savings.”
Accommodation costs will also vary depending on your destination and the type of accommodation you choose. The Culture Trip expert noted that “a great advantage” of booking self-catering stays is that you can save money on food by dining in and by preparing travel-friendly lunches to take with you – avoiding those expensive restaurant cars.
He said: “The overall cost of an interrailing trip can vary greatly depending on your travel style and preferences. My advice is to focus on your non-negotiables and then prepare to make some compromises if you want to keep costs down.
“If sampling great local food is a non-negotiable for you, then plan an itinerary that takes you to destinations where dining out is cheaper, like Krakow, Budapest and Prague.
“However, if you’d prefer to take all the hassle out of it and put your holiday in the hands of the experts, there are plenty of rail and interrailing packages out there. This way, you get all the benefits of a railway adventure but without the stress of figuring out complicated timetables!”
While “a bit of spontaneity” is up there with one of the most important elements for a successful interrailing trip, being prepared is also a must to make the most of the experience.
Cassam told Express.co.uk that thorough planning will help “minimise stress” and ensure a “comfortable trip”, but you should also consider a few other factors. He suggested travelling off-peak to “avoid crowded trains and tourist hotspots”, adding that this can often save you money which can be used for first-class train upgrades on long train rides.
The travel expert said: “Pack light and bring comfortable walking shoes – although you may not be backpacking as such, you will be moving your luggage around from A to B and lifting it into storage racks so making sure you can lift your bag with relative ease is essential.
“You are highly likely to clock up some serious steps on a trip like this and your feet won’t thank you if you opt for style over substance.”
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