Are you planning an Interrail or an Interbus in Europe or a train or bustour somewhere else? A good plan usually means a great trip, and with tours and road trips this is especially true. We gathered some tips and tricks below to help you plan and execute your rail or bus tour; check them out and start planning!
Traditionally, an Interrail has been about travelling around Europe on train with the Interrail pass, but there are many different types of Interrail passes nowadays, and it's crucial that you pick the pass that suits your travel plans the best. There are 3 different types of Interrail passes: The Global Pass for travelling in multiple countries, the One Country Pass, with which you travel in one country of your choice and the Premium Pass for travelling Italy or Spain with more flexible terms and conditions and free reservation services for seats. The most popular one of the three is the Globa Pass, and there are multiple options for the length of your travels and the validity of the pass. Find the most suitable Global Pass for you here. The Interrail Pass also cover some ferry trips in some countries, like Greece or Italy: a nice bonus to your train travels!
Even though the rail network in Europe is mostly excellent and there are always trains running to take you where you want to go, it's worth planning your route with care and to make sure that your transfers are realistic and you can afford to be on the road for the time you've planned. A night train is a fantastic way to save a penny, but remember to book a bunk bed or a seat on the train beforehand. There's also been a significant decrease in the number of night lines during the last few years, so make sure that if you want to catch a night train from one city to another that the timetables of that line match your travel plans.
There are also some great apps and websites to help you plan your Interrail. Use Interrailplanner to draft your routemap, find accommodation on the road and share your plan with your friends. Rail CC will help you with making reservations and finding out about timetables.
NOTE! Unfortunately there isn't a student discount on the Interrail ticket, but there is a youth Interrail ticket for 12 to 27-year-old travellers. Also, if you book your Interrail ticket at KILROY, you'll receive a free ISIC card! Read more about buying the Interrail ticket from KILROY here.
Oneway bus tickets can be ridiculously cheap in Europe, at best 5 EUR/piece. As a student, you'll oftentimes enjoy student discounts on your bus tickets, and as an ISIC cardholder, you get a 10 % student discount on all bookings on FlixBus. Use Busradar to check the prices for all trips and destinations. If you want to do an Interrail by bus, an Interbus, a buspass is a great option for an Interrail ticket. You can buy Intra-Europe buspasses from FlixBus (NOTE! No student discount on FlixBus's buspass!) and Busabout. Busabout tickets can be bought from KILROY.
Travel Europe efficiently on board a bus!
Distances in Europe are so short that it's often more efficient and a lot cheaper to cover them on land than by flying. However, flying in to Europe is a necessity when travelling from Iceland. As an ISIC cardholder, you are eligible for student flight tickets, and central European cities can be reached with a student ticket often rather affordably, especially if you book a oneway ticket in and also out. The biggest perk of the student ticket is that your luggage is often included in the ticket, so even if you plan on spending a month or two on the road, you'll be able to pack and bring with you everything you need! There are also many great apps to help you book, plan and execute your travels, and we've collect the best for students here; check them out!
The Golden Rules of an Interrail or Interbus
1. Plan well ahead!
It's not possible to start planning a trip too early. During your Interrail or Interbus you're likely visit many different destinations, so planning your transfers, accommodation and schedules is vital, if you're aiming for a smooth, great trip. It will be more than a nuisance to try and manage these things while you're already on the road! That said, not even the best plans are foolproof, and too much planning can result in unnecessary stress and sour moods, so leave room for spontaneity and also errors. If you want to travel freely, and not book your accommodation ready for each destination (or plan each destination beforehand), it's worthwhile to check a few possible nice places to stay at in every city you are planning to visit, so that you'll have some place to start with when you need a roof over your head for the night.
2. Make reservations
Even though the Interrail ticket gets you on board almost every train in Europe, most railway companies require you to book a seat before you board the train. Seats in sleeping cars need to always be booked ahead. Usually it's enough if you book your seat on the train on the day you travel or the day before, but if you already know your travel dates and departure times, why not book the seat right away. Also, if you are travelling with a friend or two, by making reservations you'll make sure that you'll be seated close to one another. Without a reservation you may end up spending the trip separately or standing in the corridor.
3. Draft a realistic budget - what do you want to do on your Interrail?
In Europe, a limited budget does not mean limited experiences! A student budget can get you a long way, and don't forget that there are thousands of great student discounts in Europe. A night at a hostel dorm will cost you around 15 EUR at best and by cooking your own food at the hostel's common kitchen you'll save a lot of money. Sharing an airbnb with your friends is also a good option to split the costs, and you'll get a bit more privacy. If you want a private room or are looking for high standard accommodation, prepare to raise your daily budget. Experiencing the local cuisine is a big part (and arguably the best) of travelling, but eating out will also eat your budget. If you're not cooking for yourself at the hostel, make sure you'll not fall victim to tourist prices while eating out. Ask for recommendations and attractions from locals or other travellers from your hostel. Remember that there may be surprising extra costs while travelling; make sure you've got a buffer on your budget to cover ex tempore visits to festivals, adventure parks or having to cover less pleasent costs like surprise extra booking fees.
Unforgettable experiences on Interrail - a summer festival along the way!
4. Arrange something special
Every trip is a memorable experience, but there are some moments on the road that become unforgettable. Especially during summer, there are many legendary and top notch festivals in Europe, so why not get yourself a ticket to one of these? Maybe a visit to an adventure park or Disneyland could add that special something to your trip, not to mention the stunning natural parks that Europe has got to offer. Find what tickles your fancy, and you are guaranteed to spend a few of the best days on your trip doing something you specially planned for you!
5. Pack light
The back you travel with will make or break an Interrail. Each to their own, but a good backpack is an investment you should consider making before embarking on your travels. A backpack is handy, as it allows you to cover distances by foot more efficiently and is much easier to manage in the crowds of a big city than a roller. Don't take your old schoolbag on your Interrail, however. A proper backpack will be your loyal companion on many trips to come, and will save both your back and your nerves while on the road. A good backpack will fit everything you need, but think twice before stuffing your most important travel companion: a light backpack is easier and much more pleasant to manage, and it isn't worth the while to carry around your entire wardrobe. Also, the lighter your backpack is when you leave home, the more room there is for awesome souvenirs when it's time to return home!
Invest in a good backpack and pack only the essentials!
Interrail: Plan your Interrail trip
Neverending voyage: How to Plan a Stress-Free Interrail or Eurail Train Trip Around Europe