Finished with Uni and ready to explore?
So you’ve kicked your own arse for who knows how long, you’ve finally graduated (albeit a knock off virtual, Zoom graduation but WHO CARES) you’re ready to take some well deserved time off and explore. So where do you go? It seems to be almost impossible to do… well anything whilst Covid continues to echo around the world. Instead of allowing yourself to be sucked into the doom and gloom old Rona seems to encourage, instead use your spare time to plan.
More often than not, students leave University and rapidly transition into travelling; allowing themselves virtually no time to plan their trip. Granted, this take it as it comes method usually works quite well, but there is also no harm in planning ahead. After all, there isn’t much else to do right now, other than watch your plants grow and question just how much you can bend Boris’ rules to better suit your weekend plans. You can forecast risks and issues that you otherwise may have overlooked and you can get excited for the near future. In my books, it’s always a lot more exciting (and rewarding) if you have to build up and wait for it. Interrailing can often be overlooked now that travelling to Asia and Australia are all the rage. However it could be the option for many whilst the world begins to slowly recover. So why not get planning.
Budgeting for the trip
In comparison to a trip to Aus, interrailing around Europe can be so much more affordable, more accessible, and just plain easier. Not to mention, you can visit a variety of different countries for the price it takes to visit just one. You may listen to your mum going on about how great interrailing was back in her day..well unfortunately it isn’t quite as cheap as it was back then. So let’s take a little look at how to correctly budget for your trip.
Now there are some clear, simple solutions which you can put in place which will help to protect your budget a little. Opting for home cooked meals, choosing cheap accommodation options, specific travel patterns, timing and many more aspects can all factor into this. So let’s consider timing. Hands down, avoid peak months. AVOID. You will most certainly not enjoy your time in those beautiful countries if you’re meandering around tourists, tripping over children and arriving at a hostel to find that every room is taken. Not to mention, everything will be pricier.
Timing is Everything
It may not seem attractive but timing your trip with months that are less “desirable” such as Spring into Summer can make a significant difference to the prices you pay. Depending on the country you opt for, you can hop about until you find the climate you’re after as Europe can be extremely varied. I’d recommend considering a March departure or even April when kids are still in school.
Now let’s be real, if you want your budget to disappear before your very eyes then by all means head to Paris. However if you really do want to travel far, then choosing locations that are less known about will provide you with two huge advantages: Advantage 1: Cheaper and less busy. And Advantage 2: More chance of seeing their untouched culture. Because let’s be honest mass tourism can really kill the mood of some of the most beautiful places. Have a little look into less touristy areas on the map; Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina will all allow your budget to stretch whilst your eyes feast on some of the most beautiful landscapes Europe has to offer. Bear in mind that eastern Europe is usually far cheaper than northern Europe.
Booking your pass in advance will save you serious pennies. If you’re under the age of 30, you can grab some tasty discounts too, so have a shop around and get it sorted as soon as you can.
It’s always a good idea to check if buying an interrail pass will actually save you money. This will depend on how long you’re travelling for and where you plan on visiting. If you plan on doing a lot of travelling, especially long-distance, a pass will save you money and a lot of hassle along the way. However, if you don’t plan on travelling across many countries, a pass may actually work out to be more expensive. Keep it in mind.
Type of Travel
Domestic trains will always be cheaper than the likes of bullet trains and faster options. They may take longer, but they will save you money and if you book an overnight train, then you can sleep during the travel; saving on accommodation prices whilst you get the miles in. Easy peasy.
Don’t forget that many European countries offer bike hire schemes in their cities which can be a really nice way to get around and explore.
Where you can we would recommend camping, hostels, dorms, or even couch surfing. These will always be your cheapest options and can be one of the nicest and easiest ways to meet like-minded travellers. I mean really, imagine camping under the stars in the wild mountains of Bavaria. Yummy. But if camping isn’t your thing, hostels can be great and if hostels aren’t your thing, then there is always private room renting or Airbnb. You might see your budget disappear a little quicker but that’s up to your personal preference.
Stock up on the freebies
Public toilets, free WIFI, don’t forget that virtually every 10 steps you take in a city, you’ll be passing an abundance of free stuff. Take advantage of it and have no shame. Nobody will judge you for having a quick loo break in a spanish Mcdonalds, if you gotta go, you gotta go.
It’s probably already been considered, but make sure that you properly do your research on where you’ll be visiting. Some areas of Europe can be extremely dangerous, especially for young women travelling alone or in small groups. So make sure to do the necessary research, for some things it isn’t worth winging it.
So there you go, get planning. It’s time to get excited about things again.