Welcome back to my Interrail Blog Series and more importantly, to Part 2! If you’ve not visited this series before, feel free to take a look at my introduction to have an overview of the series and the topics that I’ll be covering across it.
This part will cover the different types of passes available from Interrail and what they include, what ‘travel days’ are and how they work (it sounds simple but some people get confused, don’t ask) and what you will receive in your Interrail pack.
Once you’ve decided on the countries that you’ll visit, your trip length and when you are going, it’s time to look into the different passes available and which one suits your trip best. Interrail currently offer 10 different global tickets suitable for this kind of travel so although you may think it sounds easy to just simply buy a train ticket, I’m sorry to piss on your bonfire, but it’s not that straight forward. The reason that it’s best to choose your pass after your destinations/trip length/departure date is that you can then find one that suits these choices well, rather than buying a pass and having to make your trip fit to the constraints of a certain pass type.
You can either buy a pass with ‘travel days’ (the first 5 on the photo above) or a continuous ticket (the remaining 5 on the photo). For example, the ticket type we have purchased is the 10 days within 2 months ticket, meaning we can travel on any 10 days within a 2 month period from the starting date we indicate on the pass. This works perfectly for our trip as we have 10 locations to visit within a 1 month period, with the 2 months available allowing extra time for flexibility. If you would like even more flexibility and are basically planning your trip as you go along (so you’re just winging it) which sounds like my idea of hell (I need organisation in my life) then a continuous pass may be best for you. This means that if you wanted to, you could travel on every single day within your pass’ time period! This allows for more flexibility as you don’t have to stick to a schedule – if you expected to stay somewhere for 4 days but then decided you only wanted to stay for 2, you could just hop on a train and not have to worry about it affecting the rest of your trip, accommodation, train times etc as you’d have nothing pre-planned in advance (Tip: Interrail often do discounts of 15% on tickets so keep an eye out for that – if you are travelling before 15th May there is currently an offer to upgrade to first class for free!). Just for reference, the prices above are for the second class Youth pass (ages 12-27) so prices will differ for other pass types.
When purchasing your ticket you have the option to add Pass Protection at the price of £13 which I would strongly advise paying (you’ve already spent between £150 and £600 on your ticket itself, now isn’t the time to be tight). You may be thinking that you don’t need this protection, that you won’t lose your ticket and that you’re extra careful – well my friend, think again. To put things into perspective, you’re going to be travelling for several weeks, living out of a rucksack and possibly sharing accommodation with other people. For the sake of £13, you can give yourself peace of mind that if you lost the ticket or if it was stolen (pickpockets in Europe are drawn to tourists like flies around sh*t) that you can get a replacement, instead of losing out on several hundred pounds and having to fork out the money to pay for extra travel/an extra ticket. This is just my advice but if you don’t pay for the pass protection and your pass gets stolen, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Once you have ordered your pass, you’ll receive your Interrail pack in the post! In this pack you receive your pass (ticket and travel diary), an Interrail pass guide, a map and a wristband. The ticket itself has your name, passport number and pass start/end date on with a fold out form. This form is your travel diary and you must fill it out before boarding each train for your pass to be valid, showing the departure date/time/location and the arrival location also. I’d definitely advise to fill this out before boarding the train because from what I’ve heard, train conductors get pretty stroppy if they have to wait for you to complete the form and with potential language barriers in various countries, you’d probably rather avoid confrontation with an angry Slovakian train conductor (Tip: If you send back your completed pass once you are back from your trip, Interrail will send you a thank you gift!)
The Interrail pass guide basically just explains how to use your pass/how it works, the pass benefits and the conditions of use. It covers things such as types of transport that the pass is valid on, the countries it is valid in, night trains/reservations (which I’ll be doing a separate post about) and various other bits of useful information. It’s pretty straight forward but does explain it all very simply so is a nice little leaflet to have.
As I say, you also get a map and wristband in the pack but I don’t think either of these need much explanation – if you’re going travelling I would hope that you already know what a map is! The map is actually quite useful as you can plot your locations onto it and take it with you, so that you’ve always got a physical copy of your route. The wristband that you receive is just a bonus, it’s noth something you have to wear when travelling in order to use your pass, it’s essentially just a freebie.
Okay, that’s the end of Part 2! If you’ve read this far then thank you – it has been a longer than usual post but I wanted to make sure I covered everything in detail so that this could be as helpful as possible. If you have any more queries about passes or you’re still struggling to choose one, feel free to contact me and I’ll help as best as I can. Keep an eye out for Part 3, coming soon!
See you on the flip side,
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