Welcome back once again to my Interrail Blog Series, and this is the last part before I actually go on the trip! I will, of course, be doing a blog based on each location we visited once we are back. 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 final part covers the last thing you’ll need to thing about before leaving for your trip… Packing yo’ bags! This is based on my 4 week Interrail trip around Europe, so my advice may not apply if your trip is largely different to this.
You’ll want a durable, good sized bag to take on your trip. For a trip that will be 4 weeks or more, I would recommend a 60L bag but if you’re going for less time, you could get away with something a little smaller. The bag that I have opted for is the Mountain Warehouse Traveller 60L + 20L Rucksack. It comes with a 20L detachable daypack which is perfect as it zips on when travelling between countries, but detaches so that you can leave the main 60L bag in your accommodation when out exploring for the day. If you don’t get a detachable bag, you’ll definitely need a day bag of some kind. You’ll also want a purse/wallet/money belt to keep your passport/ID, bank card, cash and money card in. It’s so spacious, has loads of compartments and ways to attach items and is adjustable for any height/weight/. It’s also front loading (like a suitcase) rather than top loading which means you can open it up and see everything easily (instead of rummaging through the bag, having to take everything out trying to find your socks which are stuck at the bottom!). There is also a cover that zips over the entire back section of the bag so when it’s in the hold of the plane/in storage, none of the straps or supports get damaged.
These are rectangular, fabric pouches that you pack your clothes into. They’re great because they keep things separated (tops, bottoms, underwear, socks), compress your clothes so that they take up less space and work perfectly to keep dirty clothes separated from clean. I’d say to take a set of 4-6 packing cubes, and to make sure they fit in the rucksack you’ve chosen! Another great space saving and packing hack idea is to use Jangers*. These are a lightweight, compact, eco-friendly travel hanger that clip to your clothes before you pack them and when you arrive at your accommodation, you just pull them out and hang them straight up! They’re 60 times smaller than a normal hanger and are 100% recyclable. If you prefer to unpack instead of living out of your rucksack, these are definitely a great option. The lovely people at Jangers kindly sent me some samples to try out and having used them lately on a mini-break, I would recommend them. They kept my clothes crease-free and saved me valuable time whilst on my trip that usually would have been spent hanging up my clothes.
For a 4 week trip I’m taking the following:
- 10 t-shirts (for both day and night)
- 2 pairs of light-weight shorts
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of Adidas joggers and 1x hoodie (for wearing on the train/at night)
- 2 pairs of culottes (for evening)
- 1 lightweight, waterproof jacket
- 2 sets of pyjamas
- 10 underwear, 2 bra’s, 1 bikini
- 10 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of Adidas trainers, 1 pair of Vans, 1 pair of flip flops
It depends on how long you’re going for and how many times you want to wash your clothes. I’d advise planning to do laundry at least once while you’re away, so in this case, you’d take clothes for half of your trip and wash them half way. We’ve made sure that most of our Air Bnb’s have laundry facilities so that we can wash our clothes whenever, but as a minimum, I’d advise making sure your half way accommodation has these facilities in the building or nearby. I also saw a pretty great calculation (ugh maths, I know) on Interrail Planner which helps you work out the perfect amount of clothing to take based on how long you’re going for:
Travel sized products are great for short holidays but when you’re going to be away for 3 weeks or more, you’ll likely need full sized products. If you’re going with a friend/partner, take one set of everything and split them so you each carry half. You’ll need your basic toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, sun cream, face wipes/makeup remover, hair brush and sanitary products but depending on your preferences, you might also want things like dry shampoo, a razor, tweezers, nail clippers, insect repellent etc (we’re taking all of the above!). Remember, you can always pick any of these items up along the way (tip: if you really want to live the backpacker life, you can buy soap/shampoo/fabric wash leaves instead of taking the actual products).
Phone, chargers, portable chargers, camera, camera battery’s, iPad, laptop… the list goes on! It’s entirely down to personal preference as to what you’ll use but I’d recommend a phone and portable charger, a camera (or you can use your phone), headphones and an iPad/kindle for entertainment on those long old train journeys (but a pack of cards will also go a long way!). You’ll also need European adapters otherwise you won’t be able to charge any of your items and they’ll all end up being pretty useless within a few days.
I didn’t really know what to call this one, it’s kind of just everything else in one! A combination padlock (for lockers, for your bag), a neck pillow (Primark sell lovely memory foam ones for a fiver), sunglasses/glasses, some first aid items and a travel towel! Whatever you do, don’t take a normal bathroom towel. They’re heavy, take ages to dry and will make your bag stink if left damp (nobody likes a stinky friend).
Last, but by no means least, your documents. I’d recommend getting an a4 zip-lock bag/wallet and keeping copies of everything you will need. Your passport (and a photocopy), your Interrail pass, your accommodation reservations, seat reservation tickets, travel insurance documents, tickets for any events/excursions, boarding passes and flight confirmations and important contact details. This will be like your travel bible – being organised will make your life a hell of a lot easier (unless you’re winging it, then I salute you) and will save you digging through your rucksack trying to find your Interrail pass when a train conductor is in your face. I’d advise to keep this in your day bag at all times. Another thing that I will be taking with me (the idea was from a video by Jack Edwards of ‘The Jack Experience‘), is an Interrail schedule. It covers everything you will need to know including where you will be waking up and going to sleep on each day (as this will often be in different countries), your train departure and arrival times (if you have these planned and have reservations), how long the journey will be, the train code (this makes your train a lot easier to find) and where you will be staying in each country. Here’s a lil snippet of our Interrail schedule:
(I’ve blurred out our dates of travel and the accommodation that we are staying at for our privacy).
So, that’s about it! A full packing guide for an Interrail trip. You may want to take less, you may want to take more, but hopefully this has given you an idea of the essentials.
See you on the flip side (and when I’m back from my trip!),
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* This post includes a collaboration. All opinions of the product are my own.