After using an InterRail pass for many days it’s time to sum up what tips I could put down for using such a great offer.
First you should study the website of InterRail carefully. Especially the collection of links and the info about reservations is a big help.
They are also running a twitter account @InterRail which I’ve used regarding the question if a certain railway company is covered by my InterRail pass.
As there is so much to see in Europe I think it is important to create a kind of motto for your journey. It doesn’t matter if you decide to visit all festivals or all pubs. The most important fact is if you have a motto you’ll find the right questions to ask what to do and what to see in each region.
Bear in mind you won’t need your pass everyday. Sometimes it could be cheaper to buy a local train ticket instead of consuming a day on your pass. If you are using a 1st class pass you should think about that some trains won’t offer a 1st class and it would be cheaper to buy a 2nd class ticket on that day.
There are some events you can not plan but you should be informed about them. I think about occurrences which disrupt the train operations like strikes, avalanches or accidents. If you know about them you can try to avoid the disrupted railroads. For info you can listen to the accounts of the railway companies on Twitter or you can check their websites. E.g. I am using this for Austria: Link
Print out a plan with the names of the railway stations you will come across on your journey. The most important name on this list is the name of that station before the station you have to leave the train. So you always know when to get ready for leaving the train. Just knowing the arrival time won’t work if the train is late.
Let the train guard know where you are going to. E.g. by asking a question or by showing the entry in your InterRail pass. If your train is late many railway companies are starting a process telling their dispatchers how many people are requiring a certain connection. Your train guards can not help you if they don’t know where are you going to.
Don’t expect lockers at every railway station. Sometimes there are none or all of them are occupied. Therefore I have started to plan my travel routes in the shape of a star in order to keep my luggage on a central point.
For using the lockers I’d suggest to collect appropriate coins in one of your pockets beforehand so there is no need for wasting time by gathering the right coins at the next shop. By the way the same tip also works for bathrooms at railway stations which often demand a coin.
Try to understand the symbols on timetables. Some symbols are indicating that trains are running on special days only. By the way for the same reason you should always check the opening times of museums and attractions beforehand. They are closed on days you may never expect it.
Make use of Google Maps for determining the way from the railway station to your hotel, to the tourism info and to the sight you are going to. It is also a great reminder about interesting sights next to your destination.
So what about your experiences using an InterRail pass? Where there any tips new for you? Any tips you would like to add? Feel free to comment!