There are many different ways in which you can travel around the world, and also many different ways to travel around the continent of Europe. When it comes to the most popular method, however, we'd argue that such a distinction goes to interrailing.
The process of going via train from place to place is quite intriguing, and today, we're going to be taking a closer look at the pros and cons of such an adventure. From there, you can make up your own mind as to whether or not you'd ever entertain the idea of doing such a thing. Enjoy!
10 Great: You’ve Got A Plan
Interrailing may or may not be for you, but one thing you can’t deny is that it sets you up pretty well in regards to having a decent plan moving forward. You know when you need to get somewhere, you know how long you’re staying in one place, and it’s all very organized.
There are, of course, riskier ways of doing it, but people who go interrailing tend to plan ahead at least a little bit. If you’re going to be traveling the length of any given continent, after all, it’s probably a good idea to think about what you’re doing.
9 Not Great: Uncomfortable Sleeping Arrangements
This isn’t always the case, depending on whether you're a creature comforts sort of person, but for the most part, you aren’t going to be particularly comfy when you’re going interrailing. It is designed to be convenient as opposed to being ideal, which is just the rotten truth of it all.
Even if you aren’t getting a train overnight, you’ll almost certainly be fighting the urge to sleep. Best case scenario, for a lot of people, is that you’ve got a friend or partner who is willing to let you use their lap/shoulder as a pillow of some description.
8 Great: Amazing Views
Some train journeys don’t give you the best of views, but interrailing doesn’t fall into the category of ‘some train journeys.’ You’re going because you want to see some utterly incredible views and, across a lot of the European countryside, that’s what you’re going to get.
You can allow yourself to look out into the vast loveliness of these destinations, all while being taken to your next stop without even having to do anything apart from sit there. From that perspective, you have to admit, it’s pretty nice.
7 Not Great: Possible Delays
Let’s face it, trains rarely let us get off that easily. The pain of delays is a burden we all must endure, but if you don’t really have that much patience, you aren’t going to be a big fan of having to get on train after train 20-30 minutes later than you had initially planned.
On top of that, there are also delays that could happen while you’re actually on the train itself. These ones are arguably worse, because there is quite literally nowhere for you to go and nine times out of ten, you’re stuck in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
6 Great: Cost Effective
It’s a cheaper way of getting around and that’s just a fact. So many different websites offer you deals that let you travel without the hassle of thinking about how much money you’ve got left over. Yes, you should have a budget, but we guarantee it’ll be cheaper than the figure you’re thinking in your head.
It gives you more money for food, drinks, and general activities when you’re exploring all of your many destinations. In our opinion, that's very valuable and could also save you a great deal of stress in the long run.
5 Not Great: Timing Pressures
As we noted earlier, it is indeed great to have a plan of some kind, but there’s also another argument on the other end of the spectrum: the pressure associated with having to get to a certain place at a certain time.
If you’re pretty laid back, you’ll be okay with winging it, but if you’re not, this kind of thing has the potential to ruin your holiday. If one or two things go wrong, that can lead to a domino effect. Trust us, we’ve seen it happen before.
4 Great: Sense of Adventure
It’s a simple point, but an important one: interrailing gives you a sense of adventure that many other holidays just don’t. You have to do it all yourself, more often than not you have a big backpack to carry around with you, and you get to see multiple different places in a short space of time. What’s not to love?
Throwing caution to the wind can be scary sometimes, but the beauty of a trip like this is that you can end up feeling so free and liberated throughout.
3 Not Great: Some Long Journeys
One part of your journey may only take you 90 minutes, but the next could take you up to six hours. It really does depend on what kind of journey you’re heading on. If you want to go somewhere that’s really big or travel long distances, you need to understand just how much further these train journeys feel in execution as opposed to theory.
You can feel like you’re going stir-crazy after the fourth or fifth hour, if you aren't used to long journeys. If you want an example of that, go and watch an episode of Race Across The World.
2 Great: Always Close To The Centre
If you’re flying somewhere or driving somewhere, there’s always the chance that you’re going to be located quite far away from your end destination – either due to where the airport is related to the town/resort or simply because you have to park quite far away.
With trains, that’s never the case. Whenever you come out of the station on your interrailing journey, you are usually going to be right in the thick of it. This gives you more time to do different things, more time to find your accommodation and generally more freedom.
1 NOT GREAT: Easily Stolen Belongings
If you’re always careful then you aren’t going to give much thought to this entry, but trust us, it happens more often than you might think.
It’s easy to get carried away with fun conversations on trains (which are naturally quite big and crowded), so you might find it easier to put your luggage somewhere down the carriage in order to save space. If you do that, make sure you keep one eye on it, because it’s so easy for someone to pick it up and simply walk away into the distance on the stop before yours.