Advantages Total freedom, fantastic sights and interesting people.
Disadvantages When I got back, my toothbrush had been thrown away. Cankles.
I have just returned from a month of train travel with Interrail and I am bronzed, toned, still in one piece and ready to put you in the picture! Before I went I read every internet article I could get my hands on, they mostly covered the experience and many did it justice. I hope I can convey the fantastic time I had, with a route that defied all logic and convention and involved endless laughter, confusion and foreign officials. However, before you buy Interrail tickets, you need to know what you're getting for your money…If you have the misfortune to travel on trainsin the UK on a regular basis, Interrailing is a stark contrast; even in the darkest corner of Eastern Europe, clean, efficient, well staffed trains run on time. There is always the odd exception, but I think public transport in Britain has a lot to learn! Interrail gives you the freedom to travel at a reduced rate, it's a massive saving compared to the cost of paying for the individual journeys and it means that you can go somewhere 'just because you like the sound of it'. Every experience will be different and I've tried to include both the pitfalls (in the hope that you can avoid them) and the highlights. The section entitled Train Practicalities is worth reading if your trip is imminent. Other than that, please feel free to skip it and just enjoy the section on my expereience.
*****Invaluable Equipment *****The Thomas Cook Rail Map - for all the times that you can't get a direct train.
***** Accommodation *****Most of the Hostels are full in high season and they prefer to separate males and females. We stayed in some that were lovely and some that were unfit for human occupation. Where there were problems with hostels, we found that it was often easier and cheaper between the two of us to get a room on hotels.com. There are some great bargains to be found with a bit of patience and reasonable internet access.
We also stayed with the families that wait at the station and offer you rooms. This is often much cheaper than the hostels and the famillies are prepared to help you with timetables and translations. It makes you feel at home and offers the chance to see how real people live rather than just the inside of another chain hostel. In Transylvania we were really lucky and found a woman who couldn't do enough for us - she even did all our washing. Her concern when we drunkenly wanted to use the gas cooker at 1am was more for our safety than that of her house.In Split we were less fortunate. I think the key is to only agree to view rooms within walking distance and ask to see pictures before you even go that far. If someone drives you to their inconveniently located house an hour down the motorway, you end up taking it just because you can't get back.
***** Train Practicalities *****I went with the Boyfriend (much persuasion and nagging on my part) and after looking at all the options, we decided on a Global pass.
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