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A great buy for a great experience

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13.09.2011

Advantages:
see above

Disadvantages:
see above

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Frequency of trains

Reliability of trains

Comfort of trains

On-board facilities

Speed of trainsFast

Safety of trainsVery safe

How extensive is their Rail Network?Very extensive

How well does it cater for disabled people?Satisfactorily

Ticketing SystemExcellent

Value for MoneyExcellent

57 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (39%):
  1. 80smusicreviewer
  2. RICHADA
  3. steves001
and 21 other members
very helpful by (61%):
  1. LadyValkyrie
  2. anonymili
  3. xdonzx
and 34 other members

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what is interrail?

Interrail is a pass that can be used for unlimited travel (within a chosen time restraint) by train throughout the majority of Europe. To be entitled to purchase this, you must be a European resident. If not then you can buy a Eurail ticket instead which is basically the same thing, except that you can buy this if you are not from Europe. From having a quick look on their website it does appear that a Eurail ticket is slightly more expensive. I myself bought the interrail ticket – I would also like to note that you can buy this from various websites so it may be worth shopping around just in case you can find it anywhere cheaper.

How much is it?

I personally bought my ticket from interrailnet.com so these are the prices that I will give you. To start with there are 2 options – to either have a one country pass (which starts from £31 but varies greatly)or to have a global pass which is what I opted for. I am only going to give the prices of the global pass as that is what was relevant to me, as a person who is under 26 (also referred to as 2nd class, to buy first class you must pay adult prices)


5 days within 10 – £ 155

10 days within 22 - £ 229

Continuous travel 15 days - £ 265

Continuous travel 22 days -£ 293

Continuous travel 1 month -£ 376

Countries covered by this pass

This pass is valid within 30 different countries but I would like to mention that it is not valid for use in your home country. For example if you are from the UK you cannot use this pass on the euro star to Paris. Countries covered are: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
A pretty good range really. You can see a lot of Europe fairly cheaply using this pass although of course this depends on how much time you have and how much money for accommodation, food etc, bearing in mind that some train journeys can be very long taking up most of a day.

Ordering your interrail

You order from the internet having selected what package you would like, paying by credit cards, as well as PayPal, iDeal and e-Carte Bleue. You may also need to pay for postage as I did. This is roughly £6 and can be delivered to most places in Europe. A word of warning about the delivery – the company used is DHL and I think I can honestly say that they are the worst company I have ever had the displeasure of coming into contact with. I had a huge amount of trouble with my delivery (although I won’t go into much detail as this isn’t really the main point of this review). Long story short the tracking they suggest you use is not accurate, I was not notified when they had attempted to deliver my ticket, and they later delivered it to a place I was no longer staying at, as this was beyond the date I said I would be available to sign for the ticket. In the end I travelled halfway down Finland to collect the ticket myself, incurring lots of extra charges which I thought DHL would be decent enough to refund but apparently not. I did also send a complaint email to interrail to which I received no response which I think is disappointing and suggests that dealing with complaints is not high on their list of priorities.

My experience of ordering

I ordered my interrail ticket along with the optional pass loss and theft cover at the price of £8. I didn’t particularly think that I would lose my pass but for the sake of £8 I would rather have peace of mind. This will allow you to receive replacement tickets up to the price of your remaining pass. In the end I didn’t need this cover but it made me feel more secure, so in my mind it was well worth it! I travelled with a friend and we both decided that 22 days continuous travel would be the most suitable for us at the price of £293 each. When I eventually did get my ticket, I also received a map, a handy leaflet and a newspaper all about interrail. I found the map was especially useful as it already showed some routes that also give you a time frame of how long a train journey should take. For example a train journey from Rovaniemi in north Finland down to Helsinki takes 9 and a half hours. This is incredibly useful when planning your journey (and I would highly recommend taking some time to plan). The leaflet also came in useful with some information about additional costs/reservations and special deals e.g. you can get discounted ferry travel with particular companies. The newspaper also gave general travel advice which is also pretty useful when planning your trip.

planning

As I said previously said, I would highly recommend some planning prior to your journey. It is all well and good feeling like you can go wherever you like, whenever you like – however in reality this isn’t necessarily how it works out - especially if you go in peak season. You could spontaneously decide to hop on a train to go to a nice city only to find that there is no accommodation available that suits your budget, which leaves you in an unpleasant situation. Myself and my friend planned the first part of our journey, and further into it when we had decided on the other places we wanted to go, we started to book other places to stay. We also had our flights booked before we even left deciding we would finish off in France – doing this nice and early meant a cheaper flight which was around the same price as the euro star.

We started in Rovaniemi where we had been living for some time travelling onto Oulu and then to Helsinki to leave Finland completely. The awkward thing about the interrail pass is that this basically only covers trains and sometimes this just isn’t practical between certain countries! We then had to get a ferry from Helsinki to get to Estonia (you can’t use interrail here but you don’t really need it because transport is incredibly cheap). From here we got another ferry to Stockholm which I have to say was amazing. Even if you travel primarily by train I would definitely recommend going by ferry at some stage. Then from Stockholm we travelled to Copenhagen, then onto Berlin, then to Besancon and then to Azur in the south of France, before flying home from Toulousse. On average we spent about 2 days at a time in each city, with a bit longer in Stockholm because we particularly liked it there. I wouldn’t recommend planning out the entirety of your trip but I definitely suggest you have at least a week of it planned.

How to use your interrail

To use your global pass continuously was very simple and easy (as long as there is space on the train!). you simply note down on your interrail what station you depart from and arrive at, with times and train numbers. As I previously mentioned there are some extra charges and I would highly recommend booking during peak season. There are some trains for which you will always need a booking which can be expensive e.g the one from Besancon to Azur required about a £25 charge just to reserve a seat, but in all fairness this is the most expensive extra cost that I came across. I think that on average to reserve a seat was fairly cheap – roughly £3 to £7 each. Personally I think it is better to pay this fee on some trains. We missed out on an extra day in Copenhagen because we hadn’t reserved seats and by the time we went to book some they had already all sold out – which then of course impacts on the rest of your plans and where you are due to stay.

My overall summary of interrail

-Good points-

• Overall saves you a lot of money on train travel.
• One easy ticket that can be used on most train lines.
• Allows for a lot of flexibility
• Optional loss and theft coverage for a small fee
• Trains abroad I find seem a lot nicer than the ones in this country
• Easy to make reservations either online or at train stations
• Makes you feel like a real traveler!
• Easy to order and use
• Free map, leaflet and handy newspaper.

Bad points

• DHL (delivery company) are poor – would recommend allowing quite some time for your ticket to arrive.
• There are additional costs for certain trains or just generally for making reservations which in some cases may be essential.
• Additional forms of transport may be needed.

A few tips on travel


• Plan out your journey to a certain extent
• Try not to take too much luggage wise with you – hard I know! I am definitely not a light packer.
• Check reviews for places you stay before you go and believe them! I stayed in some awful places and I knew they had bad reviews but ignored it anyway.
• Try and have some sort of budget else it will cost a fortune!
• And last but not least – have fun! :D


Thank you for reading!

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Interrail Pass travel - Interrail Pass
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Comments about this review »

80smusicreviewer 09.10.2011 10:41

Excellent review. E.

RICHADA 27.09.2011 20:42

I.O.U.1.E.R.

RICHADA 27.09.2011 20:42

Well, once you did ghet your ticket you certainly made good use of it! I'll return to this one. R. xxx

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This review of Interrail Pass has been rated:

"exceptional" by (39%):

  1. 80smusicreviewer
  2. RICHADA
  3. steves001

and 21 other members

"very helpful" by (61%):

  1. LadyValkyrie
  2. anonymili
  3. xdonzx

and 34 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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