Why we’re traveling with Interrail (Eurail)

Sanne on the train from Podgorica to Belgrade (2018)

Traveling in Europe has its many challenges. The biggest and most obvious one being, ironically, the exact reason why you’d want to travel in the first place – coming face to face with cultural differences.

Secondly: logistical travel challenges! It can really be a lot of work to organize travel to many countries in Europe. If you want to do the actual distance crossing with worryless flexibility,  traveling by train is for most people the way to go… Interrail provides a pass for (almost) unlimited travel to most countries in Europe!

At the very beginning, the pass could be issued to travelers aged 21 and younger. Perhaps that’s why many people asked us “Interrail, isn’t that for teenagers?”. It’s not!

The way it works is pretty simple. If you’re a European citizen, go for InterRail, otherwise get a Eurail ticket. If you want to travel through one country, get the InterRail One Country Pass. If you want to do your travel in two countries, you should combine two One Country Passes. Three countries plus – go for the InterRail Global pass. When you plan your trip out and figure out how many days it’s going to take, go to the InterRail website and select a package accordingly. You will be joining 170,000+ enthusiastic explorers who embark on their InterRail European adventures each year.

Bart and Sanne, the founders of Spotted by Locals, are among the biggest fans. So far they’ve traveled to 27 European countries by Interrail!

Affordable – especially in Western Europe

In 2015, when we traveled to 22 cities by train, we used the most expensive “global” Interrail pass – for unlimited 1st class travel within Europe: Euro 850,= for a month.  Traveling by airplane would have cost us at least Euro 8000,=.

Early 2018 we traveled to 5 cities in the Balkans with a limited global pass, which costs Euro 381,=. This is much cheaper than flying. But if truth be told: if you only (or mainly) travel in the Balkans, it is probably cheaper just to buy single tickets. Our longest train ride (12 hours from Podgorica to Belgrade) costs just Euro 15,= if you buy a ticket from the ticket office!

The Interrail global pass for a month is available from Euro 230,= (for travelers under 26).

Less – or no – stress

Yes, sometimes flying is a faster way to get somewhere, but it’s also a more stressful method of traveling… On the train there’s no security checks, check in desks and standing in line to wait for boarding. And you can see the countryside through your window, have a relaxed talk with your neighbour, get some work done or read a book. Time just seems to fly by when you’re on a train…

And by using Interrail or Eurail, it’s not a problem at all to miss your ride… there’s always another train later (sometimes next day though) – you don’t have pay any extra free!

Get work done

On an airplane, you waste at least 2 hours standing in line for security checks or waiting until the cabin staff tells you are allowed to open your laptop and work. In the train you sit down, plug in your laptop, and starting working until you reach your destination. We got so much work done on the train!

It’s better for the environment

Traveling by train is better for the environment (see some calculations here). That feels good!

Luxurious

We had the privilege of being able to travel first class, when it was available (no such thing as 1st class on most of the Balkans trains though!). Not many airplanes have a 1st class that is more luxurious than the average 1st class coach. Lots of leg room, no noise, no turbulence, electricity plugs for laptops, (often) Internet access, and a special dining car…

In conclusion, train travel is probably the most authentic way of exploring Europe, allowing you to gaze out the window and survey the changes in scenery that follow the shifts in perspectives and values that you get to explore once you on board. The convenience of trains is further enhanced by Interrail – a pass that will get you wherever you want to go whenever you want to get there.

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)