It’s time to talk about money. Yes, that taboo subject that can put off even the most eager backpacker. Unfortunately, the amazing experience of InterRailing costs money and it is so important to budget your trip correctly. Nothing is worse than having to cut your travel short, or make ‘that’ phone call to your parents because you’ve run out of dollar... or euros in this case.
The definition of luxury items are things you want, but you don’t need. Think of those new shoes, that trip to the cinema, or even a coffee; it all costs money and you can live without them. You don’t have to live a completely frugal lifestyle, but learning to say ‘No’ to evenings out and taking a packed lunch to work instead of buying it every day could contribute a lot of money to your InterRailing fund.
If your work allows it, try and pick up some extra shifts. This could be anything from two extra hours a day or working both days on the weekend. If you are not planning on going InterRailing for a while, see if you can pick up a second job to bring in some extra money.
As soon as you start losing hope, you’ll slip into your old spending habits. The best thing to do is buy your InterRailing pass as soon as you have the money. This will make your trip seem more real and force you to save the money as now you have to go!
Now that you’ve saved your money, you need to figure out how to make it stretch for as long as it can. The great thing about travelling is that you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, but the smarter you are about it, the longer you can travel for.
Where you go has a huge impact on your budget’s lifespan. Different regions of Europe can be more expensive than others, with Scandinavia winning the crown for most eye-watering prices. The budgets below show how each region can influence your costs.
Western Europe >> 40 – 80 Euros
Eastern Europe >> 30 – 50 Euros
To cut costs, it helps to pick countries that are not default holiday destinations, especially if you are travelling in the peak summer months. Instead of Spain, head to Bulgaria, or try swapping Italy for Slovenia. Of course you shouldn’t miss out on countries you’ve always wanted to visit, but you can compromise by spending less time in the more expensive countries, and using the cheaper countries for meals out and longer stopovers.
Here are a few ways you can cut back spending on your trip:
Buying a ticket like the InterRail Global Pass is not only super convenient for flexible travel and giving you peace of mind knowing that your transport is already covered, but it will also save you money. If you’re under 26 you can spend a whole month travelling around Europe from £400! Bargain!
Trying the local cuisine is a huge part of travelling, but it isn’t always the cheapest. To eat out on the cheap aim to head to restaurants or cafes at lunchtime, the meals are usually cheaper and some places offer a lunch time deal. If you’re staying in a hostel you can cook dinner in the kitchens provided.
If you have a student card then you should definitely bring it along with you. Plenty of attractions and shops will offer student discounts which can give you some great savings. Even if your student card has expired you should still take it with you and see if you can get away with using it. No harm in trying.
If you have a long train ride ahead of you then make the most of sleeper trains. Spend the day walking around your current city, then hop on to the late-night train to your next destination. This way, not only do you save money on a nights accommodation, but you’ll be refreshed and ready to explore a new city in the morning. It is important to stick to the 7pm rule here though; if you travel before 7pm and arrive in a country in the morning this will count as two days’ travel, but if you travel after 7pm it counts as one. Confusing, but worth remembering.