Everyone with an InterRail pass is free to book their InterRailing trip at any time of the year. But, if you are after the cheapest prices or a particular experience then you’ll need to put some effort into your planning.
This will be about as surprising as seeing a duck in a pond, but for the cheapest travel you need to avoid the dreaded peak summer months. This means steering clear of embarking on your journey in June, July, and August. Unfortunately for the frugal backpacker, this peak season brings crowds, double-prices, longer queues, full hostels and hotels, and the hideous spread of touristitus.
To get the best out of your interrailing experience, aim to travel in April and May or September and October, basically either side of the summer months. During these off peak periods prices are cut in half, there will be fewer crowds, and it won’t be as uncomfortably hot. Sounds much better!
If you’re aiming for a winter wonderland trip then the months you want to avoid are December and January. European countries like Germany, Hungary and Austria are popular Christmas destinations and prices can go up around this time. If you still want to enjoy winter sports or Christmas markets, aim to travel in November or February. The weather will still be cold and you may be able catch some of the Christmas festivities.
To ensure that you don’t get caught out with higher prices or fully booked hostels, double check whether any major festivals are happening around the time you’ll be in a certain city. If you are using an InterRail Global Pass then you won’t have to worry about the cost of travel, but the general cost of food prices, souvenirs and major attractions can go up during a large celebratory event.
Of course being part of an incredible festival like Oktoberfest in Germany or the Venice Carnival in Italy is an amazing experience, but it helps to be prepared for it. If you are going to be caught up in an annual festivity, make sure that you budget an extra 100 euros or so to compensate higher prices, and pre-book your hotel/hostel/campsite well in advance.
For more information on InterRailing check out our Beginner’s Guide to InterRailing, or you can speak to one of our Gap Year Travel advisors on 0333 333 9923