All interrailing trips are custom designed by you. So you're going to need to decide how long you think you'll survive without a home-cooked meal!
Once you know how long you want to go for you need to pick which type of train pass you want to use.
A pass can last between 10 days and 3 months, and some have a set number of uses whilst others are unlimited.
So have a good long think about how long you want to be gone for and how many times you want to jump on a train, and then pick the corresponding train pass.
Of course you want to go everywhere, try everything, fall out of every pub in every city... but you need to be more specific!
You probably already have a good idea of where you want to go, but now is the time to make solid decisions. Which cities draw you in the most? Intrigue you? Chances are those are the ones you'll have the most fun exploring!
Whether you want to get lost amongst the canals of Venice, climb Swiss mountains, or party in Prague. Make your choices... and move on to step 3.
Probably the most fun you can have with a map and a biro. Pick where you want to start and where you want to finish, dot out all those carefully chosen cities, and connect the dots!
Be sensible, obviously. The end result should look like an easily executable route, not a drawing of a zebra.
Choose how long you want to stay in each place. We recommend a couple days in each city, which we found was plenty of time.
Head over to the DB Bahn website and check your train routes. This website will give you all the information you could possible need for the best routes, train times, whether your train requires a reservation, if there are any issues with your chosen route. This site can provide you with information on the exact trains you need to take to make your route a reality!
So start with train number one. Find out how to get to city number two. And before you know it, you’ll be finished with step three. So move on to step four!
See here on how to use the DB Bahn website to find out train times. Alternatively,
if you'd like to carry all the train times with you, you can purchase the Thomas Cook European Time Table. AKA The Bible.
Once you have your route and you know how long you want to spend in each place it's time to put it all together and start booking! Start at your first stop and book place by place all the way up to your last stop. Book up any flights you might need and check train times. Plus, find out the check-in and check-out times for your accommodation.
what sort of accommodation are you planning on using?
if you're looking for a good place to book hotels we recommended:
Hotels.com - Another good site for finding all the best hotels at decent rates.
If hostels is what you're looking for we suggest:
This is the one for simplicity and it has a massive range of options at your disposal. Even better fellow travellers have rated each hostel, so you know exactly what to expect.
If you want to go full-on rustic and camp:
EuroCampings.co.uk - Where you can find information on campsites across 30 European countries
Note: Most accommodation providers are fine with you storing your luggage with them until you need to leave. But it's always good to know for sure if you're going to be hanging around the city for a while after check-out.
As we mentioned in the last step, you can plan your trains down to the minute beforehand on the DB Bahn website. This is something you're going to need to do when using high-speed or sleeper trains, as you will need to make reservations.
Not all trains can be reserved online, but you can reserve most of your trains using the following websites:
All other trains can be reserved in participating stations*, where you can make reservations on trains all over Europe, but make sure you book as many as you can ahead of time as some get full quickly!
Reservations cost a small amount on top of your train pass:
*See here to find out which stations you can book from. Most major cities will have a participating station:
This might sound like a silly step in planning a trip, but let us tell you a little story: Three blondes went to Europe and planned to visit Vatican City on a Sunday.
We wouldn't have got the joke before we left for our trip either... but, as it's the holy day of rest, the Vatican is closed on Sundays, and our plans for the day were officially sacked. We did spend the day on a beach in Rome instead though!
Still, don't make the same mistake.
If you need to catch a ferry, check it is running that day. Book ferries or buses in advance wherever possible or you may be stuck somewhere longer than planned. (There was an incident in Turkey. Let's not talk about it.)
If you want to skydive in Interlaken, or take a hot air balloon ride in Bruges, look into it! Find out if you need to book, costs, availability etc.
Once you're thoroughly informed, move onto step 7!
Ok you need to kit out because that holdall you've been considering using ain't gonna be no good to no one.
You need a backpack, and you need to fill it with all the right stuff. Especially if this is a long-ass trip!
We cover what to pack separately as it's a pretty big deal and, let's face it, shopping for holiday stuff is cool.
Note: One thing that you must definitely remember to pack is any travel documents or e-tickets you might need for your trip. It's good to take all the important stuff in a smaller bag that you can carry on your person at all times.
So go pack. Then move on to the last step.