mixnmatch
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#1
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
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Anyone had any experience of this? I am considering going in 2/3 weeks, though not yet decided.

Is it easy to meet people, where are the best places to go and is it safe to go alone? (im 18yr old female)

Thanks if you can help
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Toasted marshmellows
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haven't done it - but do you mean interrailing?
If so I know people who have and have really enjoyed it - met lots of people etc.
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siameasy
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I've been interailing, just got back actually, it was great! Rail travel is a great way to actually SEE countries instead of only seeing the clouds above them!

I'd say there were a few things to think about before you go though, so here are a few pointers, and I hope they help:

1, safety. I would not recommend travelling alone, although I have met people doing just that who say it's ok. Thing is, in a pair, you've always got someone to stay with your stuff when you need to queue for tickets, or to watch your back. I think travelling in a pair or a small group is advisable especially for girls. Also, take something to secure your kit and NEVER leave it lying around: travellers often get in trouble because someone else has put something (like drugs) into their backpacks to avoid risking the border crossing themselves. Keep an eye out.

2, planning. I set off with a fully worked out itinerary and everything sorted in my head. Within the first 24 hours it all went completely wrong! Don't plan too rigidly and leave time for things to go a bit wrong, like train strikes or full carriages. Also, you'll be more flexible that way to stay longer in places you like.

3, cash. Interrailing is more expensive than the marketing would have you believe. You've got to pay supplements and reservations on most Western networks, although these are small prices to pay and you can book them the morning you want to travel (usually!). Obviously, you pay more for a seat in a nice carriage than a crappy plastic chair in a hot one! Living in Europe gets cheaper the further east you go, but it's not as cheap as you'd think. In Hungary or Slovenia you'd still pay a tenner for a meal and maybe a pound for each drink.

4, hostels. Hostels vary WILDLY in quality and price! Some are really cheap but amazingly nice in the centre of town, and some are rip-off expensive for a hard bed with twenty other people in the room. I always booked my hostels one 'stop' in advance on the internet (most hostels have internet, or cafes close by).

5, trains. The most important part. Trains are generally very reliable all over Europe, with a few exceptions. A train will normally leave from a capital city on time, but quite frequently it can be up to an hour late arriving. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions to the conductors, saved me a few times! Train travel is generally the cheapest way to get around europe in relative safety, but it can be long and quite boring at times. I enjoyed the ride from Munich to Slovenia, through the Austrian Alps. The ride to Budapest was nine hours long through fields; not so much fun. Train-hopping can really tire you out as well, it's often better to stop for at least a few days in each place rather than overnighting it everywhere!

Generally though, I had an amazing time, and met loads of people doing the same thing as me. I went 'on season' though, so lots of tourists, it's likely to be much quieter now. I'd advise you to figure out what you 'want' out of the trip; lots of city-hopping, relaxing in the country, partying etc etc.

It can be dangerous, as can all travel, and I think it's essential to keep your wits about you in any country. We had a few hair-raising experiences involving wandering through 'bad' areas! My advice would be to go with like-minded friends, to over-budget (then you won't run out), and to always have a plan 'b' incase something goes wrong! Europe is a really amazing place though and worth experiencing.
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