Following on from the previous blogs in this series, this guide is designed to aid the planning of your Interrailing trip. For this part of the series I will be covering what to bring with you and the items I consider to be essentials for the journey.
Backpack vs Suitcase:
The first choice you have to make is whether you want to bring a backpack or a suitcase with you. I certainly recommend bringing a backpack due to the amount of walking and carrying of the bag you will be doing along the way. The backpack will allow you to move quickly in crowds at train stations without having the worry of wheels getting stuck or dragging along cobbled streets.
Due to the fact that you will most likely be walking to your accommodation from the train stations it is most definitely easier to make these journeys using the backpack instead of a heavy clunky suitcase.
Choosing a backpack:
Your choice of backpack for the trip is important because it will be the most used item on your trip and you will need a bag that carries all your clothes etc and a bag that is rugged/durable.
The size of backpack I chose for my trip was a 65 litre bag that can expand to 75 litres and this was plenty of room for the month long trip. A handy feature in a backpack that you should look out for is a large front pocket in the main compartment. This pocket will allow you to access your clothes etc without unpacking the entire bag every time you need something new to wear.
Most medium priced backpacks will have a front pocket and have all the necessary back straps and hip strap supports to help shift the weight load of the bag across your body.
The price of the backpack should not be a deterrent for you to settle for a cheap one. The bag that I chose is the "Kongur 65-75" produced by Lowe Alpine. It has been 4 years since I bought this backpack and it has travelled around the world with me on every trip and to this day it remains in great condition.
What to bring:
Aside from the usual items of clothing etc I have compiled a list of other items I consider to be essential for a trip of this type and here they are below.
A comfortable pair of sneakers:
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my Interrailing trip was choosing to wear a pair of hard soled converse all star shoes every day. While exploring so many cities you will be walking for very long periods of time therefore requiring decent support in your heels and feet.
I highly recommend investing in a good pair of either running or walking shoes that you know will provide comfort and will last for the entire journey.
An interrailing trip requires you to carry quite a large amount documents with you including your interrail pass, train tickets, passport, accommodation details, money etc. The best way to keep all of this in one place while you travel is a document wallet.
Regular towels take up an unnecessary amount of space in your luggage and so I recommend purchasing a travel towel that will fold up to a size smaller than a notebook. A travel towel is made from thing microfiber material therefore it dries much faster than a regular towel too. You can pick up a travel towel from any adventure store or online for a reasonable price.
Some people will argue that their phone camera will take superior photos in comparison to an actual camera but I firmly stand by the choice of a stand-alone camera over a phone camera. Even if you feel you wont take many photos I can assure you that you will be taking hundreds of photos.
The amount of sights and scenes that you will see along your journey will entice you take your camera out at every available moment. I myself questioned whether to bring a camera with me on my interrailing trip and I am very glad that I did.
This may not be an obvious one to bring but it is one of the essential items on my list. If you are staying in hostels you will need a padlock to ensure the safety of you items inside a locker in the dorms. Most dorms will come with a locker but they do not provide the padlocks, this is something you must bring yourself. The padlock can also be useful for locking the pockets on your bag while stowed away on the trains.
A phone can aid you to a certain extent but an invaluable item to have with you in each city is a street map. A tip I recommend doing is marking all the sights and places you want to see on the maps with a marker. You will be able to use the map for your visit without losing your direction and I purchased one upon arrival in each city I visited.
Different countries across Europe and the World use various types of plugs and sockets with varying voltages. In any travel/adventure store you will be able to pick up a travel adapter that will allow you to use your native devices in sockets abroad without damaging the electronics.
This concludes part 4 of the comprehensive interrailing guide and part 5 will be coming soon. The start of this guide, Part 1 can be found by clicking here.
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