How to plan a budget Interrail

I apologise already for how wordy this post is going to be but…Flicking through copious amounts of photos of my friends and family already on holiday has made me SO jealous over the past few weeks; which is why I am even more excited that my next Interrail is only 7 days away! With this excitement, I wanted to share just a few of the ways we are preparing this time.

This time we are (finally) off to Italy. We wanted to include this glorious country last year but felt there was far too much to see in the time we had, leading us to decide to wait until now so that we could dedicate the time to it. We are touring some of its major cities this year, starting North in Venice, then to Verona, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome and finally to Sorrento. *ecstatic squealing*!!

I can bet that anyone reading this, one of their first thoughts will have been ‘blummin’ eck this trip will have cost a fortune’ because that’s exactly what I did before I started searching and pricing everything up. Obviously, Italy is a more expensive destination compared to somewhere like Greece or Croatia but we have managed to keep our costs down with a bit of digging.

TRAVEL

  • We are using Interrail for the majority of our travels, which all in all, is one ticket that allows you a certain amount of days train travel, depending on which ticket you buy. It’s insane. My ‘one country pass with 6 days travel’ cost around £110 and for that, I get to go to the most amazing cities. It would cost me half of that to get the train from Exeter to Manchester! So these a well worth the money.
  • Flights! We are flying from Manchester to Venice, then back to Manchester from Naples. I won’t lie, I shed a few of the happiest tears when I bought our flights. Using sky scanner and booking in advance we managed to fly to Venice for £30 each and back from Naples for £60 each. SO many happy tears!!!

ACCOMMODATION

  • Hostels!!!!! Stay in friendly hostels to keep your costs down rather than staying in fancy pants hotels. They are perfect for anyone as most hostels have the option of dorms and private rooms, as well as single-sex dorms.
  • Book way in advance – Me and Noah booked all our accommodation in late December so we’d have the first pick of cheaper options in the central locations. On average you can get a dorm bed in the centre of Florence for about 14€ a night! Alongside this, accommodation gets dearer the closer it is to your stay.
  • AIRBNB – We decided to give AIRBNB a trial this year in Rome, so hopefully everything goes smoothly. It actually turned out cheaper than a hostel so keep your eye out for hidden gems!

HOW TO AFFORD TO DO STUFF

  • We swear by the Lonely Planet books. They are super good at doing a lot of the detailed planning for you, such as the price of entry to museums and how to get to them from popular metro line stations.
  • STUDENT AND EU DISCOUNT – take your university/NUS card everywhere!!!! A lot of museums and galleries have hefty reductions for students such as taking the Roman Colosseum from 22€ down to 7€… I know.
  • Ask your hostel about organised tours – because hostels are budget accommodation, they take into account the type of people the attract and usually provide tours and trips themselves for much cheaper prices.

HOW I HANDLE MONEY

  • Budgeting – Within our hostels, we have made sure that in some places we have cooking facilities so that we aren’t spending every bit of our money on meals out and can completely chill after a long day. It also helps when we can prepare lunches, allowing us to take it out with us rather than spend more during the day.
  • We use an incredible company called FAIRFX. They provide you with a currency card (which looks exactly like a normal debit card) in either an ‘everywhere’ currency that is loaded with £ and exchanged when appropriate, or in € or $ that is exchanged upon loading money onto your card.
fairfx
screenshot taken from the Fairfx website

It is so easy to use, as you simply attach your normal bank card and make transfers. The exchange rates (even now…) are fair! Just don’t forget to sign the back of the card and then panic all your money has disappeared when it’s rejected from every cash point…not that that happened to me…

Hopefully, these few things will help save you a few pennies when you’re next planning a touring holiday because I don’t know what I’d have done without them!

Marika x

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