If you’re one of those people who prefers to take a more scenic route when it comes to travelling, no doubt you have entertained the idea of venturing across Europe by train. And no wonder either, as it can be far less hassle, while also being a lot more cost effective, which is great for backpackers who enjoy the flexibility and affordability of rail travel.
As with any form of travel, it’s always better to equip yourself to ensure that you have the easiest journey possible. Therefore, if you’re planning on taking a trip around Europe this year, it’s important to look at our 5 tips for travelling by train below.
It almost goes without saying that if you’re going to be travelling by train, the smaller your luggage the better! Ideally, hand luggage or a small, compact case is great for travel, particularly if on the off chance, you’re running late to catch your connecting train and have to rush. On the other hand, these are also perfect for storing in luggage lockers when you have a bit of time to kill before your next train.
Get a Rail Pass
In theory, trains are one of the cheapest forms of travelling. However, the costs can quickly add up if you aren’t careful; so, researching your rail passes is essential. Interrail is known to be the cheapest way of travelling around Europe by train, and their passes are incredibly versatile depending on how you want to travel. Interrail is perfect for backpackers or students who are planning on spending the Spring/Summer venturing abroad, and allows you to visit some of the most stunning cities Europe has to offer.
Be Wary of Pickpockets
Although European cities are incredibly beautiful and for the most part, great for tourists; it doesn’t mean that they don’t have their fair share of crime either. No matter if you’re in Paris, Amsterdam or Venice, train stations are notorious for pickpockets, and with so many people in a rush to catch their trains, a theft can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. To limit thieves’ opportunities, keep your valuables out of sight, and it’s always wise to invest in a padlock for your suitcase or backpack to make sure you keep your belongings safe.
Train Your Ear
If you’re a frequent traveller your know the frustrations, delays, last minute changes in platforms and in the worst case scenario, routes cancelled! So it’s always good to stay alert and listen for any announcements whilst waiting for another train. As stations tend to be very busy throughout the day making it hard to hear, you could even download an app to keep tabs on your times. At Safe, we recommend that you give yourself up to an hour in between connecting journeys. Particularly as you’ll want to be certain that you’re on the right track when making your way through the busy stations of cities like Stuttgart.
Take a Night Train
To cut your train travel time significantly, you might want to consider taking a night train, particularly if you prefer to spend more of your time exploring the beauties of Europe, rather than waiting around inside train stations. Whether you’d like a cabin all to yourself, or don’t mind sharing with others, there’s something for every kind of traveller. You can also take a night train cheaply, with some prices dropping under 60 euros and becoming even cheaper if you have a rail pass. If you plan to share a cabin, just make sure you keep your luggage safe and secured with a padlock.
There’s a lot of benefits to travelling across Europe by train, especially as you get to embrace the scenery and culture of all the places you decide to visit. Whether you are a student on a gap year, or are simply seeking some adventure, just imagine the stories that you can tell once you come back from your travels!