Interrailing: Choosing Your Pass & Packing

Hello friends! I am finally back to blogging! Exam season has ended, and those of you following me on social media will know that I've also just returned from an inter-railing trip with my boyfriend, Eoin and I've been working ever since. Ever since we left I've been inundated with questions from all of you ranging from what to pack, to where to go and what type of pass to buy. Thankfully, interrail season has really only just begun for some of you, so hopefully the advice that follows will reach you in time! If any of you have been inter-railing in the past, feel free to leave your tips/advice in the comments section and I'll try to add them to this post.

The Pass

Choosing an inter-rail pass depends on a variety of factors; where you want to go, how long you'll be away for, your budget and the amount of time you plan to spend in each place. We bought our passes through the website, but you can also find them at, a website ran by the Irish company USIT. Here you can find passes for single countries, or global passes.

Single country passes range from 3 to 8 travel days within one month, starting at €166 for a "Youth" travellers (a.k.a. anyone under the age of 27), and a Global pass ranges from 5 travel days to an entire month with prices starting at €208 for "Youth" travellers. Single country passes only allow you to travel within a single country (hence the name) whereas the Global Pass allows you to travel with all participating trains across Europe.

If you're planning on travelling with a Global Pass (like we did) I would definitely recommend going for at least 3 weeks if possible. Most of the first and second week of travelling seem to consist heavily of finding your feet, and travelling is definitely a lot more enjoyable when you're confident and comfortable with it. We spent 4 weeks interrailing, and it definitely seemed to be the perfect amount of time for us. It was our first time sharing rooms with other people in hostels, rushing around early in the morning and late at night with huge backpacks and having to basically figure out our plan as we went along. At the start this seemed a little bit tricky, and we were definitely landed with a few culture shocks, but by the second/third week we found our feet and everything became a lot easier!

Before buying our passes, we decided that we wanted to spend about 2 days in each city we visited, so we chose our passes based on this. We chose ten travel days within a period of one month. This worked out perfectly for us, and we had just enough travel days to cover the entire trip. If you're making train journeys within a country while your away, it can also be useful to check train ticket prices for specific journeys, rather than using a travel day for a short journey.

When you buy your interrail pass, you must put in your start and end travel date, so don't forget to plan these before you reach the checkout! Also in all European countries, free passes are offered to a limited number of 18 year olds (to increase our sense of European identity), so I'd definitely recommend applying for one of those! In Ireland, 200 passes are given out for free every year.

The pass comes with a map and a guide. It has two parts that you must fill out when you get on the train. On the ticket, you write down your travel day, and then you log your journey on the travel diary. It's super easy to use, and most people checking the passes are so friendly so they'll let you know if you've made any mistakes. There's a few rules about travelling overnight and how that effects your travel days, so definitely look those up when you're planning. We decided not to do any overnight travels, but instead we just left early in the mornings to avoid the stress of overnight trains.

The best thing about the interrail pass is definitely the freedom it gives you. You can choose where you want to go the day you leave, and you can change your plans so easily! Hostelworld definitely makes travelling easy too - you can just open the app on your phone and book a hostel within minutes. I'd recommend to only loosely plan your trip. See where the journey takes you, change your mind as you go, meet new friends and join them on the journey. Make it an adventure rather than a plan.

The Backpack

Backpack or suitcase? This seems to be the age old interrailing debate. Because we were away for four weeks, having a backpack seemed to be the only viable option. Somedays we had to carry our bags for over an hour, sometimes while walking and other times whilst sprinting for trains. The whole trip definitely wouldn't have been as comfortable without a backpack. Even though ours were pretty heavy, and asper usual I was overpacked, I definitely wouldn't have managed carrying a suitcase around train stations, up stairs and across cobbled streets. 

When it comes to buying a backpack for travelling, there are so many options. Every person I talked to about buying a backpack told me that you must try it on before buying. Apparently backpacks are like a pair of shoes; while one may suit you perfectly, someone else might find it completely uncomfortable. In Ireland, outdoor adventure shops are so expensive, so buying a backpack in store is so difficult. Bearing in mind I am a totally broke college student, I had to find a way to work around the insane prices, so I tried on my bag in a local store (where it was €160),  bought it on amazon later for about €110. I'm sorry for not supporting local, but I swear I can only just about support myself!

My Bag

The bag I chose was the Osprey Fairview 55 litre bag. The fairview is designed specifically for women, so the straps suit a woman's body shape. You can find my backpack here. It literally had all the features you could possibly need, so I was pretty much sold on it straight away. 

Some of the reasons why I chose this bag (aside from the fact that it was pretty comfortable on) were because of..

- detachable backpack that can be zipped and strapped to the main bag
- zips all the way around as opposed to only from the top
- a lil' whistle on one of the straps
- the backpack straps can be zipped away so they don't get damaged during travel
- compression straps inside and outside the bag

My only issue with this backpack was the lack of colours it came in. I had to go for a kind-of-ugly green, but I guess the comfort was a bit more important than the colour!

You can find out more information on my bag HERE on the official Osprey website (it's cheaper on Amazon than there), and I also found a good YouTube video about the bag HERE

What to Pack

As I mentioned earlier, I am the queen of overpacking, someone please hand me my tiara. To try to manage my packing I bought a set of packing cubes - you can find them HERE. They basically let you section out your bag. I used one for pants/skirts/shorts, another for tops, one for underwear and swimwear and the last one for PJs and anything/everything else that I needed. They were pretty handy, so I definitely would recommend buying a set. Mine were about €20 for 4 cubes and one bag that I used for dirty washing.

Another thing I purchased specifically for this trip was a sleeping bag liner. We stayed in hostels for the entire trip, so I thought this would be really handy if I ever felt like where I was sleeping wasn't super clean. While I didn't use this during the trip, it definitely gave me a great peace of mind.

Here's what I packed:

- 2 pairs of pants
- 3 dresses
- 2 shorts
- 8 tops/t-shirts (I sweat a lot, hence the high number)
- 2 pyjamas
- 10 knickers & 3 bras
- 10 pairs of socks
- Sleeping bag liner
- A pair of Toms
- A relatively comfortable pair of shoes
- Flipflops (for showering and chilling around the hostel)
- 2 pairs of swimming togs
- A travel journal (because I'm all about those mem's 
- Passport
- European Travel Insurance Card & Health Insurance Card
- Student Card and Driving Licence
- Photocopies of all my IDs
- A small purse
- A fanny pack (or bumbag, whatever you like to call it!)
- Travel Insurance
- A book (if you have a Kindle, definitely bring it along)
- A light windbreaker/rain coat (I got mine in Topshop)
- 1 fleece

If you're going for a four week trip like we did, 7 - 10 days worth of clothes and underwear is definitely enough. Most hostels have an area where you can wash and dry your clothes. A wash usually costs around €3, and a dry usually costs €3.50. If you're going with friends you can all pop your clothes in together to cut down on costs - usually the washing machine and drier drums are pretty big so it's not really an issue. 

I'd also definitely recommend getting travel insurance. I got mine with Laya Healthcare and it was only about €30. Again this just gave me peace of mind. I also made sure to photocopy all my ID's and put them in different places around my bag. It's really easy to get pickpocketed in a lot of countries, so most people recommend doing this, just in case you lose your passport or ID.

A fanny pack is also definitely super handy, just so you always know where your most important bits are when you're travelling, and again to make you feel a bit more secure about all your bits. 

I had planned to pack my iPad to keep you guys up to date as I went from place to place, but at the end of the day, travelling isn't really about spending your time letting people know what your up to or keeping up with those insta worthy vibes. It's about living in the moment, making memories, meeting new people and learning, about yourself and about the world. I've learned so much from my time away and I'm so excited to share more with you guys about my whole adventure over the next few weeks. I really hope this post help some of you guys with your packing and planning!

Until next time,

1 comment

  1. Nice post! It looks like you had a wonderful time. You have inspired me to go interailing at some point in the future.


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