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Interrail 101: How to navigate Europe by rail after Brexit

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With Brexit hitting headlines around Britain, there is increasing uncertainty about the fate of British travel throughout Europe. Although some European countries such as Portugal have announced contingency plans to encourage easy travel post-Brexit, it is easy to see why many students are putting their travel plans on hold.

However, Brexit should not mean missing out on the backpacker's rite of passage, interrailing. Here is an exclusive guide to help you navigate Europe by rail post-Brexit.

Image credit: Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels

The route

The European continent is huge and it is unlikely that you will have time to visit every country. For students restricted on time or budget, there are two popular options to help to narrow down your itinerary. Many students choose to fly to a big European city via a budget airline where they can begin their interrail trip from a well-connected city such as Prague, Berlin, or Amsterdam. Alternatively, they can travel directly from London to Paris or Brussels via the Eurotunnel.

Brexit

While some details remain unclear and subject to change, the best way to prepare for an interrailing trip post-Brexit is to opt into buying an official Interrail pass from the Interrail website.

Brexit will not impact travel for British citizens who have purchased an official interrail pass, nor will it impact the travel for citizens of European countries that are not members of the EU, such as Switzerland and Turkey.

Image credit: Mike Kotsch on Unsplash

Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that upon entering countries where the state of travel post-Brexit is still uncertain that your British passport is valid for at least six months after the date of arrival. It should also be no older than 10 years old.

Budgeting

It is important to note that if you are intending to travel for a short period of time or want to stay in your destinations for a long time in between travelling, it may be cheaper to book a combination of trains and buses rather than buying an interrail pass.

If you are willing to if you are willing to endure a few night buses, big companies such as Eurolines will help you keep costs low.  

When planning which destinations to visit, bear in mind that Eastern Europe is considerably cheaper than Western Europe and Scandinavia.

Accommodation-wise, if you are travelling in large groups, it can be cheaper and more comfortable to book a stay in an Airbnb than the classic backpackers hostels. If you are travelling solo, hostels are the best way to meet other people.

Don’t miss

There are any underrated spots in Europe.

First up, Krakow is the elusive second city of Poland. Beautiful and bursting with charm, it has an eclectic nightlife to satisfy everyone’s tastes. It is also much more affordable than most other European cities... we are talking five euros for one litre of Vodka. 

Image credit: Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

If partying is not your scene, make your way to Lake Bled in Slovenia where you can laze around soaking up the alpine sun, swimming or paddle boarding, or recharging in the mountains.

In Budapest, the city where travellers from all around the world seem to converge, its infamous ruin bars live up to their reputation. Here, you can get lost in the labyrinths of half-derelict buildings strewn with fairy lights and old furniture/ Ankert and Kuplung are some of the most popular with revellers.

If you become sick of train journeys, trade the tracks for a boat and head to Split in Croatia or Athens in Greece where you can conclude your travels island-hopping. This is the perfect way to kick back after a long trip of noisy hostels and hangovers.

Insurance post-Brexit

During the implementation phase of Brexit, it is most likely the EHIC insurance card will be accepted in most European countries. However, it is important to have additional extensive travel insurance to cover you in case of an emergency.

Finally, before travelling, be sure to check the FCO pages for guidelines and updates, especially in the instance of a no-deal Brexit.

Don’t forget

  • Copies of important documents including your passport, insurance, and reservations.
  • A padlock and flip-flops, hostel lifesavers.
  • A battery pack. Do not be the only one stuck on a night train without entertainment!
  • A currency card. This makes life easier with free transfers and cash withdrawals. Revolut or Monzo are good options.
It is easy to put off with the uncertainty of travel arrangements in Europe post-Brexit but with so many incredible sights right on our doorstep, there is no better time to embrace travel in Europe!




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