me and a few friends are planning on a 22day trip round europe on the inter-rail. we are thinking of booking hostels in the major citys which we are planning on visting such as paris and amsterdam. however we dont want to be tied down to reservations if we find somewhere we like so we are not going to book everywhere, is this wise? we are planning on traveling over night on the train is there a website which shows how long on avergae a train journey takes from amsterdam to paris say. as we dont want to arrive at our destenation at 3 in the morning! anyother advice would be much apprecated.
try raileurope.com for rail times.
for hostels/hotels the way I did it was just booked the first night and went from there, booking the next city the day before I left (online booking). it worked out great.
To answer your questions:
- My friends and I booked the first 3 cities we were going to before leaving home, and then we winged it from there. Sometimes we would book online from the city before, and sometimes we would just show up in the city and walk around until we found something. We were pretty lucky most of the time.
- There is a website to check schedules online:
It's a german site that has all European timetables.
It's good to know when you will be arriving in a city in case you have to tell the hotel/hostel you're staying at that you will arrive a few hours past check-in time.
You're smart to take overnight trains, they save you time and money. A sleeper is cheaper than a hostel and, unless you like looking at scenery for 8 hrs, you'll have more time to explore the towns you are going to during the day.
How many places will you be going to on your trip?
we are planning on going to 5 countrys however r are flying to athens and spending 3days there b4 our inter-rail ticket starts then getting the ferry to italy then france then brussels then amsterdam but we will b arriving in amsterdam the day our ticket expires so we are trying to maximse the time we have.
I went interrailing around Europe three years ago and I never had any problem finding accomodation on spec, especially in the bigger cities.
I foudn the Rough Guide to Europe invaluable! It should be every traveller's bible, in my opinion. There is a list of hostels, campsites and a range of cheap to upmarket hotels in all the major towns and cities (with prices marked/e-mails/addresses, etc).
Most of the places I ended up in were from The Rough Guide and they were exactly as they had been described. The trains in Europe are great - much better than Ireland and the UK. I did two overnight journeys and they were really comfie. Saved on accomodation for a night as well!
I think you only need to book ahead if there are festivals on or if its a particularly busy time of the year, or if you know you'll be arriving somewhere late in the evening and u havent got time to look around.
Hope that helps!
Have a great trip man - I'm stuck here at work until October!!