Exploring on a budget

After spending 32 days in Peru during the summer of 2012 I caught the travelling bug. The sense of adventure as I visited all the sites was great and I wasn’t ready to give it up but my nerves and badly paid zero-hours contract at work restricted me to a package holiday last year. My friend and I had a lovely week in Corfu at the end of A level exams but it just wasn’t the same. With this in mind I began university looking for a travelling buddy.


The girls at the bottom of Machu Picchu, Peru

The girls at the bottom of Machu Picchu, Peru


By the time we’d finished for Christmas and everyone was getting ready to go home for a month my travelling buddy and I had decided a trip around Europe on an interrail ticket was exactly what we wanted so along with house hunting we began to research the types of places we wanted to visit. Apart from Amsterdam and Rome there was no common ground but we quickly discovered a route which took us through the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic ending in Italy – perfect for both of us. We bought our interrail pass and chose our starting date only to discover there were no overnight trains between the stops we wanted and panic arose. All was fine though as we chose a different route based on the available trains rather than just the places we wanted to visit.

As we carried on planning we discovered the interrail pass isn’t as flexible as it used to be and at £163 each I began to wonder if it was just a good idea as it originally seemed. The choice to travel 5 out of 10 days proved problematic as it restricts us to only two nights per stop if spread equally between them all. This, however, did work in our favour as we started to book hostels and realised how expensive they were! We were hoping to spend £10-15 pppn but it started to look more like £20-25. I would like to give a shout out to Hostel Elf in Prague though which charges just £10 a night on average with a buffet breakfast and free BBQ thrown in – we’ll see if it lives up to expectation!


With the price of hostels in mind I’ve budgeted £300 per week with accommodation on top – definitely not exploration on a budget which means I’m sticking to a family holiday next year (which is amazing because you don’t have to pay for ANYTHING!).

I’ll keep you posted on the expenses on my holiday but for now consider the other options out there, interrailing isn’t all there is. It was a brilliant concept 30/40 years ago when you could get unlimited travel in  a month for around £130, but now I feel it’s perhaps not as useful if you’re wanting to travel within more than one country.

Lauren x


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