Interrail Planner / February 18, 2018
What to pack for an Interrail trip: a complete packing list for Europe
We’ve pulled together a list of everything you could need to to pack for your Interrail trip around Europe. This packing list is divided into two sections: things that are essential to your Interrail trip, and things that could be useful but are not essential. Hope you find it useful!
List of Interrail Trip Essentials
This section of our list contains all the things that we consider must-haves when packing for an Interrail trip.
In typical backpacker style, you’ll want a large backpack to easily transport everything you need while travelling between European cities. Check out our list of recommended backpacks.
We also recommend taking a smaller backpack to use when exploring cities or going on day trips. Some large backpacks come with detachable smaller backpacks, which can be pretty handy.
As you progress through your trip, you will end up having a mix of dirty and clean clothes in your bag. We recommend using something to keep them separated.
Our pick: bin bags
Possibly the most obvious thing on this list. Get yours here.
You’ll need a pen to write your train journeys in your Interrail pass. From experience this is usually done in a rush, so make sure you keep your pens easily accessible!
If you’ve made any seat reservations, you should have some digital or physical tickets - make sure you’ve got them with you.
Flight boarding passes
If you’re getting flights to and from home, as many Interrailers do, make sure you’ve got digital or physical boarding passes for both journeys. Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner.
Again, fairly obvious, but we’re trying to make this packing list as comprehensive as possible.
Don’t forget to buy some travel insurance before you set off on your Interrail trip.
Our pick: Alpha Travel Insurance
Nowadays, there is an abundance of really good travel cards: Revolut, Monzo, and Fair FX to name a few. You usually load these up using a mobile app, and then can instantly spend on the card associated with your account. You can also keep topping them up during your Interrail trip whenever you have an internet connection. A lot of them offer perfect exchange rates with no extra fees, so you get maximum value for money when using them. You don’t even need to worry about changing the money into the correct currency, as your money can be automatically converted when you spend using the card, wherever you are in Europe. Always pay in the local currency when using these cards - if an ATM or a business offers to charge you in your home currency, they will be using their own exchange rate, which is unlikely to be as good as the one your card offers. Finally, make sure you order your card a few weeks before you go on your trip so there’s enough time for it to be posted to you.
There are bound to be some places on your Interrail trip that still mainly use cash, and businesses in these countries might not accept card. Travel cards let you take out a decent amount of money in cash while you’re abroad, but usually have a point at which they start charging you fees. For example, after you’ve withdrawn £200 in cash for the month, they might start charging you 2% on any subsequent withdrawals that month. Therefore, it can help to have some cash handy, especially if you can’t find a cash machine - they can be very tricky to track down in some cities! You can use Compare Holiday Money to find the best exchange rates and providers.
Clothing & Footwear
Stuff like t-shirts, pants, socks, shorts, jeans, etc. When it comes to deciding how much to bring, the main thing to consider is when and how often you will do laundry during your trip. Read our advice on how many clothes to bring Interrailing.
You’ll be doing a lot of walking during your Interrail trip, so make sure you’ve got some comfortable shoes.
Flip flops are mainly useful for going to the shower at hostels, but can come in handy if you’re Interrailing to anywhere with a beach.
This stuff is quite basic, so we’ve just put it into a single category: things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, shaving cream/gel, razors, etc. If you do forget any of this stuff, it’s very easy to just buy it once you’re on your travels though. You can also share some stuff like body wash and shampoo with your Interrail trip companions, so you don’t have to all carry some. We recommend keeping your toiletries in a leak-proof bag and keeping them in an accessible place in your bag as they will often be the first thing out when you arrive at a hostel and the last thing in when you leave.
Regular towels are quite bulky so aren’t ideal when packing for an Interrail trip. Instead, we recommend packing a lightweight, quick-drying travel towel.
Whatever devices you’re bringing, they probably don’t have enough battery life to last the trip. Don’t forget to pack your chargers.
If you’re travelling from the UK, an adaptor is a must-have if you want to plug anything in.
Our pick: 5-pack of UK to Europe adaptors
Portable battery pack
We highly recommend investing in and packing a portable battery pack so you can charge your devices at a moments’ notice - useful for when you need Google Maps’ help to find your way back to the hostel and your phone’s battery is running out fast. When purchasing these, you want to consider the mAh it can store. It can take anywhere between 1,500mAh and 3,000mAh to charge a phone fully, so the amount of mAh the battery pack can store will determine how many times you can charge your phone before you have to re-charge your battery pack. It will help to google how many mAh it takes to charge your specific phone.
List of Interrail Trip Non-essentials
This section of our list contains things that are useful and you could consider packing, but aren’t Interrail trip necessities.
Playing cards is perfect for any kind of down time, whether you’re on a train or sitting in a bar. We would recommend learning a few games before you go. Also good for playing drinking games in your hostel, if that’s your kind of thing!
If you want to listen to music or watch films during long train journeys, packing headphones is pretty much compulsory. We would also recommend downloading stuff on Spotify and Netflix before you set off (or whenever you have wifi while travelling).
If you’re looking for a more social listening experience, then pack a portable speaker. Useful when the group is chilling out in the hostel room, just make sure to be respectful of other travellers.
Another great way to keep yourself entertained during long train journeys. Don’t forget to look out the window every now and then though!
Most hostels have lockers for you to store your stuff when you’re out and about. In some hostels, you will need to use your own padlock to lock your locker, so it can be worth having one. Hostel lockers are becoming increasingly advanced though, which is cool - we’ve seen some that open and close using your dorm room card key.
If you’re worried about people stealing your stuff (or if you’re just very good at losing things), you may want to get a travel wallet that you can wear under your clothes to keep all your money and important documents (like your passport and Interrail pass) safe and close to you at all times.
This one is potentially a bit extreme for European travel, but is quite a cool travel security hack. You can use doorstops to effectively lock doors from the inside - just put them on the inside of the door to prevent it from being opened. This can be handy if you need to use a toilet or bathroom that has no lock. Alternatively, you can use it in your hostel while sleeping if the door has no lock - that’s very unlikely to be the case though. Just don’t use the doorstops to lock anyone out of your hostel room who’s meant to be sleeping in there!
Sometimes there won’t be enough plug sockets for everyone to plug in what they would like. An extension cable solves that problem, so can be a handy thing to have. It also means that you can charge multiple devices with only one adaptor!
If you’re going anywhere in Europe on the coast or with a spa/baths, you’ll want swimwear. Some popular places where packing swimwear would be advisable are: Barcelona, Croatia, and Budapest.
Light waterproof jacket
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that the sun will shine for the whole of your Interrail trip. It’s up to you if you want to be prepared for the possibility of rain!
If you think you’re going to want to sleep on trains but might find it difficult, you could consider packing a travel pillow.
If you’re unlucky, you’ll get a hostel roommate who snores loudly or be put in a room right next to a really busy road, even at night. (We’ve had both.) If that concerns you, pack some ear plugs. If you’re really unlucky, one of your trip companions will be that snorer. If that’s likely to be the case, definitely bring some!
Health & Wellness
Europe can get extremely hot and sunny in summer, so pack some sun cream if you’re prone to burning.
Stay hydrated without splashing the cash on plastic water bottles all the time - and cut down on your plastic use - by getting a water bottle that keeps your water (or wine!) cool and your coffee/tea hot.
Our pick: SHO Bottle
Even with the comfiest shoes, there’s always a risk of blisters if you do a lot of walking. Pack some plasters if you want to be prepared for that!
Our pick: Compeed
If you’re planning on doing a lot of drinking, you probably want to pack some painkillers for the mornings that follow.
It can be difficult to eat healthy while travelling around Europe, so it can help to supplement your diet with some extra vitamins.
So, that packing list should cover just about everything you might want to take with you on your Interrail trip! If you can think of anything that’s missing from this list, let us know. Otherwise, get packing! Or, if you haven’t planned your Interrail trip yet, get started here.