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.


Bags

Large backpack

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.

Small backpack

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.

Bag separators

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



Travel Documents

Interrail pass

Possibly the most obvious thing on this list. Get yours here.

Pens

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!

Seat reservations

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.

Passport

Again, fairly obvious, but we’re trying to make this packing list as comprehensive as possible.

Travel insurance

Don’t forget to buy some travel insurance before you set off on your Interrail trip.


Our pick: Alpha Travel Insurance



Money

Travel card

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.

Travel cash

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

Everyday clothing

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.

Comfy shoes

You’ll be doing a lot of walking during your Interrail trip, so make sure you’ve got some comfortable shoes.

Flip flops

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.



Bathroom

Everyday toiletries

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.

Travel towel

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.


Our pick: Little Bodhi microfibre towel with carry bag



Electronics

Chargers

Whatever devices you’re bringing, they probably don’t have enough battery life to last the trip. Don’t forget to pack your chargers.

Adaptor

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.


Our pick: Poweradd Pilot X7 - 20,000mAh portable power bank



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.



Entertainment

Playing cards

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!

Headphones

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).

Portable speaker

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.

Book

Another great way to keep yourself entertained during long train journeys. Don’t forget to look out the window every now and then though!



Security

Padlock

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.

Travel wallet

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.


Our pick: ENKNIGHT slim design bumbag with RFID protection

Doorstops

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!



Additional Electronics

Extension cable

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!



Additional Clothing

Swimwear

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!



Sleeping

Travel pillow

If you think you’re going to want to sleep on trains but might find it difficult, you could consider packing a travel pillow.

Ear plugs

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

Sun cream

Europe can get extremely hot and sunny in summer, so pack some sun cream if you’re prone to burning.

Water bottle

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

Blister plasters

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

Painkillers

If you’re planning on doing a lot of drinking, you probably want to pack some painkillers for the mornings that follow.

Vitamins

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.