If you read my first ever blog post you’ll already know that me and Mark are going interrailing at the end of the summer. And you’ll also know that we booked it with a company called Euroventure. Now that it’s about 3 and a half months until we go and I’ve finally paid everything off and booked our flights, it’s time to fill you in on exactly how all the planning has gone.
First things first I feel like the title to this is somewhat misleading. Truth is I don’t feel like I’ve really done any planning at all! That is one of the wonderful perks of using a company like Euroventure to plan and book your interrail trip.
I always thought I’d dislike the idea of pre-packaged tours. I like to plan and do things myself so I’m in full control of what is happening. Not being in control causes me quite a bit of stress. But actually everything with Euroventure was so easy that I’m sure it would have caused me even more stress to plan it myself.
Besides it’s not technically a pre-packaged tour, at least, I don’t think so. Once all your accommodation and trains are sorted you’re left to do exactly what you want in each country. And there’s tons of flexibility in everything they offer.
Why didn’t I plan it myself?
Once me and Mark knew we wanted to go interrailing I dived head first into planning and organising. Because planning is always half of the fun of going!
We came up with a list of cities we definitely wanted to go to and others we’d quite like to visit and then I began trying to come up with a route. I messed around with lots of different places and dates using the Interrail Planner and then started to discover all other the things I needed to consider. And boy was it a long list!
You need to figure out exactly which interrail pass to use as there are several different options. On some routes we were considering a train wasn’t always possible, so you have to think about buses or ferries instead. Then there are night trains to consider. And deciding exactly how long is too long to spend on a train? I was also aware that some countries required mandatory seat reservations that need to be booked in advance. And this was all before even thinking about accommodation, flights or activities.
My head was starting to hurt.
I came across Euroventure during one of my searches for inspiration on routes to take. So, knowing I was about to start a full-time job and would struggle to find the time to sort our trip out properly, I decided to take a closer look.
Who are Euroventure?
You can probably get a better feel and learn more about the company by visiting their website. But for now I’ll give you a quick overview so you know what I’m talking about.
Euroventure are a tiny (I’m talking around 6 employees!) travel agency based in Leeds, England. They specialise in interrail trips around Europe, organising all of your trains and accommodation in each city you visit.
They’ve recently started offering group tours in both Europe and Asia as well Australian road-trips and an interrail route that’s UK only!
They pride themselves on their customer service and I can tell you it’s as good as they say! As well as all this they have a blog full of loads of helpful tips and guides.
Why did I pick Euroventure?
I liked the look of Euroventure from the moment I started browsing their website. And I’ve had no reason to not love them since I started the booking process all those months ago.
What I really liked about the company was that they give you the option to plan your own route as well as all the pre-planned routes they advertise. It was a really simple process I simply emailed them with all the places we had in mind, including the ones we definitely wanted to visit and the ones we didn’t. Then, them being the experts in all this, they came back with a route that would work perfectly.
It was also really easy to change things around slightly. Because me and Mark are trying to keep costs as low as possible we chose to stay in hostel dorm rooms. But because we are also grown adults in a relationship who wanted to be able to spend sometime to ourselves I asked if we could upgrade to a private room in some of the cheaper cities. Of course the answer was a big fat yes and they sorted that out with no problems.
We also decided we wanted to spend an extra night in a few of the cities. As well changing our minds about a couple of the places we wanted to visit. None of that was too much of an ask and after just a couple of emails we we’re happy with the route, the accommodation and most importantly the price!
The thing I most loved about Euroventure was that we had the ability to pay off our package how and when we liked. We paid an initial deposit of £150 each and were then sent a link to an online payment portal. Both of us could access the same portal so it was just a case of paying a bit off when we had money. I decided to create a payment plan of £300 a month, whereas Mark just paid it off in two lump sums. The important thing was we had the freedom to pay it in whatever way was best for us. Whether that was a little bit every week or all at once. The only restriction is you must have everything paid 90 days before departure. If you want to read more about how I saved up for our trip check out this post.
Flights, activities and everything else…
Once our route and accommodation were sorted (or being sorted for us!) it was time to start planning everything else.
Naturally I started with the fun stuff – what we were going to do when we got there. Euroventure recently launched a new feature where you can book popular activities along side your inter-rail package. Things like an excursion to Pisa from Florence or skip the line tickets to the Colosseum in Rome. There wasn’t this option when me and Mark first booked and although we can add them on now we’ve decided against it. I much prefer just seeing where things take me when I get to a city. I’ll always have the things I want to see, but I try not to plan the order or timings too much.
There are only two exceptions to this and things we’ve decided to pre-book before we go. They are a visit to Anne Frank’s Museum in Amsterdam and a tour of Aushwitz-Birkenau in Krakow. I’m pre-booking only because I’ve been wanting to visit both for such a long time and I’ve heard about how busy they can get!
For everything else I’ve spent a lot of my free time scrolling through Pinterest and reading blog posts. I now have a pretty good idea of what there is to do in each city, including things not to be missed and places to eat and drink.
The only major thing I’ve had to plan and book is our flights. I’ve you’ve been here before and read my previous post you’ll know I’ve done my fair share of flying in the past few years. So for me booking flights is a fairly easy process. I always search on skyscanner for the best price along with checking the best flight times. Then its just a case of simply booking straight through the airline company.
The only big and important things left to do are buying travel insurance, getting travel money and packing!
We’ll also receive our personalised travel pack from Euroventure in a couple of months time. It contains all the information we need to know before our trip. Including train itineraries, directions and fun stuff like city and language guides.
Pros and Cons of Booking with Euroventure
Although I would 100% recommend booking with Euroventure to anyone, I thought I’d finish with a pros and cons list. That way you can decide if it’s definitely for you.
- Quick and easy – if like me you have very little time to spend researching it all yourself.
- They’re experts in what they do – so you can be certain you’re route works and is doable.
- Flexible payment plans – so you don’t need to have all the money when you first book.
- Everything is customisable – whether it’s missing out a city or upgrading your room. That way you can be sure everything is exactly right for you.
- 24 hour help line – perfect for peace of mind while travelling.
- Excellent customer service – they were always on hand to answer any questions we had.
- Not the cheapest – like with anything you’re paying for a service. You’ll probably be able to get things cheaper if you organise it yourself.
- Not knowing your hostels when you book – personally this doesn’t bother me, but it’s something to think about.
- Not knowing your train times when you book – although you can request certain timings it’s a little bit annoying if you want to book or plan activities on the day you arrive in/leave a city.
- No flexibility once you start travelling – because your trains and accommodation are already booked for your entire trip it becomes almost impossible to change things. So no staying in a place for a few extra nights if you love it or going to somewhere new because you’ve heard great things about it along the way.
So that’s it. This time in 4 months I’ll have already been travelling for nearly a month and been in city number 10! I genuinely can’t tell you how excited I am! I promise to keep you updated with everything I get up to while we’re away. Including what our hostels are like, if I manage to survive the night trains and so much more!
If you want to keep updated in real-time then follow me over on twitter. And if you’ve got any questions please do ask. All my love,