Ask the Experts: Interrailing Alternatives

It’s that time again! Our Experts are ready and waiting to answer your pressing travel questions. They’ve had some toughies lately, but they’ve risen to the challenge every time. Could this be the week that finally cracks them? Surely not…

Do you have a travel question that you just can’t get out of your mind? Let our Experts handle it!

This week’s question comes courtesy of Paul in Lincolnshire, who has a little query about whether interrailing is the only way to see the continent. Take it away, Paul:

I’m tempted by interrailing; but are there any other good value ways to travel around Europe? Paul in Lincolnshire

An excellent question, and one which many of our readers will be interested to know the answer to. Come on Experts, show us what you’ve got!

Sarah Jones at STA Travel Covent Garden says…

Great question, Paul! Another option to Interrailing is Busabout Europe, a hop-on hop-off bus network spanning the continent. Busabout tickets are valid for a year, so you can take as long or as little as you want.

You can buy ‘Loop’ passes which start in one spot working through a number of countries and finish in another. There are a range of different travel passes; you can get Loop passes which cover Northern and Eastern, Central, Western or Southern Europe or you can get multi-passes, like the North and West Loops, which cover everywhere from the Czech Republic to Spain. Prices for these start from £385 so they are also a super cheap way to travel the continent.

Busabout’s Flexitrip passes are another good budget option and are £349 upwards. For these passes you simply choose your number of stops, with a mighty 9 countries and 33 stops to choose from. The friendly ‘road crew’ on board also provide helpful info on how to navigate once you depart the sanctuary of the blue bus, whether it be how to climb the Eiffel Tower or where to find the best Italian espresso.

Sepia Eiffel Tower

 Ooh la la! You can't get more French than the Eiffel Tower | Image by Joanna Kiyoné

If you’re looking for a fun, budget way to explore the realms of Europe I would say Busabout is a winning option.

Heather Dack at STA Travel Nottingham says…

Thanks Sarah! Interrailing and Bus About are very flexible, but they also mean you would be very independent while you were travelling. If you wanted something a little more structured, with the opportunity to travel with a group, we have some great tours on offer.

There are loads available, from 7 days right up to 42 days. Some include camping which keeps the cost really low. If the great outdoors isn’t your thing, we have other tours that offer some really unique places to stay – like French chateaus (ooh la la!)!

Another really popular option would be to learn a language in Europe. For example, you could spend two weeks in Barcelona learning Spanish and see some of the amazing things the city has to offer in your spare time. There are so many opportunities available, it’s just a case of finding the one that suits you!

Barcelona Smoothies

 Learn how to order one of Barcelona's smoothies in Spanish (or Catalan!) | Image by maltman23

Kim Lindsay at STA Travel Dundee says…

Ah, Paul, the British institution that is interrailing; a right of passage into European travel, even. However, there is a better, cheaper way that will have you telling tales of dirty Singapore slings whilst table dancing in a Prague nightclub for years to come!

Having successfully survived the 5 week, 8 country party that is European backpacker touring myself, I kid you not, no other memory puts a cheeky smile on my face like that one and I wouldn’t consider seeing Europe any other way.

Participation camping tours are the way forward – it’s loads of fun and keeps the price down. There are loads of different routes and durations to suit any budget. My top tip: pick one that includes sailing in the Greek Islands – it’s a holiday within the holiday!

If you’re not up for the challenge of drinking continuously with a lot of rowdy antipodean, an alternative is Space Ships, an independent car/camper option. Easy to drive and easy on the wallet (just don’t forget to add on the sat nav).

Wheeeeeeee! That’s the sounds of my head spinning and my mind racing at a million miles an hour! Our Experts have done it again, and come up with masses of ideas for getting yourself around Europe. Hope that’s helped, Paul! Let us know which option you go with. Have you got a question for our Experts? Drop us an email!