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Interrailing with kids - anyone done it?

(41 Posts)
Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 16:22:20

We are going interrailing this summer with our 11, 6 and 4 year old. I've planned a route with about 4 × 9 hour journeys and one overnight train. Has anyone done it before? Any tips for keeping the children entertained on the long train journeys?

We're doing long stop offs in Slovakia and Romania (1 week in each) with shorter stays in Munich and Budapest. I'd welcome any tips on things to do /see in these destinations too.
Really excited about this, just hoping the kids enjoy the adventure too!

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 16:29:19

Sounds like a great plan!
I took my ten year old twins down to Greece using interrail tickets - we stopped off in Amsterdam and Ancona on the way there, and Trieste, Munich and Amsterdam on the way back.
Lots of snacks and drinks from supermarkets before you get on the train is all I can suggest....pens/pencils/small toys..
As for the overnighter...would you have a compartment to yourselves?

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 16:30:12

..they still talk about the pizza slices from Bologna station with hushed voices... and this was 8 years ago..smile

Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 16:34:27

Sounds fab! I was so torn about where to go, so much choice... Yes, we'll try to get a 6 bunk couchette for just us. Though I need to figure out how to book it as I don't think we can do this one online (Budapest to Romania leg). Did your two enjoy the scenery out the train window or did they get bored quickly?

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 16:38:33

to be honest they were not as fascinated by the scenery as I was...they did get a bit bored on the longer journeys...
They loved the 'City Night Line' overnight couchettes from Amsterdam to Munich..

Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 16:41:04

I have a lovely vision of them staring out of the window for hours on end, in fascination at the passing scenery. Haha, might be a bit optimistic.

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 16:42:04

I think I booked the couchettes at the main train station...certainly not in advance anyway.
They have said they would like to do it all again, as they would appreciate it more now they are older.

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 16:44:39

ha ha yes that is what I thought too...suppose it depends on the children..

Avebury Sun 23-Apr-17 19:44:35

Had never even thought of doing this but am now really keen. Would either of you be kind enough to share your rough itinerary with me?

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 19:52:02

We bought the kind of tickets that allow you to travel for 10 days in a 30 day period.
Harwich - Hook - 2 nights and a day in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam - Munich on overnight train
Munich - Verona - Ancona on day train, overnight in Ancona
Ancona - Patra on ferry (must have been overnight)
Patra - Kalamata on train (not sure this train exists any more)
two weeks or so on a campsite near Kalamata...
Kalamata - Patra on train
Patra - Venice on overnight ferry (or was it two nights..?)
Quick zoom round Venice on vaporetto
Train to Trieste - one night there I think
Train to Munich
Munich - Amsterdam and overnight there
Amsterdam - Hook - Harwich

PinPon Sun 23-Apr-17 19:56:40

Sounds lovely. I did this with DH many years ago and would love to do it again with kids.

Avebury Sun 23-Apr-17 20:04:30

Thanks so much. Am going to settle in for a happy night of planning a trip for next summer.

allegretto Sun 23-Apr-17 20:07:15

Antigone - that comment made me laugh. I often go through Bologna station but have never had the pizza. Must try it!

MollyCule Sun 23-Apr-17 20:11:49

Sorry no advice but was thinking would love to do this with DD in a few years. Think it's a great idea smile

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 23-Apr-17 20:12:23

I did this a couple of times as a child with my parents (obv) and have extremely good memories of it. I don't remember being bored at all!

Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 20:49:59

I'm glad you all think it sounds fun/have good memories. We've bought a ticket which allows 7 days travel in one month. The kids tickets are free, but you do have to book and pay for reservations on some trains (e.g. eurostar is 30 quid per head). Our itinerary is;
London to Munich (about 10 hr journey in all).
Munich to Ljubljana (we're staying in Slovakia for a week. I've got an airbnb base booked)
Ljubljana to Budapest
Overnight train Budapest to Transylvania (staying for 5 days)
Transylvania to Bucharest.
Then flying home (would have loved another week to train it home, but would have been a push with work). All the city stops are relatively short 2-3 nights as I worry the kids will get bored in cities. Can't wait!! I've never been to Eastern Europe, so looking forward to exploring that side of the world. Budget wise I reckon we can do it all in for £5,000, which isn't bad for a 3 week family holiday for 5. Might end up being a bit more if we eat out a lot. Love to hear of any experiences of eastern Europe, things to see etc.

Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 20:51:11

Btw Anti, I'm impressed by your itinerary. You got a lot in.

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 22:19:08

Thank you Ifkip - yours sounds really good too.
Don't want to be pedantic - but surely Slovenia not Slovakia?

AntigoneJones Sun 23-Apr-17 22:19:49

You will keep us posted won't you?

Curlyshabtree Sun 23-Apr-17 22:24:23

I was wondering the same re: Slovakia/Slovenia
Sounds like a great plan and it's made me think about something similar with my dts! Thanks for the idea!

Ifkip Sun 23-Apr-17 22:52:27

Argh, yes I meant Slovenia. Slightly important when we get on the wring train!

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 23-Apr-17 23:27:36

Ohhh I love Budapest. Lived there for a couple of years in the 90s.

You are going to have such an amazing time.

AntigoneJones Mon 24-Apr-17 00:12:45

I must add though, it all sounds great when I write out the itinerary, but there were stressful times as well...
Son cut his leg quite badly in the sea in Ancona ..luckily I had a bottle of TCP in my bag and just poured it on...poor boy.
So a really good first aid kit is a must....I seemed to do a lot of risk assessment...once at Patra I had to choose whether to take them with me down a dark busy port road to get pitta gyros, or leave them to wait for me.
Sometimes even if they ate good snacks all day on the train they were still hungry..
Travel light - hard with kids - lugging a family tent with us nearly killed me...it got left in Greece with a lovely new friend we made..
You could get some nice scrapbook/sketch books and they could do a diary.

lottysmum Wed 26-Apr-17 22:30:49

We did a months travel a few years ago (group of 3 adults with 4 kids)... but found i cheaper not to Inter rail but to book tickets in advance and combine transport - where it was cheaper to fly we flew and where there wasnt a good train route we caught a ferry ...
We did London to Disneyland Paris (2 nights) - keep kids happy! £39pp
Paris to Venice - Overnight - super value with Thello (40 Euros pp) - book 4 months in adv)
We flew from Venice to Split because it was cheap £30pp
Split to Korcula (Ferry) £10
Korcula to Dubrovnik (Ferry) £12
Dubrovnik to Rome (Flight £30pp)
Rome down to Amalfi Coast - Train cant remember cost but around £30pp
Amalifi Coast to Milan - onto Italian Lakes Train £42 Business Class
Verona - Paris - Overnight train - 40 Euros pp
Paris to London - Eurostar £39

We stayed 3 nights in most places and finished with a week in Italian Lakes ...

Its a fun experience - loved the sleeper from Paris to Venice and would do it again even though we did not sleep well...

I hear that the overnight train from Budapest to Romania - Is pretty grim - so bear this in mind - I looked at this recently - I would go in the day !!!

We took holdalls with wheels which worked reasonably well - although the base can wear on these near the wheels ...

We spent about £280 on travel pp (hence why we didn't do railcards) and spent about £2300 (for 1 adult and 1 child) on accommodation/food and everything else - but we did visit and stay in places like Venice/Rome/Paris which eats into budgets...

You can get some really good rail tickets of Db Bahn when you travel over a weekend ...

We are in Romania later this year staying in Sibiu...

Ifkip Wed 26-Apr-17 23:17:56

That sounds amazing Lotty. You really did a lot. How old were the kids?
We've already bought the interrail tickets, sounds like it might have been better value to book the trains separately. Grrrr that's annoying.
I'll have to read some reviews about the Budapest to Bucharest overnighter. It's the only overnight train I've allowed for and we really wanted to do at least one.
We're stopping off in Brasov for 5 nights. Have you been to Romania before? I'm arranging a couple of tours for us, including Dracula's Castle, of course!

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