What to wear on an interrail

Ok, before I get started I have two confessions:

1. I have not technically ever been on an interrail. What I mean is last summer I spent three weeks travelling in five countries but I never purchased an interrail pass, just because half of my trip took place in Germany where Meinfernbus takes you pretty much everywhere for pennies; (I just realised pennies are really small money so you’d probably have to have like two hands full of pennies, but yeah. It’s dirt cheap.) and because the other half of my trip took place in the Baltics, where you can’t get interrail trains. However, I go around saying I did an interrail trip because I suppose it counts? Guys? Right?

2. I should never say definitely, but you should definitely not follow my example on how to dress for an interrail. So maybe take this post (mostly) as don’ts than dos?

If you’re going for the maxi dress, get one that isn’t so long it gets tangled in your feet in Berlin, Germany

So I wouldn’t call myself a fashionista, but I do occasionally get some nice words from some nice ladies (and gentlemen) concerning the rags I’ve decided to throw on that day. I like to play dress-up – that is, I like to look what I think is good, and I think a big part of my joy for travelling would get drowned in uncomfortableness (wait, is that even a word) if I wore clothes that weren’t my style. One of my favourite (travel) bloggers Brenna says it well: ‘– bring clothes you would wear at home. I only wear skirts and dresses at home, so why would I suddenly wear trousers on a trip?’ Actually, you might want to check her writing on travel attire here. So, the things I wear might not always look or feel the most comfortable. I know I’m just learning the how to – hopefully you can learn something from me.

Bring clothes that you can wear all over, and over, and over, and over again.
I had way too many clothes with me on the three-week leg, despite having brought some extra ones home just before it. I though I had stripped to bare essentials, but instead I ended up pushing certain rags to the furthest back of the backpack and wearing the same 5 to 6 pieces of clothing time and again. However, I could mix and max and play with them a bit, so I didn’t get bored with what I had.

Leather skirt in Cologne, Germany…
…and leather skirt in Nuremberg, Germany!

While we’re at it, bring clothes that are new for you.
And no, don’t go and burn your last paycheck on the most chic trends just because I mentioned the word new – use the money on something useful, like chocolate or cats! Ahem, I mean travel. Travel. But when I say new, I don’t mean new new, I mean new for you. I love second-hand and flea market shopping, and you can get away with a bag full of clothes for five euros (true story). If you wear something you haven’t worn before, the novelty will keep them feeling fresh for the trip and you will want to wear the same clothes day in and out (and sometimes even sleep in them… just sayin’). However, maybe baby pick something you’re relatively sure you’ll be comfortable in. The best first time to wear a flowy mini dress is not in windy Riga.

Note the desperate clinging to the hem in Riga, Latvia

Plus, your clothes might or might not get worn, torn, and ruined, and that barely is a fate you wish for that preppy little summer dress you would marry if it was legal.

If you want to wear a tight mini-dress, wear a tight mini-dress in Hamburg, Germany

Take only what you need.
Show yourself, take only what you neeeeeeeeed from me… Anyway, do you really need twelve dresses and ten tops for a two-week adventure? Never ever take maybe-items. Be sure of what you want with you, and if you have a small backpack that will act as a natural restraint. I’m currently seeking a replacement for my trusted Rosie, since even though we’ve had awesome adventures together, she eats stuff like a starving wolf. In short, you probably don’t need a 65 litre backpack for three weeks in Europe. Or maybe you do. If you’re Lady Gaga. Or me.

Double denim in Bremen, Germany

Shoes! Shoes are very important. Shoes are pretty.
However, you won’t need them heels that could kill puppies if you happened to step on one, unless you really want to go to them kind of night clubs, and that is probably not where other backpackers are going. You will be fine in ballet flats slash sneakers in most places, however, flip flops and sandals are mostly a nopeti-nopey-no because jeez, have some class. Also broken glass is not a nice toe ornament.
Then there’s the city touring to consider. Obviously runners are the best for your feet, but I think you can get by with sneakers as well, especially if you’re planning city sports (picture snapping, sightseeing, cashburning) over, you know, sport sports. I got a great pair of rubber boots from Primark for the autumn and ended up wearing them all. the. time. However, they started chafing by Hamburg which is where I temporarily ran out of  long socks, plus they smell. Like I mean really, really smell. (I still love them, though.)

When they said ‘find what you love and let it kill you’ they meant shoes in Bremen, Germany

So what did I actually like wearing? Shorts, skirts and dresses, as I usually do, mostly. I had my jeans with me but I only wore them on one or two days if it was chilly. I had a jacket that I wore on rainy/chilly days, and a denim shirt with transparent sleeves which was warmer than just a top but not too much. Also, if you’ve got a bit of extra on your budget, shopping is allowed! There were some really cool second-hand shops on my route – like Colours in Berlin – or you can find your way to the central shopping street.

Maxi skirts making me look like a fat mermaid since Vilnius, Lithuania

In Europe you mostly don’t have to worry about cultural appropriations unlike when you travel to Asia, for example, so anything goes, really. However, that doesn’t still mean that bikini on the street is cool, and you have to be respectful to churches, which often wish you’d cover up your shoulders and knees. I guess my best bit of advice would be to just get comfy (yes this is coming from the girl who wore a tight mini dress for half of the trip), and if there’s something absolutely useless you don’t feel like carrying around anymore, ditch it, donate it for a charity shop, or give it to another traveller. If you have any other tips for interrail outfitting, share that in the comments!

In case all else fails, resort to looking like a regular hobo in Tallinn, Estonia
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2 thoughts on “What to wear on an interrail

  1. I'm training around Europe in January/February next year and I've got the eternal dilemma of backpack or suitcase and I was wondering if you had any advice? Since I'll be wearing 10,000 layers I'm thinking a backpack is going to get too heavy and I'm a cheap uni student so buying one seems kinda annoying when I already have a suitcase. Buuuut a backpack might be easier. Love your blog by the way 🙂

  2. Hi Zoe! Personally I prefer a backpack but that's mostly because of the way I travel. I don't think there's much difference between taking a suitcase and a backpack, besides if you are staying in one place for a longer time suitcase might fit in more stuff plus you don't have to worry about lugging it around. So if you've already got a suitcase I'd say stick to it, unless you plan on doing some hiking with it 😀 There's plenty of backpackers out there who travel with a suitcase. Thanks for the follow by the way, hope you stick around!

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