There’s countless apps out there designed to make travelling easier and more enjoyable, whether it’s helping you find your way around, plan your trip more effectively, or just to pass the time. When it comes to interrailing, there are a few apps that can really help to make the experience better. Here, we’ll look at the best apps for interrailing that you need to put on your device before you board your first train!
The Rail Planner is the official app from the Interrail company, and should be loaded on the phone of any self respecting interrailer. The app makes it easy to check train times across the whole of Europe, meaning you don’t have to switch apps each time you change country.
There are a few nice bonuses, too. When I went travelling in summer 2015, in some cities it was unclear what modes of transport were actually covered by the Interrail ticket, for example local busses or metro systems. Fortunately, the Rail Planner app includes details of all the extras that are available in each country, so you can be sure you won’t get in trouble for not buying the correct ticket!
Find out more about the app here.
Chances are, you already use Google Maps to navigate back home. The app has recently been updated with support for offline maps, making it infinitely more useful when you’re abroad with no data roaming.
The new offline maps feature is easy to use, allowing you to zoom into just the area you want to download to your device, saving storage space on your device. You can then delete maps for individual cities after you’ve left, freeing up space.
The only downside is turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to look up specific landmarks or businesses is not possible without mobile data or Wifi, however you’ll still be able to track your location and direction on the app’s top down view using GPS, which doesn’t use your data allowance to function.
A word of warning – be sure you’re connected to Wifi before downloading any maps because they can be quite large. The safest thing to do is to turn off mobile data before you arrive.
Get Google Maps on iOS or Android.
Booking.com has a great app that’s especially useful for iPhone users, with full Passbook integration. This feature allows you to keep cards in your Passbook app for each of the hostels or hotels you’re staying at, complete with the address, check-in date and total price.
This integration makes it easy to find the key details for your stay without needing to logon to an internet hotspot.
On top of this, any time you make a booking through booking.com, you’re able to download a travel guide for the area onto your device, highlighting some of the popular tourist attractions. This is ideal if you’ve not have had a chance to research the places you’re heading, or if you’re winging it.
Finally, the app also offers offline maps, though not as fully featured as Google’s offering. All-in-all however, it’s a nice package that fulfils most of the essentials you’ll need when travelling across Europe!
Get the app here.
Local Metro Apps
While the Rail Planner app is great for mainline trains, it’s not so handy for transport around a city, where you’ll need details about underground lines, suburban trains and bus routes. Fortunately, the majority of major cities across Europe have apps to cater for this, making it easy to get around in the few days you’ll be spending in each location.
While you’ll need to find your own app depending on which cities you’ll be visiting, the features are mostly the same, including route maps and travel planners. Be sure to look out for officially licensed apps to avoid having to fork out for in-app purchases!
While you’ll be experience new cultures, meeting new people and exploring unique cities across Europe, you’ll also spend a lot of time waiting around. As you’ll have a lot of time to kill on your Interrailing adventure, you’ll need something to occupy you when you’re waiting for the train, chilling at the hostel, and especially on the long train rides.
Train routes connecting Europe’s major cities can take several hours, with one of the longest being the Vienna to Zurich RailJet at 8 hours, or the Berlin to Warsaw Express clocking in at 5 hours 24 minutes.
Typical mobile games like Angry Birds and Candy
Crush can get boring very quickly, but fortunately there are a few great console games that have been adapted for mobile, including GTA San Andreas, Knights of the Old Republic, and even Final Fantasy VII, offering the same high standard of gaming on your iPhone as you’re used to at home.
Using apps while travelling can really take a toll on your device’s battery life, so it’s a good idea to bring a portable power pack.
Many cheaper portable chargers only allow you to charge your phone once, so it’s worth spending extra on a high capacity one. On my last trip, I brought a high capacity Anker 20000mAh charger, which is good for seven recharges of my iPhone, and a necessity if you’re looking to bring an iPad along for the ride, which requires more juice.
Get yours from Amazon.