Fueled by retirement and a spirit of adventure, people over 50 are discovering interrailing – iNews | Dauktion

“All these people who spend their train journey sleeping. They don’t know what they’re missing!” David Cooper chronicled his first interrailing adventure on Twitter, celebrating his 60th birthdayth birthday in Strasbourg. Trains were an important part of David’s life – he worked in the railway industry for almost 40 years but he had never Interrailed.

In 26 days this August, he visited eight countries, took 36 trains and covered 3,437 miles. In spring he had the 50 percent quick sale for his 50th birthdayth Anniversary of the Interrail Pass which – according to Mark Smith of rail planning website Seat61.com – “has boosted sales well beyond the sales period”. Smith has received “noticeably more Interrail requests compared to previous years” this year and says it now appeals to all age groups as “the older ones are more likely to go first class”.

David Cooper planned his trip “around some of the most scenic routes – the [Unesco-listed] Albulabahn to St. Moritz as a highlight.” He is now fired up and planning his next trip in December on the Reunification Expressfrom South to North Vietnam.

Interrailing is no longer the domain of student backpackers (although a DiscoverEU initiative is currently inviting applications from 18-year-olds for free 30-day passes). In 2010, the senior pricing structure was introduced, offering a 10 percent discount for those over 60, whet the appetite of Silver Railers. Retirement, flexibility and a thirst for adventure, especially post-pandemic, has led older people to embrace the Interrail pass. One Facebook group, Interrailing for the Older Crowd, has more than 5,000 members. The sustainability and ease of rail travel without the queues and security restrictions of flights is also a major benefit.

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Coral Musgrave, 63, and her husband Phil, 67, are in the middle of a three-month Interrail trip. As professional house and pet sitters, they were able to do this as part of their Housesitting in Stuttgart trip. They love the flexibility of Interrailing. “If you don’t like the weather, you just change your plans,” says Coral. “When it got colder we went south to Genoa and last week we took the night train to Sicily. For us, it’s not a grand tour of train stations and capitals; It’s the food, the wine, the history and good accommodation within our budget. Package holidays can be cheaper, but they’re not as fun.” Coral’s top advice is to try to book accommodation close to a station and “never make a decision on a full bladder, an empty stomach or tiredness”.

Coral and Phil Musgrave in Genoa

Having never really travelled, a difficult year for Millie Glaves, 56, prompted her to book an Interrail pass. “I went into semi-retirement this year. I lost my father and mother-in-law in quick succession and had a health scare.” Her husband had just started a new job, so Millie took the plunge and traveled solo for three weeks in September; Her husband accompanies her to Prague for the last week. “I loved it,” she says. When arriving in a new city, Millie took advantage of free tours that you pay a tip for at the end. This allowed her to quickly identify the places she wanted to return to during her stay and found this to be a good opportunity to connect with others.

Finding hotels rather soulless, she stayed in Airbnbs and alternated her city visits with trips to forests or parklands to balance it out. One of the highlights was swimming in Lake Zurich. She laughs at the memory of how she arrived in Vienna at 4 p.m. and left the next morning at 9 a.m., but took the opportunity to go to the opera and found herself the only one in traveling clothes. “I thought, dammit, I’m here.”

Far from exhausted after visiting nine countries in a month, Millie says she could have kept going. “It was a new appreciation for train travel – being able to get anywhere from the UK. I enjoyed the days of travel on the train just as much as the sightseeing. Having this freedom of not having to compromise is liberating and I loved meeting and interacting with younger people.”

Caption: Flick Slater-Holroyd in Lübeck

Flick Slater-Holroyd, 61, is in the middle of a two-month Interrail trip, enjoying a cheap dinner in Poland before moving on to Berlin. “The great thing about being a retired, senior Interrailer is that I have the time to travel as fast or as slow as I want. I probably would have been too nervous to do that in my twenties. I enjoy the night trains and choose the cheaper options – couchette cars instead of sleeping beds. I usually get the top bed, which makes me feel like a kid again.

“The other bonus is that my kids think I’m a very cool mom. Plus it’s so much more convenient and eco-friendly than taking a plane.”

One of those who used the Interrail pass when it was introduced in 1972 was Mick Kent. As a present to himself for his 70th birthdayth Birthday in December, Mick is currently undertaking a repeat trip for three months through Central and Eastern Europe. “I’m going through a divorce; You have to do things when you can. You never know what’s around the corner.” Hoping to volunteer at a soup kitchen on the Polish-Hungarian border with Ukraine, he ends his trip in Strasbourg to Europe’s oldest Christmas market, dating back to 1570.

Mick Kent in Wroclaw, Poland

He’s found smart technology, using apps to plan routes and book seats, along with online groups sharing tips, to be invaluable. Mick’s advice to anyone considering “doing it. Don’t plan too far ahead; keep some flexibility in your ideas depending on who you meet and what you learn along the way. Travel really broadens horizons and what a great opportunity to experience the vitality, energy and friendliness of our European neighbors post lockdown.”

It’s clear that the older generation has a huge appetite for travel, some visit places they’ve been before, but many are traveling extensively for the first time and Interrailing is proving to be the perfect ticket.

Visit interrail.eu/en for more information

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