Interrail tips: accommodation
Generally Information points at railway stations provide information on the supply of accommodation options, and they often have a booking service, as well.
There is a Hostel book publication presenting all hostels that are members of the International Hostel Organization (over 2500), as per city. A Hostel pass is needed to use these accommodation facilities. The Hostel book and passes are sold by the Finnish Hostel Organization, address Yrjönkatu 38 B, 00100 Helsinki, phone 09 5657 150, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Major cities also have a number of other independent accommodation options that are specified, e.g. in various travel guide publications.
As a further option, there are camping areas for outdoor fans. The areas are usually located far from city centres with often a rather complicated accessibility.
Select your accommodation in time
Hostels being very popular in Central Europe, they are often full booked, particularly in July-August and on weekends. It is therefore recommended that you book an accommodation a few days in advance, by phone or by e-mail. Or else you should come as early as possible in the morning, as the beds are distributed in the order of arrival of the clients.
Dormitories are usually the least expensive room alternative and they offer a great chance to meet new people. Should you wish to stay longer, please say so when registering, and you will possibly benefit from a discount.
If you arrive too late or you want to save the accommodation price, there are yet other alternatives. The railway stations of major cities may be somewhat restless but they are open all night. Remember to attend to your luggage! Airports are a bit calmer but often far away from city centres. In a park or a cemetery it may be nice and peaceful at night, but then again it is often prohibited to spend the night there. If you travel with friends, it is a good idea to lie down and sleep in a circle around the backpacks which are then better protected.
Sleeping on a train
Most Continental European rail cars are divided into 6 or 8 person compartments. Should your compartment not be too full, you can adjust two opposite seats to the downright position, and voilà your comfortable bed.
If you purchase a couchette ticket, note that the upper couchette is slightly more spaceous. A yellow ling running on the exterior flank of a car indicates that the car only has 1st class seats/berths. If the train crosses a national border at night, the train conductor probably collects the passports from the passengers to speed up the control.