I am deeply aware that traveling is a great privilege, especially now more than ever. Several countries had imposed travel restrictions resulting in tons of trips cancelled or postponed. Inevitably, people became frustrated. Imagine reorganizing your long awaited holiday or chasing down the travel agencies to get your money back. I, for one, still have pending refunds since February, but that’s another story.

Considering the fast evolving situation of the virus, travel restrictions can change in a heartbeat. That’s why, it was of utmost importance that I was extremely spontaneous with my travel plans. The best way to travel around Europe spontaneously and efficiently is by trains. Europe’s extensive train network is extraordinarily impressive. I used an Interrail pass (Eurail for non-EU residents/citizens) to maximize my train travels. Honestly, it’s the best thing there is when traveling around Europe on a reasonable budget and hassle-free. 

After months of worldwide lockdown, a beam of light sparked hope for avid travelers and optimistic holiday makers. Last July, most countries in Europe gradually opened their borders to travelers originating from select countries. Being a resident in France, I grabbed this opportunity to explore Europe on a strange new perspective… with a mask.

I had a one-month unlimited pass which means I could hop on any train that doesn’t require prior reservation. And, in case I miss a train, I can always hop on the next one or change my direction completely. The beauty of having an Interrail pass is having the flexibility to modify my plans without any repercussion. At some point of my European trip, my next destination was determined by the weather forecast. That was how spontaneous I could be!

In hindsight, traveling around Europe in the “new normal” was not as bad as I thought. For someone like me who values personal space, it worked to my advantage. Passengers are seated apart and trains are operating at a reduced capacity. I was actually ecstatic with this arrangement when I was travelling on the night trains in Norway because I could then have the entire row to myself and get some proper sleep.

For me, traveling in the new normal was a breeze overall. I easily adapted to the situation and left everything to the last minute. The only difference now is the mandatory wearing of masks, distancing and some entry restrictions as per Reopen EU.

So, if you are hesitant to travel around Europe, don’t be. It is easier than you imagined. As long as you follow the rules of travel, you will definitely have a good time!