Train Travel

Enjoyable and Affordable Train Travel

Have you always wanted to explore the great sights that America has to offer? If so, you may not have considered train travel, but traveling by train is perhaps the best way possible to really explore America. Train travel can allow you to explore at your own pace and at an affordable rate. When traveling by train you can actually see what it is you're passing through. By car you must focus on driving and you'll end up missing some great sights. By plane you can see the outline of things, but you also miss a great deal below the clouds.

Train travel can be a wonderful vacation unto itself. Accomodations onboard trains can be quite nice, especially if you look into renting out one of the roomettes or other sleeping cars. Definitely check into this if you are traveling with another person, as accomodations run the same whether it is for one or more people. If you rent out a room, you also receive meals throughout the day. The privacy of a room just for you or your family is also a great relief. Rooms aboard the train can also be a great way to save money over having to rent out a room just for a night in town somewhere.

If you have never traveled by train, there are some common themes that you can expect aboard all Amtrak trains. Most Amtrak trains are going to have a central lounge car. The lounge car is a great place to hang out and meet fellow travelers. You can also find a wide variety of snacks offered in the lounge car. If you are traveling aboard a Superliner, you'll find that the lounge car has panoramic windows that let you take in the scenery at its best.

Long distance trains will also have a dining car that is like any decent sit down restaurant. Tables are set up to face out at the scenery, so you'll have a great view while you eat. Announcements are made for dinner throughout the evening, so be sure to pay attention to these. Reservations are typically only required for the dinner service. Breakfast and lunch are generally served at traditional hours and available whenever you can make it during those hours.

As for entertainment during the ride, many trains will show movies or provide other diversions in the evening. If your train travel involves a scenic route such as the Grand Canyon or Rocky Mountains, there may be a park ranger onboard to give a talk about the parks as you pass through them.

If you want to really go all out for your train travel, consider taking the first class accomodations. Among other amenities, first class offers meals in the dining car, as well as the newspaper and coffee in the morning. To get the best possible source of information about train travel, be sure to pick up the Amtrak America - Your Travel Guide to Amtrak Routes and Services brochure. The brochur is 60 pages long and includes a wealth of information. You can find full diagrams of all the trains, price points, and all available route information in the brochure.

The brochure is definitely the definitive authority on Amtrak train travel.

Most importantly, plan ahead for your train travel. If you attempt to simply buy a ticket the day of departure, there may be none available, or worse yet, you could end up standing for most of the trip if you buy coach tickets at the last minute. It pays to plan a little ahead for train travel. At the same time, stay on the lookout for last minute deals that may become available. Ask your conductor if any rooms have come up with discounts. Amtrak may offer big discounts on rooms if the ticket holders backed out at the last minute.