Author Topic: I spent a month traveling America with the USA Rail Pass!  (Read 4130 times)

AnotherEngineer

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Re: I spent a month traveling America with the USA Rail Pass!
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2024, 11:48:26 AM »

And hoping to have enough to pay for some 6-12 hour trips in the near future for the whole family. Thatís my goal for this year, a bike and/or backpacking Amtrak trip to a national park in our state for the 4 of us, paid with points.

That is awesome. I hope you can pull it off. 

The other wrinkle is that Amtrak is great for visiting cities and even small towns, but we are usually camping and collecting National Parks along the way which leans to driving, like our trip up to New England this summer. We are car camping, so while our minivan is not particularly efficient, it isn't near RV territory. On the flip side, we have camped and toured via plane and rental car before so there isn't a reason we couldn't swap train for plane.

Cranky

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Re: I spent a month traveling America with the USA Rail Pass!
« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2024, 11:25:22 AM »
This is super interesting I have never considered taking the Amtrak, but I have taken public transportation my entire life.

Will have to look into this further. How much space did you have to bring on luggage?

There is some sort of official limit but Iíve never had anyone question it. You do have to be able to haul it around. Better yet, you can bring your own food and drink and wine!

The trip we took last fall, dinner included a glass of wine which I donít remember being the case before.

I have met really interesting people on the train at meals - one time a guy who delivered yachts for a living, and last fall we sat with an Amish couple who had never heard of IKEA.

sonofsven

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Re: I spent a month traveling America with the USA Rail Pass!
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2024, 11:40:22 AM »
My DD in college has discovered Amtrak. Since she grew up rural she started driving at 16 and took her car with her to college.
Her car was damaged last summer, though, and I haven't fixed it yet. It's not worth the cost of repairs, and she only used it to drive to her preferred grocery store and visits home (3 hours) and trips with her friends up I-5 to the city for shows and such. Still, she was not happy to be without transportation.
Now she takes the train to a small station that's 45 minutes from me for trips home and for trips to the city.
She acknowledged that the train is less stressful than driving and she can read or play games while traveling.
So nice to see her move beyond what she grew up with and embrace new ideas.

Gerard

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Re: I spent a month traveling America with the USA Rail Pass!
« Reply #53 on: February 16, 2024, 01:59:22 PM »
I only recently learned about a really nice extra with Amtrak, which is their BidUp option. You buy a cheap coach seat way ahead of time, then close to departure, you bid on a higher class of service, within a range that they suggest. Depending on your day and route, this can be a remarkably small amount extra. My sweetie and I recently travelled from Houston to New Orleans ($90 for two coach seats), and for an $85 bid we got our own roomette, which gave us privacy, seats that converted to beds, and a lunch and dinner (and wine) in the fancy dining car. Would definitely do it again.

Google "amtrak bidup" for info and tips from people who travel more than I do.