Many people do not use Amtrak because they have never traveled long distances by train before. But the truth is that Amtrak trips are a great way to see many of the country’s most popular destinations, while also saving money on gas, traveling in comfort, and enjoying some amazing scenery.
Long-distance travel by train can be a great deal of fun. There are inherent benefits and perks to taking long trips. Amtrak is an affordable way to travel long distances in the US, putting you right in the heart of your destination. It’s a good option for those who prefer not to fly and want a less expensive alternative to flying domestically.
Amtrak offers various discounts on tickets depending on factors such as age, the number of seats booked, and the length of the trip. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips when deciding to take a long trip using Amtrak.
You’ll be delighted to have these, whether they’re for the communal bathroom and shower room or your en suite bathroom shower. Amtrak has long been known for having a sticky floor. You may have seen some travelers using flip-flops to help out with this problem.
Travelers that are comfortable wearing flip flops will find them especially useful on the train because of their lightweight. Many of the trains that Amtrak runs have floors that are dirty and can get very slippery where passengers walk by, so it’s best to have an extra pair on hand just in case.
Have Cash For Tips
Conventional eating has been phased out due to new dining processes that do not need the use of a traditional dining car. Tipping would be appropriate if someone prepared your packed meal for you. Breakfast is $2, lunch is $3, and supper is $5 per person.
Amtrak dining attendants are often assigned to your car and they provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You usually will not be charged for the meals but you should still tip them. If you feel that they have done a particularly good job, you can leave them a generous tip as well.
Bag For Overnight Stays
Only bring what you’ll need for your overnight trip here: toiletries, medications, clothing, computer/iPad, and so on. This is made much easier with packing cubes like these from Amazon Basics. No more rummaging through your suitcase looking for stuff.
For long Amtrak trips, it’s important to pack light and prepare for the unexpected. To avoid headaches and issues on your trip, make sure that you have all of the necessary items in your bag before leaving.
Yes, you should dress for the train. Bring at least two spare shirts for a two-night train excursion. Depending on the length of the journey, you may just need one additional pair of pants. Make sure anything you’re wearing is comfortable enough to sit in for lengthy periods of time.
In the winter, how about taking three Amtrak overnight trains from Montana to sunny Florida? In your overnight bag, remember to pack a change of summer clothing.
Be Careful With Contact Lenses
It is common knowledge that changing your contact lenses while on a train can be difficult, but changing them in a moving train is even more challenging. Because of the speed of the train, if you drop your lens in the toilet, then it will probably get flushed away.
If you need to take out or put in your contact lenses, do so at a station stop. While driving at 80 mph, avoid poking your eye. You can change or put in your contact lenses during the extended train stops.
Wash Up Before Bed
Plan ahead of time and do this during a station stop. It’s a lot less difficult than getting ready for bed while the train is moving. Also, do it before your bed is turned down by your attendant. If you need to use the public restrooms down the corridor or stairs, do so while the train is stopped.
One of the best things you can do before heading off to bed is to clean up your mess. This will help to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you wake up in the morning. It might seem as if it will take forever to do, but it will be worth it for a cleaner sleep and fewer headaches.
Long before COVID-19 arrived, I was washing off my Amtrak cabin. Wipe the tray table, doorknobs, and even the flip-over door lock and handle if you’re on an Amtrak sleeper. Wipe the toilet seats or use the paper covers, sink countertop, faucet knobs, and door locks in your private or shared bathroom.
Disinfectant wipes are the perfect way to sanitize your hands and bathrooms while you travel without having to pack too many heavy items. They are also great for cleaning up spills on a plane, bus, or train so they’re more environmentally friendly than paper towels as well.
Download Your Preferred Entertainment Options
On a moving Amtrak train, access to the internet isn’t always feasible. Besides, most long-distance trains no longer offer wifi. You’ll also be passing through a lot of “No Service” zones, so tethering to your mobile network won’t always be dependable or fast enough. Even if it was, you’d quickly exhaust your hotspot roaming allowance.
One way to make your long Amtrak trip more enjoyable is to download movies or TV shows that you want to watch while on the train. There are a variety of apps available for download and streaming, but you should also have some other options in case your internet connection drops out. You can also buy an external hard drive to store all of your digital entertainment on.
Plan Your Meal Times
Make sure your meal times don’t clash with long station stops. “Fresh Air Stops” will be announced by the conductor. These are longer station stops with adequate time to disembark and have a short walk outside. Pay close attention to your schedule.
Look to see if any long station pauses fall during your mealtime. Nothing irritates people more than receiving a hot lunch just before a long station halt.
Be Ready For Cold Conditions
Always have a sweater or light fleece on hand. You never know when the air conditioning will be blaring throughout the train. Temperatures differ between railway carriages and across geographical locations. It’s not enjoyable to be frozen. Keep a sweater on hand at all times.
One of the most important things to do is pack clothing for chilly temperatures. You don’t need to bring a winter coat, but you should have some long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as gloves. You should also bring a cap and scarf with you if the weather is especially chilly.
In the dining car, there is communal seating. Wait for the dining car staff to seat you at the entrance. Don’t just stroll in and sit down. Prepare to sit in a rearward position. Bring no backpacks or huge purses. There could not be much space between you and the person sitting next to you.
Amtrak offers a variety of options for your train-traveling dining experience. For example, if you want to enjoy the beauty of nature while eating, you can order breakfast and lunch on your tray table in the diner’s car. If you’re looking for more than just food, Amtrak also has an extensive list of weekly entertainment packages and even wine tastings.
Tips For Taking Lots Of Photos
Turn off the flash on your camera or smartphone. People are taking shots through the window with the camera flash on, which people notice. Photos are an excellent way to share your cross-country adventure with friends and family and to spread the news.
Taking photos during an Amtrak trip is a great way to remember your experience as well as taking trips for others. There are many tips and tricks that will help you take amazing pictures on your trip, including using the camera’s built-in timer and different lenses.
Passengers on sleeping cars can order room service. It’s also complimentary! Simply inquire with your room’s attendant. He or she will bring your dinner to you straight from the galley. Try to include everything you want in your order so your attendant doesn’t have to rush back and forth.
Working on a long Amtrak trip can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to make it more bearable. One of the best ways to do this is to order room service. You can use this as an opportunity to relax and watch TV or movies. There is no need for you to worry about what your fellow passengers are up to.
Observation Car Etiquette
Seats aboard the Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle observation cars are first come, first served. Coach passengers will occasionally attempt to spend the day in the Observation car…but this is not the place to bring a cushion and sleep.
Loiterers will be asked to return to their seats by the conductor. Similarly, because seats are limited, make cautious not to linger too long and allow others to enjoy this unique view of the globe.
Taking A Shower
Sleeping cars have a shared shower at the end of the car and are kept in excellent condition. The deluxe rooms have an en suite bathroom with a toilet and a shower unit. Soap and towels are provided. Hairdryers and flat irons are no longer compatible with the electric plugs in compartments.
It is really important to take a bath on long Amtrak trips. Long-distance Amtrak trips require long hours and one will not want to smell. Taking a bath on Amtrak can help you feel refreshed and it also makes you feel more comfortable.
Keeping Your Battery Charged
Every room has an electric outlet, so you can keep your phone and other electronic devices charged. Keeping your battery charged before getting started is very important for long Amtrak trips. You’ll have to charge your battery before leaving and when you arrive. This can be done by using the outlets that are located at every seat or by plugging in your own device with a compatible power adapter.
When you’re taking an Amtrak trip, your phone battery will die. Before you start worrying about how to keep your battery charged, consider buying a mobile battery pack and using it during your trip. This will ensure that you’re never far from a power outlet, even when you are on the train.
You are welcome to bring your own alcohol to have a beverage before dinner in the privacy of your room. Simply request an iced cup from your room attendant. Alternatively, the café vehicle sells beer, wine, and spirits. You are not permitted to bring your own alcohol inside the dining car, but you are permitted to order it.
It is no secret that when you are traveling by train, you are likely to encounter the occasional alcoholic beverage. Amtrak provides a limited selection of beverages on the trains in order to avoid the sale or consumption of such items. It is especially important to check the restrictions before purchasing alcoholic beverages from vendors along your trip.
Enjoy The Long Train Stops
What were once referred to as “cigarette pauses” are now referred to as “fresh air breaks.” Walking the length of the train is a good way to get some exercise. A railway car is around 35 steps long for me.
If an Amtrak sleeper train has ten cars (excluding the engine and luggage car), I can walk around 1500 steps in a ten to fifteen minute stop (dodging other passengers and smokers slows you down). Prepare to detrain as soon as leaving passengers have stepped outside to make the most of your Fresh Air Break.
Plan For Delays
You should expect unexpected delays on longer, cross-country itineraries since Amtrak trains share the tracks with huge freight trains (which have priority). For example, if you’re traveling from Chicago to Denver on the California Zephyr, your train may be forced to come to a halt just before the Moffat Tunnel to enable a freight train to pass. It’s all about the trip, so be patient.
As a result, you should prepare for delays before your trip. But how can you prepare? Well, by making sure to pack the following: clothes that can be worn in a variety of situations, extra food, a travel pillow, and earplugs, and check the weather forecast.
Get The Amtrak App
Do you want to make your trip more efficient? Install the Amtrak app on your phone, which is compatible with iPhone, Android, and Windows devices. It’s a useful app for checking the status of your train, finding a station at a given location, and presenting your rail ticket. You’ll never be concerned about missing critical information again.
Increasingly, people are relying on Amtrak to get where they need to go. The Amtrak app provides a variety of convenient services including schedules and reservations to keep you from getting lost or running late.
Know Your Stops
The train will stop at several stations along your journey. It’s crucial to understand which stops are for rest stops and which are for passengers to be dropped off and picked up.
It’s important to know if a certain station is a designated rest stop where you’re permitted to get off if you want to stretch your legs or smoke (smoking is prohibited onboard the train). This is a guideline that Amtrak carefully follows. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, either.
Amtrak is the leading railroad in North America, providing more than 300 trains daily and transporting 2.2 million passengers annually. It’s efficient and easy to use. It is easy to get around the country using Amtrak’s many routes and schedules. One of the best perks is that it is a great way to avoid traffic on our country’s clogged highways.
Taking a train trip will be a memorable experience. To properly appreciate it, you should sit back, relax, have an open mind, and take in all the sights. Once you’ve boarded, sit back, relax, and look forward to the adventure ahead.