Ever wanted to go on a trip where you can relax, not plan anything, and experience scenery that is unseen from anywhere else? Good news, I have the perfect solution for you.
Taking an Amtrak train might not seem like the most glamorous option for a trip, but it offers a unique and relaxing experience that you don’t get with other forms of travel. Travel by train also offers stunning views of parts of the country that you’ll never see by car or train. Americans are wired to hustle all the time, limit days off, and constantly go-go-go from one activity to the next. It is ingrained in Americans that you work hard and attempt to play hard. That is why I believe that taking a long Amtrak train ride is perfect because you are quite literally forced to sit down and enjoy the ride
My first train ride was from Lafayette, Indiana to Martinez, California and it took about 2.5 days. This trip was my 18th birthday present, so my grandma had rented us a sleeper car. The sleeper car had two seats, which then folded up into one bed, then there was also another towards the ceiling of the car. It was basically set up like a bunk bed. Another amazing feature of the sleeper cars was that we could eat in the dining car for no additional cost. This was one of my favorite parts because pre-covid (2018), they would sit you with other passengers on the train to fill up the tables. The passengers I had the pleasure to meet were from all over the world; Louisiana, England, Utah. I even met my best friend’s boyfriend’s uncle! What are the odds of that? Even if you are traveling without a sleeper car, I still recommend this trip.
Another amazing feature of my train ride was that when we got to the Rockies in Colorado, the conductor told us that we were seeing scenery and views that are unreachable to anyone else. Parts of the train tracks were in areas where it was nothing but nature and train tracks: no roads, no parks full of hikers, and no homes. I remember waking up from a nap and seeing the snowy mountain view and saying to my grandma “Wow…I thought I woke up in Heaven.”
I realize being on a train for 50+hours is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is something you are even remotely interested in, I highly recommend checking this trip out!
The price for a sleeper car is most definitely more expensive then getting a basic coach seat; however, the extra comfort makes it worth it. I just looked up their current price for a roomette and it is $560 for one person, but $781 for two people. I realize that it is quite expensive, I could not afford that at this time, but I know when I have more income, I would like to do this trip again. I also want to add that if you travel in a coach seat, a ticket is only $139, which is very affordable for a cross country trek.
You get a private room so you are not close to other guests, there are private bathrooms and showers, complimentary meals on board, access to private lounges in union stations, and turn down services (pre-covid).
In general the train makes many stops. However, a lot of stops are quick stops (under 5 minutes) because they are picking people up at many different train stations. However, there are a few stops that are longer where you can get out and walk around the station. The longest one I remember was in Denver and it was 30/45 minutes, so I stepped out and walked around. for awhile.
Another cool thing about the train was that there was an observation car that had booths to sit in, spinny chairs, and huge glass windows. This was definitely an amazing place to enjoy the views!