From planes, trains, and cars — which one do you pick? For those beginning to travel by themselves, the train can seem like a daunting option, as the heyday of the transcontinental railroad has faded in the public imagination.
Here’s some advice to shed light on the process — especially for those who like to know everything in advance.
- Trains Vs. Cars VS. Airplanes
Compared to taking a car, trains are well-suited for solo travel (no risk of drowsy driving) or traveling with large groups of people (no need to split into different cars). Trains are especially ideal for traveling to large cities where parking is limited.
Compared to flying, taking the train is great for any group size. Tickets are usually cheaper, and you can bring more luggage without extra charge.
- boarding the train
There is no assigned seating for Amtrak, so feel free to sit anywhere you’d like! I’d recommend the window seat to be able to see where you’re headed. Put your luggage overhead, by the larger open spaces near the doors, or by your feet.
- The ticket
Tickets can be bought online then printed, or you can download the Amtrak app where a digital ticket is stored. Amtrak employees check train tickets once passengers are seated and the train has departed, similar to a commuter rail or older subway systems.
It’s the best of both worlds! Amtrak gives the option to bring your own food (bringing a sandwich, snacks, and water are great options), or purchase food on the train (without making stops). If your line has a food car, there will be an announcement when it opens and when it closes, so make sure to purchase before they close. The food is decent but priced as expected, similar to in-flight prices. Trains like the Empire Line have hot dogs, pre-packed sandwiches, chips, and drinks.
Hop on board, and you’re now on your way: it’s as simple as that!
Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!