My parents & siblings are constantly sharing stories about those road trips on our bus. You can even bring a bottle of water and your shampoo! For internet, we’re currently carrying a Verizon USB dongle that we subscribe to via Millenicom (which gives us 20 GM a month of data for $59.99 per month without contract – they are constantly changing their plans around, and you have to call and ask what provider each is on, as they can’t advertise it) and we use personal hotspot via one of our iPhones on AT&T (you get 4GB of data a month for $20, and then just $10/GB after that). 1. We were often better informed about route closures than Amtrak employees and did our best to stay a step ahead of the game. The experience was akin to camping except you’re locked inside and air conditioned. Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email or our free miles and points Facebook group with all the best travel news. For example, if we want to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles, with one overnight stop near Dallas, is that one segment or two or what? If you have a lot flexibility in your travel, or can pre-plan your trip at least a couple weeks in advance – it is entirely possible to not need to pay extra while riding on a pass. i’m only 24, not a millionaire yet! On one route, they actually canceled half of the dining because of a staffing shortage. Excellent information. Glad to get info on what you use for mobile connect as well in the US. I have traveled by train in Europe and southeast Asia and while most Americans poo poo train travel, as you and I know, it’s the bomb! It is a frustrating limitation, but can be planned around. There were also very limited vegetarian options. It’s our primary internet provider anyway, so it’s easy. When we made our reservation, we were encouraged to go ahead and also pick up a departing ticket out of Needles. Good hints! Copyright 2020 ACP Rail International, All Right Reserved. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. All of the hot meals were just pre-packaged microwave food, which weren’t overly tasty. I am a tourist traveling solo. Have tried calling local travel agents, but no one seems to be able to or want to touch it. 3. Amtrak is a privately held company, but its single shareholder is the US Government. Can you name this U.K. landmark? Technically, your travel must be completed by the end of your pass expiration – and Amtrak’s reservation system will enforce this. We did have one route that was running 2-hrs behind schedule, which just meant we missed the most scenic part of the route before sundown. WE took the two children and did the middle and east coast in 30 days. The RVing & Boating gear we love and use. They play such a valuable role in our travels. Judy and I were traveling cross-country in approximately the same time period a you folk were making your journeys. We are considering taking the train from Rhode Island to South Carolina. This had to be purchased outside of the US. Not having an outlet makes it harder. Hint: Bring an extension cord to turn one power outlet into multiple. I’ve rode Amtrak I think about twice in my lifetime. When redeeming AGR points for two people, long distance sleeper travel is a very good value, and we took advantage of this to book sleepers for almost our entire trip from Kissimmee, FL to San Jose, CA (the exception being an unreserved coach segment from Emeryville, CA to San Jose, CA). We’ve found they have excellent customer service. BTW, have you thought about riding the rail in Canada across the Rockies? Thanks again for sharing. If you’re contemplating more than a couple segments via Amtrak, it might be worth looking into at least a 15-day rail pass to save money and potentially open up new adventures. Sign up for our once-daily email with the latest tips and tricks on how to travel for free / cheap. I was really impressed with the detail and insight you provided, my wife and I are considering an extended rail trip next year. We booked travel on one zone in 2 bedrooms for 50,000 (25,000 each), then used another 50,000 to go back to Ohio. Also, coincidently, my Dad owned an old Flxble tour bus when we were young. The other sweet spot is traveling North-South. Mom kept them clean & cozy, and she would serve up a full course home cooked meal, while we played Monopoly, Uno, or just sing every song we new at the top of our lungs. Thanks Cherie for the very useful information. Many thanks for a great article. The two of you (and cat) have provided great posts that I have come to enjoy; like waiting for a favorite magazine to arrive you regularly provide quality information and inspiration. Our 'Ramblings' Series - tales with other nomads. Thank you so much for the heads up little story about traveling on the train. You are so right about the dining car. We loved that flexibility, and always were able to get to where we wanted. Do you suggest any Rail travel guide as we are both not very well informed of what to see and where to stop. We are self-funded and accept no sponsorships, advertising or guest posts. In addition, we were able to transfer Continental Airlines frequent flyer points into the AGR program at a 1 to 1 ratio (this feature may not last much longer as the frequent flyer programs of Continental and United are being merged and it is unclear which features will survive). All 6 of the trains we were on had power at every seat in every car. The one thing I don’t think is accurate is the power. If anything goes awry, there are usually no alternatives for Amtrak to offer. As we were frequently making last minute changes to our routing, we found that ticket price differences were small ($20-50) – which was cheaper than extending our stay in a location while waiting for a ‘free’ day. Earlier in the week, I wrote about our $6500 Amtrak trip that we are taking this summer as a family vacation. $6500 is just the “sucker’s” price :-D. I wanted to spend a bit more time looking at the Amtrak Zone Map, so we could talk a little about how that works and some ways to maximize it. but I don’t get how long they are for. Here’s a hint: Are you ready to start planning your first long tr. I was a little confused about the 30 day pass until I read your story. Hint: Use our Coverage? On the upside, a traveler is allowed 3 cubic yards of baggage, note that baggage loading and unloading was available only at stops that have baggage service. Aside from the route closures that we successfully routed around, we didn’t experience any major delays that impacted our travels. So, we bring our own.
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