7 Tips for Amtrak Train Travelers First Timers

Train Travel

Do you want to make a pre-departure checklist?

Preparing for your trip is probably the most stressful part of traveling. It’s worth planning and organizing things while you are still at home so you can have a pleasant train ride. Imagine spending 36 hours on a Amtrak Train Travelers ride without planning ahead. We don’t think so.

  • Identification – Your passport or photo ID.
  • Train Tickets – Be sure to have your eTicket or printed ticket with you.
  • Get travel insurance to protect yourself from unanticipated misfortunes.
  • Medications Take your medication along, especially if it’s going to be required while you travel. You must ensure that you have the ability to administer the medication and keep it in your carry-on.
  • Personal Care Items – Soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, lotion, hand sanitizer, and more.
  • Other Essentials for Travel – What’s your list of travel essentials? You’ll be entertained by the beautiful scenery, but you will need to have some things to distract you. You can bring along audiobooks, books, audiobooks, a tablet or deck of cards as well as noise-canceling headphones, good music playlists and binoculars. A camera to capture the landscapes around you is also a great option.
  • Comfortable Travel – Comfort is the key to your travels, whether you’re traveling in coach or your private sleeping car. Even the most experienced traveler can be exhausted by long train rides. You can choose from a pillow, eye mask and earplugs or slippers for your mid-night bathroom trip.

You can bring your own snacks and alcoholic beverages

You can bring your own food or beverages aboard the train. This is particularly important for those with special dietary requirements or restrictions. These can be consumed at your seat in your Sleeping Car accommodation, or in the Sightseer Lounges. You can bring your own alcohol onboard, provided you follow the train’s guidelines. You can only enjoy your private stock from the comfort of your Sleeping Car accommodations. It is strongly recommended that you bring your own water.

If you’re not checking it, only pack what you can carry

You will likely be the one carrying your luggage down narrow aisles and up steep steps when you travel by rail. Only bring what you can transport yourself. You’ll be glad you didn’t bring another pair of shoes for every day of your trip if you have to change trains quickly, even if they happen in the middle of the evening. You can only bring two bags per person in your carry-on luggage. For assistance, Amtrak’s Red Cap service can be accessed at selected stations.

Early to Rise, early to Bed

Get up early and avoid staying up late. This will ensure that you are ready to go on your adventure once you arrive. It will also increase the number of sights you see aboard during daylight hours.

Comfortable clothing is essential

Comfortable clothing and warm socks are essential for a pleasant experience on long-distance trips. Even though you aren’t seated near the doors connecting the cars, it is not uncommon for the train cars to get cold. Many people like to lounge around in their pajamas once they get onboard. You don’t need to worry about how you look when you travel by train. The goal is to enjoy the journey and not impress other travelers.

Be prepared for delays on trains

Amtrak trains are often on the same tracks as large freight trains, which get priority. This means that you need to be prepared for delays along longer, cross-country routes. If you take the California Zephyr, from Chicago to Denver to get a freight train, the train might have to stop just before the Moffat Tunnel in order to let the freight train pass. It’s all about your journey.

Station stops are not all created equal

The train will stop at different stations throughout your journey. It is important to know which stops are intended for passengers dropping off or picking them up. It’s important to understand if a stop is designated as a rest stop, so you can get off if you wish to stretch your legs or smoke (there’s no smoking aboard the train). This rule is strictly enforced by Amtrak. It is also not a good idea to be left behind in the middle.

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