Amtrak Train Alviso Marina County Park California

Traveling America Doesn’t Cost a Pretty Penny, If You Do It by Train

Amtrak is getting a shot in the arm as more people go on a cross-country trip aboard its coaches. The renewed interest in Amtrak, and train travel for that matter, was augmented by several articles in the media this year, which highlighted that people can travel coast-to-coast for just $213.

At the heart of this media attention is travel blogger Derek Low, whose detailed train journey went viral on social media websites early this year. Low traveled to 11 states in 4 days on train, which translates to some 3,397 miles across America. He is now helping readers and tourists to do the same.

Low said he paid $429 for a 15-day Amtrak rail pass, which covers eight rides. According to Thrillist, however, it is still possible to complete the trip he took for just $186 when you opt for California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited tickets.

Amtrak train railroad in Greensboro
Amtrak train plying the Greensboro route. PHOTOGRAPH BY ERICH FABRICIUS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Planning Your Trip

Amtrak has published several helpful guides on its website for long-term travellers like Low. The tech savvy bunch among them can track where their train is through the Amtrak train location map, which is also available on the Amtrak website. Passengers can basically choose from four major routes: Coast Starlight (Los Angeles-Seattle), Southwest Chief (Chicago-Los Angeles), California Zephyr (Chicago-San Francisco) and Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington D.C.).

As for Amtrak train prices, the minimum one-way fare is $28 (i.e. Washington D.C. to Richmond)  while the most expensive is $155 (Miami to New York). Ticket discounts await military personnel, senior citizens, kids and students. The Amtrak ticket reservations phone number is 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

Amtrak Train Standard Coach
What standard coaches on Amtrak look like. PHOTOGRAPH BY PRAYITNO PHOTOGRAPHY / FLICKER

Curious about how the coaches look like? Here’s an inside tour of the train, according to some YouTube content creators:

The Elevator Channel

Joe and Julie of A Cappella Productions provides a detailed demo of the features of Amtrak’s Roomette. Viewers get to see every nook and cranny inside the sleeping coach, from the capsule shower to where the outlets, knobs and wall hooks are located.

Peter von Panda

Peter von Panda reviews Amtrak’s Business Class coach, and demonstrates how to make your trip more comfortable by maximizing the coach’s features. Von Panda is a popular YouTube personality who reviews various kinds of products, from 7 Eleven’s Slurpee to watches, and surprisingly, even Louis Vuitton purses.

Kelly Ferro

Travel journalist, host and segment producer Kelly Ferro takes you on a trip aboard Amtrak in a series of videos posted on her channel. Ferro gives viewers a peak of the different sections of the train, the delectable dishes served at the dining hall, as well as the hotels where she stayed at during her stopovers.

Ready to begin your trip? You can book a hassle-free trip through Derek Low’s blog, or do it on your own, thanks to valuable information from Amtrak’s website. Amtrak also runs excursions, such as the recently concluded Amtrak Autumn Express, which it resumed last October 14. You can check current tours here.

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Sandy Miguel


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