Here’s How To See The Entire United States For Under $200
Do you dream of seeing the entire U.S.? Well, with a $193 train ticket that lets you travel from coast to coast, you’re running out of excuses not to. Whether you worry about steep airline fare or you can’t stomach the idea of being trapped behind the wheel of your VW bug, you’re in for a treat with Amtrak.
Here’s what you can expect from a train journey across the United States:
Observation lounge car
The windows wrap from floor to ceiling, allowing you to have panoramic views during your travels.
Insanely incredible views
From the first leg of your journey where the train is a mere foot from the Pacific Ocean, to the views of the red rocks of the American Wild West, all the way to New York City’s iconic Penn Station, your eyes will feast on the diverse beauties of the United States.
Bereau of Land Management/flickr
Meet interesting people
Whether you’re seated together at dinner or taking in the views together, there are always opportunities to have conversations with people from all over. (But if you’d like some me-time, you always have the option to put those headphones on — the international symbol of “do not disturb.”)
Take time slow
Train travel is a time to breathe and recollect. You’ll be separated from many of the cares of life and given the gift of time. It’s yours to fill (or not fill) as you please.
How To Plan Your Train Trip
Use the Amtrak websites to view routes and plan your trip. You can either use their trip planner or just fill in your first and last stop to have them build the trip for you.
If you plan to make stopovers, you’ll need to buy separate train tickets for each leg of the journey. You should note: taking stopovers does increase the cost of your train ticket, however, it’s worth it to get out and experience the cities you’re driving through. It would be shame to ride through cities like Salt Lake and Chicago without actually experiencing them.
How to buy tickets
The Amtrak website makes planning your trip and purchasing your tickets simple.
The trains are outfitted with dining cars which means you don’t have to stop your journey to eat (like you would if you were driving), it’s integrated right in. If you want an idea of what to expect from your Amtrak dining experience, read this article.
Something to note:
-On the train, seating in the dining car is limited. This means you may be seated with strangers for dinner — which could lead to at best a meeting of kismet and at worst an interesting story to tell during your next meal.
While sleeper cabins don’t have much more than a bed, they do allow you to lay flat and have privacy while you sleep.
Alternately, you can also sleep in the passenger seats. While they don’t go entirely horizontal, they are reclinable and are more spacious than the average economy airplane seat.
Included in your ticket is the cost of two personal items (14x11x7 and up to 25 lb) and two carry-on items (28x22x14 up to 50 lb). You can also check two bags free of charge (up to 50 lb and 75 linear inches each). Each passenger may check an extra two pieces of baggage for $20 per bag.
We recommend using the NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag and NOMATIC 30L Travel Bag for train travel. Their size and build fit perfectly in train compartments and the excellent organization system ensures you keep everything tidy and accessible in your reduced living space.