For starters, there’s nothing quick about most Amtrak trains. Even on a good day, getting from Los Angeles to Seattle on the Coast Starlight will take almost 3 days. And a cabin costs about $600 each way. Compare that to a flight and if you’re in any kind of hurry, it may not be the best choice.
If you’re traveling with kids, there are things to consider. Trains are constantly on the move, which can translate into motion sickness, so plan accordingly.
The good news is, meals are included for first-class and sleeping cabin passengers. But if you’ve got picky eaters and you’re on a classic ride like the California Zephyr, options start to look pretty limited after 50 hours.
My advice for first timers: start with a shorter excursion, like an 11-hour ride on the Adirondack from New York City to Montreal. There’s no better time to do this than in fall. Or make it a package with overnight hotel stays and guided tours, so you get a break from the train.
And once you’re hooked…get on a long-haul journey and see where the ride takes you!
For more information, visit the Train archives.
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