Top Tips for Taking Amtrak

Alright everyone! I’m what you might call am Amtrak Aficionado. I love to take Amtrak every opportunity I get. So naturally, when going to see some family in Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving, I took the train. It’s about a nine hour ride from the start at Oakland, which considering it’s a seven hour drive, wasn’t a bad deal. Also it’s an easy two tanks of gas, and my ticket down to Santa Barbara the day before Thanksgiving was only $65.  I’ve done longer (26 hour) and shorter (2 hour) train rides, so I believe I am qualified to give some tips.

1. Bring something to occupy yourself for the amount of time you will be on the train.

You should know how long your train ride is, so bring the appropriate amount of entertainment for yourself. Shorter rides you can get away with just a book, longer rides you might want to download a movie or two on your electronic device. Your train might even have wifi!

2. Bring a charger for your electronic device.

At ever section of seating, there are two 120v outlets for your to charge your tablet/phone/laptop/child/whatever. Use it!

3. Be nice!

You’re on a train! If you’re riding around the holidays, there’s probably lots of other people on the train as well. Most people on the train are friendly! And if you don’t want to talk to people, that’s okay too, you can use the tried-and-true method of keeping your headphones in.

4. Bring alcohol!

Also a great way to make friends and pass the time, bring a bottle (or two) of wine or other preferred adult drink!

5. If it’s an overnight trip, bring something to help you sleep!

Be it ativan, melatonin, or just sleepy time tea, bring something to help you sleep! And fear not of missing your stop, the staff will wake you up when your stop is next.

6. Get your ticket early!

If you travel often you already know this rule, usually the earlier you get your ticket, the cheaper it is! Also be sure to check if you qualify for any discounts for being a Student, Senior, or others!

7. Finally,enjoy the scenery! 

Your train might have  a lounge car like the one above! It’s a great way to observe the countryside!

And in case you didn’t know, Amtrak is super gay friendly, and last year launched their Ride With Pride campaign!


3 thoughts on “Top Tips for Taking Amtrak”

  1. Almost every year, I take the 3.5 hour ride from Seattle to Portland on The Amtrak Cascades. I spend a few days in Portland, and ride The Cascades back home.

    They used to show a movie during the trip. They don’t anymore, but they still have a full bar. They’ve recently added WiFi.

    It’s a lot of fun.



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