Many people who find themselves on tighter budgets these days due to the economy probably feel like they can't take their yearly vacation. Even flying within the United States can end up costing you a lot of money and renting a car to go to your destination might be out of the question as well with the cost of fuel as it is. But, you still can enjoy that vacation with the right planning and traveling by train. If you've never done travel in a train you'll be happy to discover that traveling by train is a lot more relaxing than if you were flying or driving your own car. You can eat, drink, enjoy the view and sleep during your trip all without hassle and without ever stepping out of the train while traveling to your destination.
Traveling by train can even be more fun if you are including family members as well since you'll be able to spend stress free time with everyone unlike the cramped confinements of a plane or a car. However; if it is your first time it might be a little overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. Here are a few pointers for you to make your journey as enjoyable as possible.
Since trains tend to get a little nippy in the evenings you should bring your own blankets and pillows because this is one thing that you are not provided when traveling by train. When it is time to get something to eat in the car for dining make sure you get there early and want a particular seat. Also, if it's crowded you need to prepare yourself for sitting with strangers. If you don't like that idea, they do allow you to bring your own food. If you like to drink alcoholic drinks, they are OK with that as long as you don't over do it.
When you first get on the train, make sure that you check the hours of operation of their dining car so you are aware of when they open and when they close. The last thing you want to do is find yourself hungry only to find out that not only did you not bring your own food but the car is closed for the night.
Make sure that you bring a long a lot of different things to keep you busy, especially if you are traveling with kids. Bring books, a laptop if you have one, music, hand held games, travel games, whatever you can think of that you might want to do while you are traveling.
Make sure that when you are up walking around that you don't leave anything valuable in your seat. Always take your valuables with you or make sure to stow them away when you are not using them so that you don't end up ruining your vacation by someone stealing something of value from you.
Before booking your trip on the train make sure to contact Amtrak first and ask them if they have any of their own tips on how to enjoy your journey a lot better while traveling on one of their trains. They will be more than happy to send you free information.
Amtrak also offers a planner that you can use and it comes with all the descriptions of what the train offers and all of it's route information. It will also notate the different services available on the particular train you are planning on traveling on.
If you are hesitant to ride coach, don't worry, coach on a train is far different than coach on a plane. The seats are bigger, far more comfortable and there is a lot more room between them than on a plane. If you are traveling for quite a ways you might consider reserving one of their sleeper cars. Not only are they private but usually coffee and meals will be included with those who book sleeper cars.
Like with any other trip always make sure to plan a head and do your research on what to expect and what you might be seeing along the route that your train will be traveling. But most of all enjoy the opportunity to relax, get to know new people and especially enjoy the scenery in a different way than you would be able to on a plane or in a car.