U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 04-29-2014, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
2,867 posts, read 2,985,667 times
Reputation: 3982

Advertisements

I am thinking of taking my wife cross-country from mid-Atlantic area to California this summer. Want to go out on Amtrak and fly back. Figured we could see a lot of scenery that way. Has anyone been cross-country on Amtrak? What was your experience? What would you recommend?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-29-2014, 12:19 PM
 
32,063 posts, read 32,962,795 times
Reputation: 14945
I have a cousin who went one way cross-country on Amtrak some years ago. As far I know she enjoyed the experience.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2014, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
6,153 posts, read 6,321,355 times
Reputation: 100630
I have taken Amtrak from Chicago to Reno via Portland OR. Plan on being on the train for 3 days. I would suggest getting at least a roomette. They are somewhat pricey and a little small for 2 people. (the seats face each other sharing the same legroom) However on longer trips I think it is worth the cost. Your meals in the dining car are included. It is also nice being able sleep in a bed rather than trying to sleep sitting in coach. It is also nice having a private space of your own. And if you feel like sitting in the lounge or even a coach car for a while you can. You will probably have a layover in Chicago. Having a roomette qualifies you to access the first class lounge in Chicago. If you have a little flexibility with travel dates I would suggest you play around with Amtrak's website. You might save a bunch on a roomette by traveling a day sooner or later. Also, the sooner you book your roomette the cheaper it is.

The train has both a dining car and a snack bar. The dining car has limited seating and hours and passengers in the sleeper cars get first choice of seating times. The snack bar has a selection of microwave burgers, chips, sodas, beer, candy and other snacks. You are also free to bring your own snacks on the train. While the train makes many stops, most of them are only a couple minutes long and you do not have time to get off the train. A couple stops a day will be longer to service the train and change crews. During those stops you can get off the train.

The train is smoke free. While they say you can not get off the train during the brief stops, most car attendants seem to be ok with you stepping off the train for a quick smoke.

Depending on which stations you are getting on and off at, you might or might not be able to check luggage. The cars have a small baggage storage area to store bags you carry on. It is not secure so it is use at your own risk.

If you travel with electronics I would suggest you bring a small extension cord. I have found many of the outlets to be slightly recessed just enough to make it where you can not directly plug in the charger.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-29-2014, 01:34 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,558 posts, read 3,656,219 times
Reputation: 12325
I second the suggestion for a roomette. You won't sleep well the first night but it is still good to be able to stretch out. The roomette might be small if you are not (if you get my drift) and sometimes it takes an acrobat to get into the upper bed. Be sure to get out and meet people who are your travel companions. There can be a significant fluctuation in roomette prices from one day to the other so be flexible and check several departure dates.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2014, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,246 posts, read 11,107,651 times
Reputation: 12563
I would suggest breaking up the trip with a day or two in Chicago then take the Empire Builder to Seattle or Portland. Fantastic scenery!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-03-2014, 04:26 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,724 posts, read 9,021,232 times
Reputation: 11089
This sounds like a fun trip. Too bad I'm quite a ways away from any Amtrack stations.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-03-2014, 04:54 PM
 
480 posts, read 1,093,115 times
Reputation: 504
I've gone 1/3 of the way across the country, and the best piece of advice I can give is: bring sleeping pills. Also, be sure to try Amtrak food because it is actually quite good.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-04-2014, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 10,385,558 times
Reputation: 5806
I did a trip a few years back from Providence RI to Portland OR. I loved every minute of it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I didn't have a roomette, though I can see how that would probably make the trip even better. I had no trouble sleeping in the seat with my pillow and blanket I took along, though had there been someone in the seat next to me, it might have been less comfortable. The seats recline more than enough for easy sleeping. And use the handicapped restroom for changing, washing, etc. It was much more spacious, and a lot easier to navigate. It also was private!

I took books to occupy my time, and didn't crack the back of one of them. There was more than enough going on outside the window, inside the train, or down in the club car to keep me well-entertained.

My one proviso would be the food. With forehand knowledge, I'd have taken a picnic basket and/or cooler with me, with snacks, for the trip. I wasn't of a mood to jump and run for the club car when they announced service, so never ate there. The club car has snacks, but they were less than inspiring to me (add to that, I don't eat red meat so my choice was limited). But, with the roomette, meals are included. I believe they'll even deliver them to your roomette. I have eaten in the dining care on other Amtrak trips, and the food was always great.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-04-2014, 01:46 AM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
6,153 posts, read 6,321,355 times
Reputation: 100630
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnricoV View Post
But, with the roomette, meals are included. I believe they'll even deliver them to your roomette. I have eaten in the dining care on other Amtrak trips, and the food was always great.
I have had meals delivered to my roomette. Each sleeper car has it's own attendant. Just let the attendant know a few hours in advance that you would like to eat in your room. They will bring a copy of the menu and take your order.

If you like talking to other people I would suggest you eat at least a few of your meals in the dining car. Unless there is 4 people in your party chances are very good you will be seated with other people. Only once did I get seated with someone that took offense to having to share a booth. The rest of the time I was seated with some very interesting people.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-07-2014, 07:18 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,321 times
Reputation: 10
I've gone from Milwaukee to Seattle. It was very similar to the experience that EnricoV describes. I was in coach with one seat to sit and sleep in. I brought about enough food for 3 days (DO NOT BRING BANANAS OR SUB SANDWICHES WITH VINEGAR/OIL! Just a tip ) and my laptop. Where I was, coach seats did not have an outlet. So I had to go sit in the club car where you could sit in a booth and plug in. The bathrooms are a bit ick and no showers that I could see for coach seat people.

I enjoy travel, watching scenery pass, and waking up in a completely different environment each day, but it's "slow" and not for the short of attention span. The most frustrating part was possibly the delays. We would get delayed in cities for up to 2 hours. One thing I will say, you will see parts of America you didn't know existed. Who knew there were antelopes up north near the Canadian border! The trip to Seattle also goes through the Glacier National Park, but because of our delay, it was night by the time we got there.

Do it! But I'd recommend getting the roomette for a more comfortable experience.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top