Most road trip planners plan on driving their own car or RV for their next road trip adventure. If they have to fly to the destination city, they might enjoy renting a car that's different from the one at home, perhaps an SUV, a Jeep, or a fun sports car. But why not leave the driving to someone else and try a railway road trip adventure this year?
Consider this appealing alternative: Take the train to your main destination city then rent a car just for a day or two while you're exploring the area, then hop back aboard the train to another destination. This way, "getting there" becomes its own adventure, especially if your trip includes an overnight stay aboard the train!
There's something about traveling by train that beckons the pioneer spirit within us. And there's a certain appeal to letting the rhythmic chug-chug-chug of the tracks lull you to sleep. Granted, these sleeping cabins aren't as spacious as hotel rooms, but then again, it allows you to cover a distance while sleeping that you couldn't have achieved in a car or RV unless you traded driving shifts. And the cabins are definitely roomier than airline seats!
This is why going on a family train trip is growing in popularity. Dad can play Monopoly with you instead of driving; Mom can watch a movie with you instead of her riding shotgun to keep the driver on track and alert for the duration. When kids get antsy or hungry, you can round them up for a walk to the dining cab (without losing any traveling mileage). Explore the train, revel in the changing scenery buzzing by your view, curl up with a good book and maybe take in a catnap. Trains allow you to slow down and relax…and isn't that one of the main vacation objectives? Your road trip planner will still be filled with things to do, hotels, car rental and restaurants once you reach your destination.
Amtraks's Superliners have sleeping cars that range from Roomettes (1-2 people), special accessible rooms (1-2), and even bedroom suites (4-6) that includes 2 toilets & 2 showers (usually two bedrooms with the partition removed). Even though you'd be advised to stay the bulk of your trip in hotels surrounding the areas you want to explore, sleeping overnight on a train is an adventure in itself. Plus, you get the bonus of Sleeper Service, which entitles you to receive all regular meals as part of your accommodations.
Below are a few of the most popular railway destination in the United States. Amtrak has more than 500 destinations so these are just enough to whet your appetite to fill your road trip planner with a brand new adventure. Bon appétit!
- West Coast Spectacular by Rail – Set aside about 10 days for this vacation, starting out with 2 full days/nights in Seattle, an overnight aboard the train heading south to San Francisco, spend 3 nights there exploring city, then aboard the train again to head south to Los Angeles for a 3 night stay there.
- Jazz, Blues and Rock 'N Roll By Rail – This trip will have you rock n rolling from north to south on the fun filled 8 days/7 night adventure. You'll start out in Chicago, spend a couple of nights enjoying famous blues clubs like Buddy Guy's Legends, then aboard Amtrak overnight into Memphis for 2 full days in the birthplace of Rock 'n Roll and then landing in New Orleans for some Cajun cooking to enjoy with your evenings of Jazz.
You can also opt for Railway Day Passes if you want the total freedom of coming and going whenever you please (a fun option for couples): 15- Day Railway Pass: 15 Days (8 segments), $389.00 – Adults, $194.50 - Child (Ages 2-15). If you decide to go this route, just fill your road trip planner with activities you'd like to do along the way but leave the days open-ended; that way you have the information on hand.