How to Master the Art of Amtrak Travel

September 14, 2015

Riding the rails–it’s a beloved experience that many prefer to plane or car travel. There are no security lines and no traffic, plus the benefit of wider seats and more legroom. But among those who don’t travel Amtrak regularly, it’s common to hear complaints about ticket fares, the lack of luxury offerings more commonly seen with air travel, as well as the boarding and exiting frenzies famous in places like New York’s Penn Station and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station.

We can dispel some of these myths. With a little advance planning and some well-trod intel, you, too, can enjoy the best that train travel can offer in a way that works for your budget and peace of mind. Read on for our tips on mastering Amtrak, then get ready to sit back and enjoy the ride.Website Insert Turnkey Packages copy

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Plan Ahead

Many people think of train travel as a last-minute getaway option (and they should, last-minute fare deals are out there–more on that below), but planning ahead will always work to your advantage. “The more in advance you make your travel decision, the better off you are,” says Marc Magliari, a spokesman for Amtrak. “Your best chance to get the lowest price is to book as far advance as possible.”

Booking your trip at least three to four weeks before you depart regularly offers drastically lower fares, often 50 percent less than what you’ll see within two weeks of your departure and return dates. Magliari also notes that sleeping compartments for overnight trains often sell out farther in advance–so bear that in mind for long trips.

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Know About Discounts

“Right now, we’re offering 24 deals on fares in the Northeast alone,” Magliari says, recommending that travelers head to the deals section on Amtrak’s website before purchasing a ticket. There, you may find offers for 25 percent off a trip on Acela, the high-speed business class train on the Northeast corridor, discounts on travel to see Oakland Raiders or San Diego Chargers games, and reduced fares for getaways to New Orleans or Miami.Website Insert Faster is Better copy

You don’t have to wait for special offers, either. Amtrak has standing discounts for children, who get half-prize fares from age two to age 12 (infants under two ride for free), senior travelers, travelers with AAA memberships, active military personnel as well as veterans, students, and more. Select these options when booking, and you’ll regularly get 10 percent or more off of a standard fare.


Read the full story from The Huffington Post’s Corina Quinn by clicking here.


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