Trade the Car for a Train on Your next U.S. Trip

Life isn’t a movie, and gas doesn’t just magically appear in your car’s tank. Even though movie road trips may cost next to nothing (when in reality they should have costed $275,000), unfortunately, if you were to attempt a road trip in the U.S. you’d have to pay the full price.

So why not leave your car in the garage the next time you have a road trip itch you need to scratch and head to your nearest train station and experience some of the most breathtaking views that America has to offer, and that’s before you even get to your destination.

Travelling by plane is okay, but you get to see next to nothing when you choose that option instead of staying down on earth, hopping on board a train and travelling coast to coast. This can be done at a low cost as well — if you book online in advance with an Amtrak train, you can find fares from New York to Los Angeles or San Fransisco for as little as $186.

It beats the costs of gas, right?. The U.S. rail network will take you to all the towns and cities you want to see, so whether you’re a visitor to the country or a resident, there will always be somewhere new to visit. Each state has its own tourist agency too, so you can always feel at home, even when you’re not at home.

Amtrak Train System Map

As for the trains and the routes themselves, well they’re like a holiday within a holiday. There are five different routes to pick from, if you are indeed making the 3,000 mile coast-to-coast trip, all with their own distinctive character. If you’re after a route that offers the most historical significance in the scenery it cuts through, then the California Zephyr, which begins in Chicago and ends in San Fransisco, is the one for you.

It takes 48 hours to cross the country: passing the farmlands of Nebraska, scaling the Rockies of Denver, flowing with the river valleys in Colorado and rolling through the mountains of Nevada as it does so. You can enjoy indulge yourself in commentary provided on the train to talk you through the most significant sections of the historic transcontinental railroad.

California Zephyr

If being frugal with your finances when it comes to travelling is what you want, or need, to do, then travelling by train is a great way to keep the costs of transportation down, as well as way of making sure you’re getting the most out of the money you invest into it.

There are, however, always travel tips that can sought when travelling frugally is desired. These include not travelling when school’s out; if you haven’t got any children, then you and your partner (or whoever it is that’s is accompanying you on the adventure) should seek to travel whilst it is still term time up and down the country. You should also look out for any early bird or last-minute discounts that may be offered.

So, if you want to experience the U.S. or A in all of its glory, then make sure to consider travelling via train next time you fancy a bit of an adventure.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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