The pandemic has impacted our daily lives in many ways, not the least being travel restrictions. It will likely be a while before international travel is unfettered, but there is plenty to see and do in the U.S., and Amtrak Vacations is a great alternative to flying during COVID.
Benefits of Traveling by Amtrak
Amtrak travels to 46 of the 48 contiguous states. Train stations tend to be right in the center of cities, saving you time and money over accessing airports that are usually on the outskirts of the city. You don’t have to arrive two hours early for security or take off your shoes.
Comfortable Amtrak seats are comparable to a business class airline seat, and the view of America’s landscapes is a constantly changing masterwork for the duration of your trip. Amtrak trains offer full amenities and services as you travel, including free Wi-Fi, so you arrive relaxed, refreshed, and ready to explore.
Amtrak fares are far steadier than volatile airfares and have fewer restrictions for making changes at the last minute and you can book up to 24 months out. There are also lower baggage fees for taking things like golf clubs and bicycles. Additionally, a benefit for our environment is that your carbon footprint for traveling by rail is smaller than flying.
Seating and Accommodations
Seats in Amtrak Coach class are comfortably wide and recline so you can lean back and enjoy the view from large, panoramic windows. A fold-down tray table, electric outlet, overhead reading lights, an overhead luggage rack give you plenty of personal space to enjoy the ride. Some have footrests and window curtains. Business class seats are located in a dedicated car or section of the train. Features vary by train but include reserved seating, extra legroom, and free non-alcoholic drinks.
For more privacy and space, Sleeping Cars offer private room configurations of Roomette, Bedroom, or Bedroom Suite (two adjoining bedrooms). Your dedicated attendant converts your daytime seating into comfortable beds at night. Each room accommodates two people and has a picture window, fresh towels and linens, and a locking door. Roomettes are small but comfortable with two seats facing each other and a foldable table between them, while the larger Bedroom has a sofa. Some Amtrak sleepers have a sink and toilet in them. Others have access to a private toilet and shower for the car.
When traveling in a sleeping car your meals are included throughout your journey, plus you have Lounge access with comfortable seating and refreshments at major rail stations.
Amtrak Dining Options
Most long-distance trains have a Lounge car where you can get sandwiches, soft drinks, beer and wine or cocktails and watch the passing scenery. The Sightseer Lounge cars have an upper level with wraparound windows for a dramatic view. You are also welcome to enjoy food and drink at your seat.
Dining cars offer traditional dining services on multiple routes (suspended until December 15, 2020, on all routes except the Auto Train). Seasonal menus offer a variety of chef-prepared entrees, desserts, and a wide selection of beverages. Vegan and kosher foods require a 72-hour advance order. On other routes, Flexible dining offers hot, ready-to-serve meals, and Café service is available on most routes from early morning to late night.
In addition to city-to-city service, Amtrak Vacations offers hundreds of exciting packages that take you right to the heart of America’s greatest treasures. Because of the pandemic, many travelers are getting back to travel with nature and outdoor experiences. Amtrak features rail connections into many of our nation’s National Parks and Amtrak Vacations has 50 National Parks packages to choose from.
You can customize any itinerary to fit your vacation style and travel needs by adding hotels, sightseeing, meals, and cruise port transfers for a complete vacation.
- Start your journey from any of the 500+ Amtrak stations across the country.
- Upgrade to a private sleeper for a socially distant onboard experience.
- Add extra nights in any destination or add a city getaway.
- Handpick your tours, activities, dining, and accommodations.
- Combine vacation itineraries or create your own.
- Make it round-trip or one way.
63 percent of Amtrak travelers have never traveled onboard Amtrak before! It’s a unique, relaxing way to travel in the U.S. You actually get to see the country as you go, without the stress of driving yourself or the hassle of airports. If you’re ready to give an Amtrak Vacation a try, contact your Covington vacation advisor to customize your trip.