- Other than bus travel, train travel in the USA is the backpacker’s most viable method of transport. Train travel in the USA is fast and affordable and trains are well-maintained and comfortable. Amtrak is the national rail company and it has many routes to a wide array of destinations. While Amtrak train tickets may be more expensive than using a bus, its speed gives it an advantage to some travellers.
- Since there are so many regional companies serving popular routes in the USA, you can use the search website BusBud. They will show you bus options from Greyhound, Flixbus, Megabus, Amtrak and more.
Train Ticket Options
Amtrak offers ticketing for single journeys, but their Rail Passes are a great budget option for backpackers. Amtrak offers rail passes specifically targeted at international travellers that last for either 15 or 30 days and provide unlimited travel. You generally take your rail pass and passport to an Amtrak train tickets office to make your reservation.
Amtrak offers a wide variety of facilities which vary according to the train you are on. Most trains have reclining style seats and many trains offer food services. On long-distance or sleeper trains, there is often sleeping accommodation available which will be priced in addition to your ticket. This sleeping accommodation is truly luxurious and gives a bed, a sink and even a toilet. There is a range of different “rooms” available right the way up to 4-bed family bedrooms.
Train Baggage Allowance
Most baggage is checked-in and carried in the baggage compartments similar to the arrangements in place for air travel. Each passenger can check-in up to 3 pieces of baggage up to a maximum weight of 23kg each. This approach to baggage means you don’t have to worry about theft at all as all baggage is safely and securely stowed away.
If you are travelling with a bike, skis or other large items these can normally be accommodated provided that appropriate reservations are made in advance.
Alternatives to Train Travel
Another interesting idea is to travel by RV in the US. Especially if you’re travelling with a few other people, this could be an even more economical choice. You’ll be combining the costs for accommodation and transport. You also have more flexibility with your itinerary not to mention the ability to sleep in some of the world’s most awe-inspiring national parks. We cover everything you need to know about RV travel, as well as some incredible RV road trip routes in our article How to Travel the USA with an RV.
Useful Links for Train Travel in the USA
- Amtrak – main website to find Amtrak train tickets and Amtrak routes
- RV Share – The largest RV Rental Marketplace in the US.
- BusBud – search engine to find trains and buses along popular routes in the USA
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