My daughter and I will be riding the rails, from Texas to Canada. We are thrilled to be taking another multi-city trip on Amtrak. This will be the first time we ride the Canada VIA Rail, so we are doubly excited to see how that compares with our own rail system.
We both love traveling by train and always meet interesting people from all walks of life while dining or just sitting in the Sightseeing Car. On our trip to New York, we met people from Europe, who were traveling throughout the US by–what else?–the Amtrak train!
There are some things that are must-haves when riding the rails. If you have these 7 necessities and a spirit of adventure, then you are guaranteed a relaxing and enjoyable trip.
7 Absolute Necessities
- Camera Riding the train across the country provides many opportunities for sightseeing. A train takes you along areas of the country, not visible on a plane, or even from a highway. When we traveled from Texas to New York we enjoyed picturesque rivers, cliffs, mountains, sunsets, farmland, and yes, even big cities. We sat in the Sightseeing Car and took as many photos as we could!
- Kindle, Books, Magazines When you are not napping or taking pictures, there is plenty of time to read a good book or two. There are 2 types of tickets for Amtrak—Coach Car, or Sleeper Car. Both of these offer spacious seats that recline. Perfect for reading!
- Playing Cards When my girls were young, one of their favorite activities on the train was playing cards! In fact, that is how I learned to play WAR, Gin Rummy, and several other card games. Now that they are older our new favorite card game is Blackjack.
4. Snacks! One of the many great advantages of riding a train is the fact that you can bring along as many snacks as you want. Again, when the girls were young, I would bring a large lunch bag with popcorn, fruits, a favorite sweet treat, and even drinks! If you are riding Coach, I would suggest bringing along a bag for your snacks. Today, we usually get a room in the Sleeping Car. The ticket for a room includes all meals, so we keep the snacks to a minimum.
- Tablet or DVD Player There are 2 electrical plugs per seat in Coach, and 2 plugs in all rooms in the Sleeping Car. If you want to watch a movie or begin your Gilmore Girls marathon, you can be assured that you will have somewhere to plug in your device during your trip.
- Headphones Although, you love watching music videos or Batman movies, the people sitting around you may not. Bring your own headphones or earphones.
- Blanket and Small Pillow The entire train is temperature controlled, however, it does become a bit cooler at night. A light blanket helps keep you comfortable when riding Coach, and a small pillow will give you a place to rest your head while you sleep. If you are in a room, all bedding is included (blankets, sheets, pillows). There is also an attendant who will make your bed and bring you an extra blanket or pillow if you request it.