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Tips for taking the Amtrak

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APRIL 18, 2023

As someone who’s been taking the Amtrak home since freshman year, I’ve gained a lot of tips and tricks to make sure your journey is a good one. If you’re planning on traveling using Amtrak anytime soon, here are some things to keep in mind! 

Order your tickets ahead of time

Like any other form of travel, if you wait until the last minute to order your tickets, the prices significantly increase. So, make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time! If you’re planning on taking a train that goes to a major city, it’s also best to order them a month or so in advance since they fill up really quickly. For me, when I’ve waited until the last one to two weeks before my trip to book my tickets, the price usually goes up $40, which is why planning ahead is the best option!

Be mindful of whether there is a cafe car on your train 

In most Amtrak trains, there is a cafe car with pizza, coffee, drinks and other snacks that you can buy during your long train rides. But, something I didn’t realize is that the earlier trains that leave at 8 a.m. don’t have cafe cars since they are smaller one-story trains, which can make your train ride a little bit more uncomfortable since you might be hungry. So, it’s important to look at the amenities your train has to offer before you book it, and that way you can plan ahead and bring your lunch if you’re on a train without a cafe car! 

Don’t schedule any meetings while you are traveling

Although you can do Zoom meetings on the train if you absolutely need to, keep in mind that sometimes on the journey there are spots that don’t have Wi-Fi which can ruin your meetings. It can also make it a little bit hard to do some things on the internet that take up a lot of data, like watching a long movie that you didn’t download beforehand. Keep in mind that the entire train is using the same Wi-Fi! Usually, Google Docs works fine for me on the train, so if you have an upcoming assignment to work on you can do that on the train! 

Make sure you charge your devices beforehand

If you’re traveling in general (even if it isn’t on Amtrak), it’s important to make sure you charge your devices beforehand! The Amtrak trains do have two-charger ports for each seat, but they’re usually on the side closest to the window, so if you’re sitting next to a stranger, they might’ve taken all the ports for themself before you’ve sat down. 

Enjoy the view! 

While taking the Amtrak, you can see a ton of amazing views, especially if you’re traveling from Northern California to Southern California on the route that I usually travel. You can usually see the ocean, the mountains and hills, and even some cows once you get into the Central Valley! So, next time you take the Amtrak, take some time to admire the sights on your journey! 

I hope these tips will help you make your next journey a nice one. Happy traveling!

Contact Samantha Herrera at 


APRIL 18, 2023