TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Amtrak

Published Date Author: , September 9th, 2010
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Amtrak

Tired of flying and all of the hassles that are involved in that mode of traveling and are you tired of driving everywhere? You should look into Amtrak. Although it is not for everybody especially if you are on a very tight schedule however if you have plenty of time, Amtrak might possibly be perfect for you.

We found it quite amazing how inexpensive traveling by rail is. Depending on the day, etc. you can take Amtrak all the way from Chicago to New York City for just $172.00 round trip! Riding on the rails is a very relaxing and enjoyable way to see the country as well. Since most of our readers have yet to take Amtrak on a cross journey travel, we will explain a few of the basics.

When you first get on the train your ticket will be collected and you are free to move about the train. If you are a coach passenger leave the tag above your seat as this reserves it for you. It is good to spend time in the lounge watching the changing scenery and enjoying conversation with fellow travelers.

Coach seats on the train are much roomier than airplane seats. Long distance coaches feature comfortable reclining seats with foot and leg rests (if you find yourself on a long distance train lacking leg rests, you are in a car for short haul passengers, and you might want to try to get seated in another car). Pillows are supplied for overnight travel, but you might want to bring a light blanket. A washcloth in a plastic bag and hand towel will come in handy. Many short distance trains offer extra charge Business class with wider seats and extra amenities.

Sleepers: See Amtrak First Class for descriptions and some photos of the various types of sleeping accommodations on Amtrak’s Travel Planner, available at any Amtrak ticket office. The service notes in Amtrak’s National Timetable booklet indicate which types of bedrooms are available on each train. Towels, washcloths, soap and bedding are provided. The first class amenities include morning coffee, tea and juice available in your car, morning newspaper and all meals in the dining car.

Amtrak Observation DeckThe Lounge car on long distance trains are open to all passengers is a great place to meet people and enjoy the scenery. “Superliner Sightseer” lounge cars feature ankle to ceiling picture windows for panoramic viewing.

The lounge car counter serves beverages, snacks, sandwiches and other items and is usually open from 6:30 AM to midnight. Most short distance trains also have food service counters, some of which are located in a “dinette” with table seating that serves as a lounge.

Amtrak Dining CarThe Dining Car on most long distance (overnight) trains is a sit-down restaurant serving good, reasonably priced meals prepared on board. Meals in the diner are part of the overall train travel experience. Large windows provide a good view of the every-changing scenery as you dine.

You will usually be seated with others as there are four seats per table. “Train” passengers generally tend to be more open and friendly than on an airplane perhaps because of the relaxed atmosphere on board the train. On long distance trains breakfast is served from 6:30 AM until about 10 PM.

On long distance trips, passengers are asked to make reservations for lunch and dinner. Reservations are taken in 15 minute increments which allows for a more pleasant dining experience, assures passengers of receiving quality service from the staff and prevents the dining cars from becoming overcrowded during peak meal times. After boarding, a staff member will go through the train asking passengers to select a preferred time for dining. Lunch reservations are taken from 11:30 AM to 3 PM and dinner reservations are taken from 5 PM to 9 PM.

Amtrak traveling can be quite an experience and of course you never know who you are going to meet. You can also take advantage of Amtrak’s scheduling and get off at a city and spend a few days, then continue your journey to your next destination later. For more information visit www.amtrak.com

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Don & ray - Gay TravelersAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Comments reader  One Reader Comment

Mike Shaughnessy - Gravatar

picasaweb.google.com/sfo.mike Mike Shaughnessy said on September 12, 2010, 4:31 am:

I love traveling by train and look for opportunities to do so. Last year a friend from Brazil and I boarded one in Chicago and headed back to San Francisco. The Lounge car was really great too, just like you said. Mike

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