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#61 Lonestar648

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 03:23 PM

Not sure when you are traveling, but could it be that the SWC is sold out and it is a day when the SL/TE doesnt run?



#62 silmaril

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

It's my Second favorite US HI after the one in Sacramento! Check it out!

 

Thanks! Will do.



#63 silmaril

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:24 PM

 

Plugging in LA to Chicago on AmTrak only gives me the Coast Starlight if I then take the Empire Builder. Assume I can get around that by booking to SF first. Is it hard to get from SF to Emeryville?

 

This can't be right.  Southwest Chief runs daily directly between LA and Chicago.  Three days a week the Texas Eagle also run directly between LA and Chicago, but takes an extra day.

 

The problem with going to Chicago via the Coast Starlight is that it arrives in northern California too late to connect with the California Zephyr to Chicago (unlike some rail planners, Amtrak does not book overnight connections in one reservation).   I like your idea, but what I would do is take the CSL, and spend at least one night in the Northern California and then transfer to the CZ.  You can do this anywhere between Emeryville and Sacramento.

 

You asked about the cost of booking all the way from origin to destination, rather than breaking up the trip.  While "through" fares may be a little less, in my opinion this would  be overwhelmed by the day to day fluctuations in price, especially for sleepers. What I'm saying is

 

Booking one ticket (the normal way) EMY to CHI departing on day x and arriving on day x+ 2 (it takes two nights) might be cheaper than booking two tickets EMY to Denver and then DEN to CHI on the same train.  But EMY to DEN departing on day x and DEN to CHI departing on day  x+3 could be cheaper.

 

 

 

 

Thanks - I'm all booked now :)

 

I have now booked:

Coast Starlight - LA to SF, Business class

SF to Glenwood Springs - Roomette

Glenwood Springs to Denver - Coach

Denver to Chicago - Roomette

Chicago to DC on the Capitol Limited - Roomette.

 

3 nights in SF, 1 night Glenwood Springs, 2 nights Denver, 5 nights Chicago, 10 nights DC... and that's as far as I've planned to date!



#64 silmaril

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:57 AM

Another question (non-Amtrak), if I may...

 

As I'll be arriving into the US in October and staying until December, it may get rather cold. I've read some thoughts online about clothes being cheaper in the US than here in Aus. Can you give me some pointers on where to find reasonable quality cold weather gear? 

 

For this, you need to be aware my knowledge of US retail is next to zero, I know there is something called Walmart, and that's about it. 

 

Thanks,
Adrian.



#65 Bob Dylan

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 07:47 AM

Old saying: Never pay retail/list price!😄

I suggest you shop in what we call "Thrift stores" which are basically used clothing.

We have both for profit and charity type such places such as Church and Service Organization Run stores (St. Vincent de Paul,Salvation Army,Goodwill etc.).

The best way to go is to layer up, ie underwear (don't buy used!😄),jeans,cotton shirts,hoodie/fleece jacket,cap/watch cap,gloves.Dont but too much, laundry faculties are available all over.

You should also have a light fleece blanket and travel pillow for your overnights in Coach ( it can get Cold on the train at night)which are available everywhere.

Wal-Mart is great for cheap electronics,drug and household products, but their clothing,while cheap,isn't worth what you pay for it. (foreign made, lots of wierd smells and wierd colors/patterns, mostly knock offs of famous brands!)

Once you're ready to return home, you can donate what you don't want to take home to the non profit thrift stores, Win/Win!!

Edited by Bob Dylan, 07 April 2017 - 07:55 AM.

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#66 ehbowen

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:12 AM

Second the idea of the thrift stores and the layers. During the time of year and the places you'll be traveling, you're likely to encounter everything from mild, sunny days in the 70s to winter ice and snow in the 20s (Fahrenheit, of course!). A number of warm but thin layers such as a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, "hoodie", and windbreaker jacket as a top layer is more portable and more practical than a thick winter parka.

 

Wal-Mart and Target are good choices for necessities such as toiletries and underwear, but you might also try some of the ubiquitous "dollar stores" if you're really in the mood to save money.


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#67 PaulM

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 10:07 AM

Not sure when you are traveling, but could it be that the SWC is sold out and it is a day when the SL/TE doesnt run?

 

It is moot now because the OP has booked.  However, it is a common AU misconception that if an accommodation is sold out it does not appear, or that if a train is completely sold out, the  connection won't appear.  In the first case the accommodation appears with the notation "None Left" and the second with "Sold out Train". 

 

Train don't disappear as long as they are running. I don't know what the current situation is, but traditionally even if a train was canceled, it would appear as sold out.



#68 silmaril

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 07:43 PM

Hi again!

 

Another question if I may - if you had the choice would you take the Acela Express or the Northeast Regional from DC to New York?

 

Thanks!



#69 ehbowen

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:40 PM

If I were paying for it out of my own pocket on my current budget, Northeast Regional. Not really that much slower and a much better price. I'd look into NER business class if I wanted more space.

I would take Acela Express first class if I had money or points to burn or if someone else was paying the bill.

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#70 Don Newcomb

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:51 PM

.... Not really that much slower and a much better price.....

I noticed the same thing. Just a few minutes difference in schedule but a lot of dollars difference in price.

#71 PVD

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:35 PM

Acela First is usually pretty pricey, but sometimes Acela BC and NER are pretty close. Then it is just a timing thing for me.



#72 silmaril

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:31 PM

Hi again!

 

My trip is getting closer and closer :)

 

A quick question, I booked a fare from New York to Boston, but am now thinking about departing New York 2 days earlier to squeeze in a trip to Montreal before hitting Boston.

 

What actually happens if I click the Cancel Trip button in my account on the AmTrak website? Do I lose the fare, or will I get a credit for a different trip?

 

Thanks!



#73 Acela150

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:38 PM

What actually happens if I click the Cancel Trip button in my account on the AmTrak website? Do I lose the fare, or will I get a credit for a different trip?

 

You lose the entire fare. But you have options to get a voucher credit for a future trip OR refund the money paid with a penalty. Many take the voucher option. Cause that's money you don't have to pay for a trip. 


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#74 silmaril

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:59 PM

Can anyone suggest the best course of action to get a mobile phone plan after arriving into LAX?

 

When I flew to London a couple of years back, I was able to get a SIM card for a prepaid plan at a vending machine in Heathrow. Does anyone know if LAX has similar, or what the best option would be for getting online once I arrive?

 

Thanks!



#75 PVD

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:56 AM

Not sure about LAX, but JFK yes, I've seen the machines...do a little online research to make sure the one you choose is appropriate.....



#76 jebr

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:23 AM

Another option would be to try to get a SIM in advance on eBay (most companies won't mail a SIM overseas, but you may find a seller on eBay who's allowed international shipping.)

For the length of your stay, I'd recommend trying to find a standard prepaid plan instead of a traveler-centric one. There's a number of options available with different levels of talk minutes, texts, and data allotment.

I'm a bit of a cell phone nerd as well, so I often frequent cell phone forums and subreddits. A couple options to check are MintSIM (if you're mainly staying in larger cities and aren't worried about having coverage in all of the rural areas) and Cricket (if you want coverage most rural places and are okay with spending more for that.)

Feel free to ask here with questions if you'd like, although this forum is generally rail-centric. Good resources for prepaid plans include reddit.com/r/nocontract and howardforums.com (check out their General Prepaid forum.)

#77 silmaril

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:30 PM

Another option would be to try to get a SIM in advance on eBay (most companies won't mail a SIM overseas, but you may find a seller on eBay who's allowed international shipping.)

For the length of your stay, I'd recommend trying to find a standard prepaid plan instead of a traveler-centric one. There's a number of options available with different levels of talk minutes, texts, and data allotment.

I'm a bit of a cell phone nerd as well, so I often frequent cell phone forums and subreddits. A couple options to check are MintSIM (if you're mainly staying in larger cities and aren't worried about having coverage in all of the rural areas) and Cricket (if you want coverage most rural places and are okay with spending more for that.)

Feel free to ask here with questions if you'd like, although this forum is generally rail-centric. Good resources for prepaid plans include reddit.com/r/nocontract and howardforums.com (check out their General Prepaid forum.)

 

Thanks! Have done some reading and can indeed get an AT&T Sim card from ebay before I go, then their $45 pre-paid plan looks good. 



#78 PVD

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:26 AM

Is that unlimited talk/text and 6gb data?  I just switched to that for my new phone..... $40 with autopay, but that doesn't make sense for one trip..... 

 

Make sure you get the right sized SIM, as there are a few different sizes, with the newer phones usually using the smaller (nano) but plenty of micro out there.. 


Edited by PVD, 14 September 2017 - 05:36 AM.


#79 silmaril

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 01:08 AM

Is that unlimited talk/text and 6gb data?  I just switched to that for my new phone..... $40 with autopay, but that doesn't make sense for one trip..... 

 

Make sure you get the right sized SIM, as there are a few different sizes, with the newer phones usually using the smaller (nano) but plenty of micro out there.. 

 

My trip is 2 months and ten days, so seems like a decent option.

 

Have received my AT&T Sim from an Australian seller, with all 3 sizes, so that's right to go. Will just need to find credit when I reach LA!



#80 caravanman

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 05:18 AM

I noticed an "overseas tourist specific" sim card offer advertised by T mobile when I was in America recently. May not be best value, something like $30 for 3 weeks.

 

Cheap warm clothing can be bought in many places, "Ross" dress for less and even the drug store chains sell sweatshirts, etc. The Walgreens and similar big drugstore chains are also a good place to buy a fleece blanket for those nights in coach!

 

Have a great trip!

 

Ed






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