15-day Rail Pass Trip

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by William Huntley, Jun 20, 2016.

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  1. Jun 20, 2016 #1
    Hey everyone! My friend and I are planning a 2-week trip with Amtrak. This will be the first time I travel with Amtrak so I have a few concerns. We plan to stay a few nights in several cities. My main question is if the trip is do-able. I do understand that I have to consider the train being late at times.

    Here is a rough draft of our itinerary:

    July 28

    - Greenville to NOLA: 5am-7:30pm

    July 30

    - NOLA to San Antonio: 9am-12:05a

    Aug 2

    - San Ant. to El Paso: 2:45am-1:22pm

    Aug 4

    - El Paso to LA: 1:47pm-5:35am

    Aug 7

    -LA to San Francisco: 10:10am-9:30pm

    Aug 9

    - San Francisco to Denver: 9:10am-6:38pm (Aug 10)

    Aug 11

    - Denver to Chicago: 7:10pm-2:50pm(Aug 12)

    Aug 12

    - Chicago to DC: 6:40pm-

    1:05pm (Aug 13)

    Aug 13

    DC to Greenville: 6:30pm-4:54am (aug 14)

    From the way I see it, we might have to pay extra for the last two segments of the trip.

    Please let me know if anyone has any tips or suggestions for the trip. Like I said, I've never traveled with Amtrak before and I want to make sure I am prepared.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Jun 20, 2016 #2

    jebr

    jebr

    jebr

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    I would look at the cost of paying extra for the last leg or two (I think the second to last leg would end on day 16) versus buying the 21 day pass. As well, I would double check to see how much it would cost to buy all the tickets separate to see if the rail pass would be the most economical option.

    Sounds like a fun trip! Breaking it up seems like a good idea to help the trip go a bit more smoothly. I'd consider maybe adding a day in DC or Chicago if you can to break up that 3-night stint. If you're willing to stay in a hostel, the extra night shouldn't be too expensive.
     
  3. Jun 20, 2016 #3

    KmH

    KmH

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    Your travel dates are during the heart of the heavy travel (high) season.

    Amtrak pricing is on a supply and demand model.
    As the number of available seating/accommodations on an Amtrak train goes down - ticket prices go up.

    A limited number of seats are set aside for those using the Rail Pass.
    All of the Rail Pass slots may already be booked on some of your trip segments.
    Ideally you would have booked your trip 6 to 9 months ago.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2016
  4. Jun 20, 2016 #4

    caravanman

    caravanman

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    Even though the pass lasts for 15 days, You can only ride 8 trains, or "segments". Your trip looks like 9?

    If the "lowest bucket" coach fare is still available for the dates you want, you should be able to book all those with the rail pass.

    If you pay for the first or last ride, then that should work out ok, which is the cheapest to pay for?

    As far as I know, if all the low bucket seats are sold, then the railpass covers that low bucket portion of the fare, you would just have to pay the difference.

    If you start your last ride on day 14, even overnight, I think the pass should still cover you, but do double check this?

    You can visit amtrak com and check the coach fares now for your proposed dates.

    Someone mentioned a 21 day pass, I don't think there is such a pass?

    Ed.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2016 #5

    KmH

    KmH

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2016
  6. Jun 20, 2016 #6

    jebr

    jebr

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    Yeah, I misspoke. Look at the 30 day pass, then. Not sure where I got 21 days from.
     
  7. Jun 20, 2016 #7

    caravanman

    caravanman

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    Re-reading the terms, it states that all travel must be completed within the validity of the pass, so maybe you have to leave the train before midnight on the last day. I always thought that begining the last segment before midnight on the last day was in order.

    Ed.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2016 #8

    Philly Amtrak Fan

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    Can travel using the pass be booked online now or do you still have to book via telephone? I'm sure if you talk to the agent they will make sure all your bookings are legal and he/she will keep track of your segments.
     
  9. Jun 25, 2016 #9

    Alex

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    Alex

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    I just did the 15 day pass back in April, did Boston to Chicago as one segment, Chicago to Seattle as a second, Seattle to Portland was the third segment, Portland to Sacramento segment 4, Sac to Denver- segment 5, Denver to Chicago was segment 6, Chicago back to Boston was the last segment, we technically wasted one segment but we did everything we wanted to. If you are going to go over your allowed segments, I would encourage you to find the segment with the least expensive price and pay for that separate from the Rail Pass. Also, as long as you are on the train by the last day of travel, it won't matter how long that train takes to get you to your stop, they won't consider it more days of travel.

    Some personal recommendations, book early, like yesterday. Also upgrade to a roomette at least, it is nice to have a place to lay down at night and keep your stuff out of sight during the day. You also get free meals with rooms and that could be close to $50 per person per day. (We upgraded the empire builder in April for $210, 5 meals each, we probably spent $60 total extra for the room if you factor in meals). Also with sleeping class you get bathrooms being used by less people, a nice shower, a comfy bed, and lots of other perks (like bring your own alcohol, free bottled water/coffee, etc).

    Also, to find the best prices, expect to pay the upgrade difference between coach and room prices (if coach is $100, and a roomette is $200, expect to pay $100 on the rail pass to upgrade for that segment). I found the Amtrak app was best to figure the prices and check often. From Denver to Chicago they were asking for $380 for months and then all of a sudden, the day before our train left, the price dropped to $200 and the next day it was over $400, we got very lucky to get the $200 rate on that segment.

    Best of luck with the planning and hope you enjoy the ride. And sign up for guest rewards if not already, my vacations already paid for some future travel.
     
  10. Jun 25, 2016 #10

    KmH

    KmH

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    Actually, the meals aren't free. The meals are paid for in advance - as part of the cost of a sleeper berth.

    Three meals in the dining car could easily come close to being $100 per day per person.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2016

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