Trip Planning (CHI-LAX-CHI)

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Rail Freak, May 1, 2019.

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  1. May 1, 2019 #1

    Rail Freak

    Rail Freak

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    Well, it's been four years since my last Amtrak trip & I've been itching for another Land Cruise!!! So today I decided to scratch that itch! I have no particular destination to go, so I decided just to log some train time. This will be an AGR ride so I've been searching Amsnag & found what looks like to be a Low Bucket Round Trip. Departing CHI on Sept 24th on the Texas Eagle, arriving LAX on the 27th. Then leaving the same day on the Southwest Chief back to Chicago, 18,768 pts. each way!

    I also found, what I consider a good R/T Fare on Southwest Airline (Tampa/Midway). So my flight gets me into Chicago a little after 8am, plenty of time to get to Union Station for my departure. That leaves me with just one night hotel stay in Chicago before my return flight.

    I forgot how fun it is to plan these trips,LOL! Now I have all summer to look forward to it!!!

    I booked my room at the Quality Inn Midway Airport ($107 tax inc.), if anyone has better hotel suggestions please chime in!
     
  2. May 1, 2019 #2

    Michigan Mom

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    Consider the Quality Inn to be a good and reasonably priced, cancellable "backup." Then, since you enjoy the trip planning process, and have plenty of time, start checking every so often for downtown hotel prices instead of Midway. It doesn't sound like you're in Chicago all that often so why not treat yourself further? For about the same price you can usually stay at the Crowne Plaza Metro hotel, which is actually within walking distance of Union Station, and convenient to all sorts of things not the least of which is a very nice grocery store right across the street. You can hop on the Orange Line to and from Midway but I suspect you already know that.
     
  3. May 1, 2019 #3

    Rail Freak

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    Yea, I had heard that but I know nothing about the transit system in Chicago.I'm open to learning though. Plus ,walking any distance is difficult for me!!!
     
  4. May 2, 2019 #4

    Palmland

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    Rather than spending money on a Chicago hotel, how about a $82 coach seat on the Capitol. AA had $118 DCA-TPA fares for about the dates you mention and is an easy metro ride from WAS. Or, for about $175 more, get a roomette.
     
  5. May 2, 2019 #5

    Rail Freak

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    I can't handle coach overnite!!!
     
  6. May 2, 2019 #6

    Michigan Mom

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    Good to know. In that case I definitely recommend looking at the hotels closest to Union Station and then taking an Uber or a cab to the hotel (will only be a few bucks and so much nicer than staying out by Midway).

    So to backtrack, if i understand correctly, you're flying in and out of Chicago, from Tampa, but only need the hotel one night, on the return portion.
    When you arrive in Chicago Midway, the Orange Line "L" train is connected to the airport and easy to get to. Follow the Train to City signs, maybe 15 minute walk all told. Once the L gets to downtown, the closest it gets to Union Station is the Quincy station stop, which is another 10-15 minute walk (3-4 blocks) to CUS.
    Returning from your round-trip rail excursion, it will be a whole lot more pleasant to spend the night in the downtown Chicago area and take the Orange Line to Midway the next day (incidentally, allow about an hour for that portion) rather than leave downtown for Midway the day you get there. Trust me on this! Again my top recommendation would be that Crowne Plaza and there are others. Cab ride from CUS would be a few bucks (or Uber) if you don't wish to walk (I've done both). If you feel like splurging, nice restaraunt/bar onsite. If you'd rather save, directly across the street is Mariano's, a full service grocery with everything imaginable including prepared and takeout items. LOTS of other options nearby too including a small Italian takeout place that has great pizza. Next day just need to hail a ride (or walk one block and board the CTA Blue Line and change trains at the first Orange Line connection). As you can see there's a lot of planning to be done so good thing you're getting started early :)
     
  7. May 3, 2019 #7

    Rail Freak

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    The conductor can scan my phone, correct? So no need to print tickets?
     
  8. May 3, 2019 #8

    Michigan Mom

    Michigan Mom

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    Correct they can scan the code thing on your phone.
    (I still feel insecure without a paper ticket but trying overcome the feeling)
     
    Dakota 400 and Rail Freak like this.

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