Amtrak - Pre-Departure Checklist
Before departing on a trip, there are many loose ends to tie up on the home front that may take attention away from pre-departure responsibilities.
Just as with a trip on an airline, there are several different rules, regulations, and guidelines to follow for the safety, comfort, and ease of travel. They may involve the type of required identification you are expected to carry, or the number of bags allowed as a carry-on.
Below you will find some of the things that should be added to a pre-departure checklist for Amtrak travel.
When traveling on Amtrak, it is important to have all of the necessary identification requirements in your possession. Just as the ticket is vital for travel, proving that you are the passenger expected to board is also essential. Valid photo identification is required to board Amtrak. It is also needed to obtain, exchange, and refund tickets. When storing baggage, checking baggage, and sending Amtrak shipments, I.D. is required. Acceptable forms of ID must be current and may include government-issued photo identification, driverís license, passport, health ID card, military photo ID, Job Corps photo ID, and student identification.
When preparing to tote along your belongings, you should know that each passenger is allowed a maximum of two carry-on bags, and three checked bags. More on Amtrak and baggage.
Food, Alcohol, Medicine
For those who donít feel like purchasing the food and snacks offered on an Amtrak ride, you may bring your own food and beverage onboard. You should know that Amtrak personnel are not allowed to handle your food in any way, so refraining from microwavable or refrigerated items is highly recommended. As for alcoholic beverages, they are served in most Dining, Lounge, and Cafť Cars, but you may also bring your own as well. Your private stock of alcoholic drinks is only allowed in Sleeping Car accommodations, and is not allowed in public areas.
If you should need to bring medicine or have special health concerns, such as diabetes, you should carry your prescriptions with you when you board. It is important not to store your medicine in checked baggage because you will not have access to them while en route. If you should have any special dietary concerns, you should prepare to bring alternate selections in case the train cannot accommodate your special needs.
Since most Amtrak trains have a first-come, first-serve policy, you should expect to pay attention to boarding calls if you have a particular preference. On some trains, the conductor may assign seats. More on Amtrak seating.
Extra Comfort on Amtrak
When traveling on Amtrak, there are plenty of items that can make a trip more enjoyable. This pre-departure concern may especially come in handy when toting younger children along for the ride. Personal items can go a long way in helping to pass the time and reduce the boredom met with long-distance train rides. A deck of cards, travel games, and board games are great for both solitary and group moments. A personal CD or DVD player can help pass hours and hours of time.
For the talkative, a cell phone keeps passengers in contact with family and friends. When taking the scenic route to your next destination, a pair of binoculars is pretty fun to play with. Cameras and video cameras help capture the memorable moments that occur on a train ride. Younger passengers may appreciate crossword puzzles, crayons, and coloring books, while a stack of magazines or a good novel can help adults catch up on their reading.
When preparing for a ride on Amtrak, making a pre-departure list and sticking to it can make your travels before, during, and after much smoother.
More on Amtrak