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Riding on Amtrak for the First Time

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If you're planning to take a trip, using Amtrak is a great way to travel.

You can ride, enjoy the scenery and relax. The stress of driving is eliminated.

But for those who may be riding Amtrak for the first time, or the first time in a long while, here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your Amtrak trip.

Tips for your First Amtrak Ride

  • Before leaving home, you need to make sure you bring proper identification with you, it is mandatory. You can use a government issued photo ID like a driverís license or passport. Make sure you have your ticket. You cannot board the train without it. Make a copy of your ticket and leave it at home, it will be very useful if you happen to lose your ticket.
  • To make sure you are comfortable, you should bring in your carry on bags any medications you will need during the entire time you will be on the train. You will not have access to your checked bags, and Amtrak does not make any exceptions. If you need ice for any medication you take, call ahead of time and they will make arrangements for you.
  • You are allowed to bring your own food and beverages on the train. You will not have access to any heating devices, so pack your food accordingly. You may bring alcohol beverages on the train but there are limited places where you can drink them.
  • You may consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip. This will help if any unforeseen problems cause a delay in your travel or if there are unexpected mishaps during your trip.
  • For your luggage they allow both carry-on and checked. For your carry-on bags you can bring two pieces. Your purse, diaper bag or briefcase is not included as a carry-on bag. These bags must weigh 50 pounds or less. They are very strict on this point. The maximum size of each bag is 28 x 22 x 14 inches. Each piece must be properly tagged with your information. For your checked bags, you will be allowed three bags. They are to be sturdy and be able to withstand normal loading procedures. They also have a 50-pound limit. The size allowance is 36 x 36 x 36 inches. In order to check in or claim your luggage, you will need your identification.
  • Most Amtrak seating depends on which train you are actually on. Most seating, though, is on a first come, first serve basis. Depending on the route, you may be able to upgrade to business class, sleeping quarters, or quiet cars - you will need to check prior to your arrival.
  • To make the trip more relaxing, bring some items from home to help occupy your time. You may use your laptop, play music or watch a movie with a DVD/CD player (provided you have headphones). It is also suggested you bring things to occupy your children like a deck of cards or coloring books and crayons. Remember your cell phone and camera. You can also bring a pillow and blanket.

These are a few tips to make your first ride on Amtrak more enjoyable. Donít forget - if you have any specific questions, contact Amtrak directly. Enjoy your trip!

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