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I am going to be traveling by train very soon from Los Angeles to Seattle Washington to visit some family for a special event. I have never travelled very far distances and I have definitely never taken a train so I am very excited. I also have a lot of questions about what to do or what to expect. Does anybody have any advice or experiences or tips that they can offer for a newbie traveler like me?

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I love travelling by train. They are much more comfortable than planes, and you avoid all the rush, the crazy safety controls, the tiny space for your legs, the turbulences, people getting hysterical because they are afraid of flying... Just a relaxing soft clatter perfect for reading, chatting or sleeping.

 

Don't have any suggestions, only enjoy the trip! :)

 

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7 hours ago, Monica4 said:

I am going to be traveling by train very soon from Los Angeles to Seattle Washington to visit some family for a special event. I have never travelled very far distances and I have definitely never taken a train so I am very excited. I also have a lot of questions about what to do or what to expect. Does anybody have any advice or experiences or tips that they can offer for a newbie traveler like me?

I have the same dilemma ... planning train journey from  New York  to Montreal ..hmmm 

Decisions  ..decisions.... :wall:

 

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My wife and I always travel on holiday by train.  Yes, travel light. Are there meals on the train, or do you have to provide your own?

Book the best seats you can afford.  We went to Hamburg from London, changing at Brussels, Cologne, and Hannover, and we booked first class - it was not much more expensive than standard. 

We have travelled from London in the past for holidays in Prague, Cologne, Paris, Lyon and Avignon, and a three city holiday taking in Prague, Budapest and Munich - all by train.  Love it!

 

See The Man in Seat 61 for ideas too!

https://www.seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm

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Ah...the Coastal Starlight. Awesome beautiful scenery, you won't be disappointed. Here is a review link to one of Amtrak's most spectacular routes.  https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g28926-d219566-r504839245-Coast_Starlight-California.html#REVIEWS

 

I've only rode Amtrak from the Seattle area down to Eugene OR. as a child to visit our Grandparents. Expect some delays...sometimes they arrive early.

 

Lot's of things to do in Puget Sound, Pikes Place market, Music project Museum, Space Needle, Museum of Flight, and if you have some time to spot some Orcas, a scenic ferry ride from Seattle to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Lopez Island and Friday Harbor have very nice warm congregations.  

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14 hours ago, Monica4 said:

I am going to be traveling by train very soon from Los Angeles to Seattle Washington to visit some family for a special event. I have never travelled very far distances and I have definitely never taken a train so I am very excited. I also have a lot of questions about what to do or what to expect. Does anybody have any advice or experiences or tips that they can offer for a newbie traveler like me?

That ride is one of the prettiest in the shortest amount of time that you can take in the US!  :wub:  The first real vacation I ever took was an Amtrak trip back in 1990, just Adam and me (he was nearly 5 years old).  We took two weeks and rode from Chicago to the Grand Canyon, stayed a couple days. Then from Arizona to Los Angeles, stayed a few days.  From LA to Seattle -- that was my favorite part! Then from Seattle back to Chicago.

 

You'll see so much beautiful country on your route.  Over 300 miles is RIGHT on the coast in view of the Pacific.  You'll see forests, waterfalls... *sigh*.  People on trains are so nice, much more mellow groove than air travel.  It's easy to get up and move around, sit in the observation car for awhile, if you can.  Have a glass of wine and sit and relax.  I had some beautiful music thru headphones as a soundtrack to the visuals I was seeing.  

 

Train travel is my very favorite.  I wish it was as popular and efficient here as it is in Europe and Asia (the downside here is that Amtrak shares tracks with freight and freight has the right of way.  It doesn't pay to have to be somewhere on time; delays on Amtrak are legendary).  It's a wonderful way to travel and see the land!

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23 minutes ago, Hope said:

That ride is one of the prettiest in the shortest amount of time that you can take in the US!  :wub:  The first real vacation I ever took was an Amtrak trip back in 1990, just Adam and me (he was nearly 5 years old).  We took two weeks and rode from Chicago to the Grand Canyon, stayed a couple days. Then from Arizona to Los Angeles, stayed a few days.  From LA to Seattle -- that was my favorite part! Then from Seattle back to Chicago.

 

You'll see so much beautiful country on your route.  Over 300 miles is RIGHT on the coast in view of the Pacific.  You'll see forests, waterfalls... *sigh*.  People on trains are so nice, much more mellow groove than air travel.  It's easy to get up and move around, sit in the observation car for awhile, if you can.  Have a glass of wine and sit and relax.  I had some beautiful music thru headphones as a soundtrack to the visuals I was seeing.  

 

Train travel is my very favorite.  I wish it was as popular and efficient here as it is in Europe and Asia (the downside here is that Amtrak shares tracks with freight and freight has the right of way.  It doesn't pay to have to be somewhere on time; delays on Amtrak are legendary).  It's a wonderful way to travel and see the land!

 

Wow! what a vacation Uani... Someday...

 

One of the reviewers on Trip Advisor mentioned that the route might be cut in the future because of Federal budget constraints!

Did you and Adam reserve a roomette or a sleeper room ? What would you recommend ?  

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You won't really need one for your journey -- it's not that long.  For as expensive as sleepers are, I'd only spring for one if I was on the train for more than one night... and maybe not even then, depending on my finances.  I'm not surprised about the threat of cuts... the US government is not interested in train travel at all. :( 

 

Just dress comfortably and bring a couple of pillows.  You'll be just fine! :) 

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3 hours ago, Hope said:

That ride is one of the prettiest in the shortest amount of time that you can take in the US!  :wub:  The first real vacation I ever took was an Amtrak trip back in 1990, just Adam and me (he was nearly 5 years old).  We took two weeks and rode from Chicago to the Grand Canyon, stayed a couple days. Then from Arizona to Los Angeles, stayed a few days.  From LA to Seattle -- that was my favorite part! Then from Seattle back to Chicago.

 

You'll see so much beautiful country on your route.  Over 300 miles is RIGHT on the coast in view of the Pacific.  You'll see forests, waterfalls... *sigh*.  People on trains are so nice, much more mellow groove than air travel.  It's easy to get up and move around, sit in the observation car for awhile, if you can.  Have a glass of wine and sit and relax.  I had some beautiful music thru headphones as a soundtrack to the visuals I was seeing.  

 

Just wondering if your vacation trip up the coast, gently coaxed you and Adam to eventually make the move to Oregon ?

It's supposed to be 105 today in Portland...Aye...aye...yay,  Too bad we are not a little closer, we would take you on a short train ride to the sound,and a ferry ride up a small congregation in the Islands for the weekend...:D

 


Edited by Precision
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11 hours ago, carlos said:

I love travelling by train. They are much more comfortable than planes, and you avoid all the rush, the crazy safety controls, the tiny space for your legs, the turbulences, people getting hysterical because they are afraid of flying... Just a relaxing soft clatter perfect for reading, chatting or sleeping.

 

Don't have any suggestions, only enjoy the trip! :)

 

I agree that train travel is about the best form of transport when you are on holiday.  It is all of the things mentioned above.   I travel to work every day by train and even though it is not as relaxing as when on holiday, it is a great way to see the lovely countryside where I live and gird up your loins mentally for the day ahead.

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39 minutes ago, Precision said:

 

Just wondering if your vacation trip up the coast, gently coaxed you and Adam to eventually make the move to Oregon ?

It's supposed to be 105 today in Portland...Aye...aye...yay,  Too bad we are not a little closer, we would take you on a short train ride to the sound,and a ferry ride up a small congregation in the Islands for the weekend...:D

 

 

Absolutely.  My travels thru the Pacific Northwest impressed the beauty of the land upon me.  My time in Seattle even more so, along with the nice vibe of the people.  I felt then that I wanted to move to this part of the country at some point in life.

 

In 2003, we attended a gathering of online friends (a different discussion board) that happened to take place in Portland.  Once here, experiencing the vineyards, waterfalls, being an hour away from either the ocean or the mountains, no sales tax and not having to pump my own gas anymore, I was sold.  Adam was accepted into a carpenter's apprenticeship program here and we moved in 2004.  The rest is... well... history - for better or worse.  *sigh*

 

It's still the most beautiful place to me.  I'd like to remain living in this part of the world even in the Paradise.

 

Oh... and I will need a distraction this weekend.  It will be ridiculously sad for me.


Edited by Hope
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Hey Canon Beach or Seaside is really nice this time of year, or better yet just a little farther, sample exquisite cheese and ice cream at the factory in Tillamook.

 

It's a good thing that Adam doesn't have to worry about work right now, there is a shortage of quality finishing and framing carpenters in the trade.


Edited by Precision
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Yes, well -- Adam has other, more pressing worries. :(  But he's working on construction at Intel right now, so at least that's something. 

 

I was just at Cannon Beach and Seaside this past Saturday; it was lovely.  But my running buddies are out of town this weekend and money's too tight to really go too far, anyway.  I'll be hanging at home on my own.

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Amtrak is a nice way to travel. I have done this twice to go from Florida to New York - most recently, that is how I traveled to NY to work at Warwick.

 

Make sure you you look up the size and weight requirements for luggage. Make sure your luggage fits these and you will be fine.

 

Some of nice things to also keep in mind:

  • Amtrak does not consider your pocketbook and/or tablet as luggage
  • Each coach seat has power available to keep your stuff charged
  • You can bring your own food and drink with you
  • If you bring an insulated cup (or any other cup) you can most likely get ice for free from the Club Car
  • There is a car with tables and bench seats that you can sit in if you get tired of your seat
  • Most of your stuff is "safe" when you go to the restroom or the club car
  • There is overhead storage for your carry-on
  • If the train empties as you near your destination, they usually do not mind if you change seats to get a better view

Think of questions you have and ask them - those of us who have traveled by Amtrak will try to answer them

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9 hours ago, Hope said:

That ride is one of the prettiest in the shortest amount of time that you can take in the US!  :wub:  The first real vacation I ever took was an Amtrak trip back in 1990, just Adam and me (he was nearly 5 years old).  We took two weeks and rode from Chicago to the Grand Canyon, stayed a couple days. Then from Arizona to Los Angeles, stayed a few days.  From LA to Seattle -- that was my favorite part! Then from Seattle back to Chicago.

 

You'll see so much beautiful country on your route.  Over 300 miles is RIGHT on the coast in view of the Pacific.  You'll see forests, waterfalls... *sigh*.  People on trains are so nice, much more mellow groove than air travel.  It's easy to get up and move around, sit in the observation car for awhile, if you can.  Have a glass of wine and sit and relax.  I had some beautiful music thru headphones as a soundtrack to the visuals I was seeing.  

 

Train travel is my very favorite.  I wish it was as popular and efficient here as it is in Europe and Asia (the downside here is that Amtrak shares tracks with freight and freight has the right of way.  It doesn't pay to have to be somewhere on time; delays on Amtrak are legendary).  It's a wonderful way to travel and see the land!

I am that much more excited now!! I can't wait it sounds so nice! I did choose to travel by train because of the atmosphere. Everyone says it's much more laid back than to travel by airplane. Less of a hassle. 

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On most Amtrak trains, if you are traveling "coach", they do not have "pre-selected" seats - you are supposed to sit where the conductor directs you to sit .... however, you can ask for a window seat and, if one is available, they will try to give you one.

 

Monica, you did not say, are you riding "coach" or did you get a "sleeper"?

 

Also, you did say:

On 8/1/2017 at 9:03 PM, Monica4 said:

I also have a lot of questions about what to do or what to expect

:wave: Please feel free to ask those questions :yes:

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We rode from Alabama to Los Angeles (LA) about 13 years ago, and we got a sleeper from New Orleans to LA. I remember enjoying the scenery and the time to relax and it seemed like every 3 hours we were in the dining car taking advantage of the delicious free meals that came with the sleeper.

 

I also remember sleeping on the top fold down bed and being close to the ceiling. And the cars hitting together and scaring me in my sleep. The train was often behind schedule, I think we missed our connection in LA.

 

I feel like Los Angeles to Seattle is a pretty long trip-without looking it up I'd guess it's two full days. You might not be able to get off the train much, so bring what you need. 

And if you're paying for your meals, keep in mind it might not be cheap. Maybe they have their menu and prices online so you can get an idea beforehand.

 

Have a nice trip!

Tell us how it went with any suggestions you have. 

 

 


Edited by boodles

Clarify that LA is Los Angeles.
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The train takes about 35 hours to go from LA to Seattle.

 

Depending on when you go and what seats are available, a room with a sleeper costs between $675 and $1377 while a coach seat is between $154 to $233 - and this is one way.

 

The coach seats recline so that you can sleep in them.

 

The sleeper does include the meals with their high price while the coach seats do not and you have to pay extra for any food you buy. The food in the diner car is "chef cooked". The lunches cost $10+ per meal and the dinner cost around $25 per meal. While the club/cafe car has less expensive prices ($5-$8) this food is prepackaged and microwaved if served hot.

 

The trip from Florida to NY is only half that of LA to Seattle. We took our own "snack food" and something to drink. I got ice from the club car to make my drink cold. Cheese and crackers do not have to be kept cold and you are allowed to have two "carry-on" bags in addition to the two you can "check" (for a total of four bags without any extra charge) and these do not include a "purse/pocketbook" - so it is not really a problem to take food and drink .... in fact, it is no mode difficult than it is to take food for the Convention.

 

Might mention (my daughter commented on this) that, when using the restroom, "it is not like trying to use a small closet" (her words) - as the restrooms on the train have sufficient room in them - and, there are two restrooms in each coach car.

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On 8/2/2017 at 7:55 PM, Qapla said:

On most Amtrak trains, if you are traveling "coach", they do not have "pre-selected" seats - you are supposed to sit where the conductor directs you to sit .... however, you can ask for a window seat and, if one is available, they will try to give you one.

 

Monica, you did not say, are you riding "coach" or did you get a "sleeper"?

 

Also, you did say:

:wave: Please feel free to ask those questions :yes:

I will be riding coach. On the upper level. Most of my questions are getting answered. I was wondering what would be some things to take with me, what can I expect once I am actually on the train, and any other tips. So far I'm getting lots of great tips and it's giving me a clearer picture. Thank you for that by the way about asking for a window seat I will definitely mention it. 

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