I recently had the pleasure to ride Amtrak this week. I have taken trains all across Europe in the past, yet I have never taken a trip on Amtrak. Amtrak is an undiscovered gem in American transportation, and I highly recommend giving rail a try.
Like many of you, I have about had it with the airlines. The ticket prices continue to climb, the trips and connections are increasing, and the seats are shrinking. Jet-Setting, is just not that cool anymore.
On the other hand, Amtrak has inexpensive tickets, huge seats with power outlets, and plenty of room for all your luggage, and has revived my travel enthusiasm. This week I traveled from Orlando, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina. The trip took 8 hours, which is the same travel time by plane, and only 1.5 hours longer then by car. A one-way ticket cost less then a tank of gas, and I just set back and spent the time watching movies on my IPod.
Besides the time savings, the cost savings, and the comfort, I had the chance to interact with people. Unlike the airport, where you spend your time talking to people to see if your flight is delayed, I was able to talk to fellow travelers about where they were going, and where they had been. These are the types of conversations that can only happen on trains. Unlike airplanes, you are able to converse in calm voices over the gently hum of the tracks. On the train, you can walk around, request a reservation for dinner, or pick-up a cocktail in the dinning car. You have the opportunity to see America.
I recommend that everyone seek out the rail opportunities in their community. You may find another way to travel for your next business trip or vacation.