I am looking for advice on an Amtrak vacation for 2 sons and parents. I would like to see the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Glacier National Park. Any advice is appreciated as I have No Amtrak Experience or National park experience.
I am 53 years old and just had my first train ride. I went from Indianapolis, IN to Minot, ND with Amtrak. Unfortunately, a lot of the trip was at night and you can't see much then. The people were very friendly and helpful. I researched their website- www.amtrak.com -and called the toll free number (800-usa-rail) to ask the questions that the website did not answer. If you are close to an Amtrak station, you can go there and ask for a booklet. Happy traveling.
I would buy the National Parks Pass at the first park you go to! It costs $50 up front, (less if you are a senior, I think) but will give you free admission to all of the parks you listed--for you and your family! All of the popular parks have admission in the $10-$20 range, so the parks pass is a great option if you are visiting more than one. It is good for a year too, so you can vist other historic sites in your area for free too!
With two sons and a free itinerary, I would suggest taking the Empire Builder out of Chicago. There are movies and activities in the lounge car and you'll meet a lot of interesting people. Whitefish ,MT. will hook you up with bus service to Glacier and Yellowstone. Eat most of your meals in the lounge car-it is half the price of the diner,but DEFINATLY eat breakfast in the dining car. If you travel coach that is how to save money.If you get a sleeper all meals in the dining car are included!
Remember-Amtrak is for the person who is NOT in a hurry to get to their destination. It IS pure enjoyment just watching America go by and Heaven for this railfan
Several years ago I traveled with my 7 year old daughter on the Amtrak from North Carolina to Iowa, the trip took three days and two full nights.
I was a young widow with very little money but did want to travel home to Iowa from the holidays. What I did was this: Ask the waiter for a cup of hot water and a spoon you can mix up your instant oatmeal, tea, instant soups, coffee etc. The hot water, the sugar, and the liquid coffee creamer is mixed nearly half and half with your free water to substitute for your milk in your oatmeal and also a spoon to stir with are free so your only cost will be the tea bags, instant coffee, instant soups etc. Make sure you bring a baggie full of crackers. If there is powdered creamer dissolve it in your hot water that is free!
All this instant things can be made in hot water - good luck! Enjoy your trip the frugal way that I did!
ziploc bags full of instant coffee
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