One of my most challenging travel goals has been to spend a night in every state in the U.S. I gave myself a year to do this, and even though I was excluding any of the states that I’d been to already, I was unsuccessful. Obviously, this was a wildly unrealistic goal. I would have had to travel for several months to get it all done in one shot, rushing it rather than enjoying it. And let’s face it, there was no way I was going to spend that much time on the road. I love to travel but I also love sleeping in my own bed.
So, when I discovered the Amtrak rail pass, I thought it would be perfect. I could write or sleep while I travel, things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I drove. On top of that, they allow service dogs and pets under 20 lbs on board, which meant Chelsea could join me. It seemed like the ideal option, at least at the time. More on that later though.
Different from Amtrak’s multi-pass option for commuters, rail passes are specifically designed for those interested in travel. I imagine it was popular in the ‘80s when flying was less affordable and their now dated form of booking long trips was considered innovative.
Amtrak has three options where you pay a set price for a certain number of trips, what they refer to as segments. A segment is considered a train ride from one city to another, however, if you have to switch trains or take a bus to get to your destination, that will use an additional segment.
They have cheaper prices for kids, but this is far from a luxury trip and you’d be better off leaving any children at home. Plus, kids are kind of annoying in general and their appeal only seems to decrease when they’re stuck in small, crowded spaces for long periods of time. Dragging them along for several weeks on a train is just cruel to both them and the other passengers.
I ended up choosing the 30-day option because I knew it was probably about as long as I could stand being on the road without the things I love like a reliable wifi connection and trains that stick to a schedule. In case you missed the passive-aggressive tone in my last remark, know that if you use Amtrak, you will not get anywhere on time. Not a single one of the trains I took left or arrived on time after I got out of New York. And I’m not talking a ten or fifteen-minute delay. The trains were hours late, so while there are plus sides to traveling by train there are definitely negatives as well. But again, more on that later in later posts.
This is just an introduction to a series of pieces on my 30-day train trip. You can expect to read all about my thoughts on traveling by train with a dog, the struggles I had with planning the trip and hopefully how you can avoid them, the cities I visited, and all of the dog-friendly experiences I had along the way!
I’m Rose! Get lost with me as I travel the world with my spoiled dog Chelsea in hopes of accidentally uncovering a few hidden gems along the way. Far from being considered a planner, it’s not uncommon that we stumble upon both the best and the worst of what this world has to offer.
From advice on how to make traveling with a dog easier to the inside scoop on what it’s really like to travel alone as a woman, this travel blog is far from ordinary. Follow us as we explore the smallest corners of the globe, meeting new people and hopefully not getting murdered along the way.