This past weekend, we skipped the traffic, and frequent stops for eating, diapering and restlessness relief on I-5. We did away with the crammed quarters, long lines, and endless rules of airplane travel. No, we didn’t stay at home this weekend. We went to Portland, OR. How did we get there? We took the train!
10 Reasons Why We Love Traveling by Train
1. You don’t have to drive!
2. No Traffic.
3. You can really enjoy the beautiful views. No worries of veering off the road while you catch a glimpse of a majestic mountain or serene lake.
4. No need to stop every time Bergen needs to eat, get his diaper changed, or just a break from the carseat.
5. Bergen is not strapped into his carseat. He is free to move (within reason), which is what he loves to do.
6. You can chat and mingle with our passengers in a more relaxed environment than on an airplane.
7. Bored in your seat? Take a walk from car to car. The wide aisles and vestibules provide lots of space to roam.
8. The bistro car has food, drink, and additional seating.
9. Plenty of time to relax & do something you love to do. Just a few of the things we saw other passengers doing: reading, knitting, crocheting, playing cards, catching up on emails, & enjoying the company of traveling companions.
10. The price is right.
A Few Tips for Train Travel
Based on our experience with Amtrak Cascades.
- If you want your seating assignment ahead of time, check out “business class“. It will cost more money, but may be worth it if you don’t want to wait in line at the station for your seat, want more leg room, fewer passengers in your train car, and priority boarding (among other things). We didn’t opt for business class for this trip, but may do so in the future.
- If you decide to travel coach, get to the station as early as possible to get in line for your seating assignment. When traveling South, the views are best on the right side of the train.
- Children under 2 ride free with an accompanied adult. They do not get an assigned seat, BUT it doesn’t hurt to ask when checking-in as there may be extra seats. We asked at the Seattle station on our way down to Portland, and were given 4 seats: “family style”– 2 sets of seats facing each other with a table in the middle!
- The PCC offers a free companion coupon for travel on Amtrak Cascades. This year the deal was for trips between November 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012.
- Be prepared! Bring items with you to make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Binoculars, laptops, smart phones, ipods, books, e-readers, playing cards, crayons & paper, & maps are just some of the things we saw other passengers using to keep themselves amused. There is free wi-fi access on the train.
- The Amtrak Cascades line runs from Vancouver, B.C. to Eugene, OR with many stops in between!
Slaed and I both agreed: Train travel is actually relaxing, and fairly stress-free. We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Portland, and Bergen was as happy as can be! The train station in Portland is close to Downtown & the Pearl district (definitely walkable), and the lightrail makes for easy transportation to points further out.
If you’ve traveled by train, share a little bit about your experience!
What did you like (or not like) about it?
What other tips do you have?