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You can travel by train easily and comfortably with these expert travel tips. Traveling by train can be an amazing experience with these 10 travel tips.

Have you ever ridden Amtrak? I did and LOVED it! I purchased a business class ticket (which I recommend) for my trip from San Diego to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles (the ticket is easy to read, not like a train ticket in France). While of course I can’t speak for every single train in their fleet I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and here are 10 tips for riding Amtrak I hope you’ll find helpful!


tips riding amtrak

 10 Tips For Riding Amtrak 

  1. If you start in San Diego, you can get the seat of your choice.
  2. Business class offers complimentary snacks and wine.
  3. The bathrooms on board are large but the train tends to rock, so be careful.
  4. If boarding after San Diego, purchase your assigned seat so you won’t have to hunt for a place to sit.
  5. The train is air-conditioned and can get cold.
  6. Business class has tons of leg room.
  7. Each window has curtains so you can control your view.
  8. Each seat has an outlet.
  9. The train serves meals.
  10. There is no time to get off the train in between stops at most stations.

These 10 tips for riding Amtrak will help you travel better!

1. If you’re getting train from San Diego it’s very easy to get good seat. It’s the start of the line so you get first choice if you don’t buy a reserved seat. However, just because you’re sitting there doesn’t mean someone won’t come along on a later stop and make you move if they have purchased the seat you are occupying.

TIP: The side opposite the San Diego station gets ocean views along the route.

2. In business class you are given complimentary snacks, wine and water.

The snack pack I was given in business class

3. There are bathrooms on board but be careful as train rocks a bit which may throw you off your balance.

4. If getting on at later stations, buy ticket online to guarantee you get the seat you want. This is important because the train gets filled and if you don’t have an assigned seat you will have to hunt for a place to sit.

Compare buses, trains and flights

5. The train has wonderful air conditioning and can get chilly so bring a travel blanket and/or scarf.


6. In business class there is LOTS of legroom.

tips for riding amtrak

7. Each window has curtains which means you can always have a lovely view.


8. There is one outlet at every seat.

9. You can buy food on the train if snacks are not enough.

10. You don’t have much time at stops so please don’t get off and think you have enough time to hop back on.


What tips would you add to this list?


  1. Just to clarify one point, the Surfliner doesn’t have assigned seating. Business class passengers get guaranteed seating, which just means there will be a seat for you, but it’s not assigned. Coach seating is first-come-first-served, and can be standing room only (this is pretty specific to this route, most Amtrak trains do guarantee you a seat with any ticket). They’ve added a second business class car recently (which lots of people don’t realize is there, so is generally not crowded), so it’s usually not too hard to get a good seat in business class. I’d highly recommend business class if you’re traveling at a peak time, especially as the trains seem to be getting more crowded from my limited experience.

    I had to drive to L.A. last weekend because I was going to need my car, and I really, really missed the train.

  2. I traveled from LA’s Union Station to San Clemente.
    It was so crowded…some standing room only.
    I was sorely disappointed.

    You see, I was expecting an observation car
    with eating booths to hang out in
    and an assigned seat for every passenger.
    I expected this
    !across the U.S.

    I loved the experience so much
    I doubt I will ever fly cross country again!

    BUT… the surf liner was a completely different experience.


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