Cross Country Train Trip on Amtrak

Riding the rails on a cross country train trip had been on our Bucket List for a long time. So when Amtrak offered to take us from Chicago to Los Angeles aboard the Southwest Chief, we jumped at the chance! It was an adventure of a lifetime that included eating Chicago style pizza in Chicago, going to the top of Willis Tower, watching the sunset over the Mississippi River, riding in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, and exploring beautiful Sedona, Arizona.

Though getting around on a train is much slower than flying in an airplane, it certainly has its advantages. We did not hear any announcements telling us to put away our laptops and cell phones and to return our seats and tray tables to their full, upright, locked positions. We didn’t have to check our bags. I was able to keep my luggage in my roomette and Sandi was able to keep hers in her private room that included her own private bathroom. Instead of pretzels and cookies, we were able to order entire meals from a menu. And best of all,  we enjoyed incredible ever-changing views as we rode across America’s heartland. Traveling by rail is something that we would absolutely love to do again and something that should definitely be on your bucket list if it’s not already.

Where would you like to travel by rail?

You can read more about our journey on Expedia’s viewfinder blog



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  1. Curtis Lanton says:

    This sounds like a great way to travel… In theory. However, when it comes to Amtrak, perception almost NEVER matches with reality. My top three WORST travel experiences have been with Amtrak, and as much as I love the notion of seeing the country by rail, Amtrak always find a way to disappoint me. *LeSigh*

  2. Rick Griffin says:

    Sorry to hear that Curtis. Overall we had a great experience with Amtrak. We did experience a few delays but from what we understand that is inevitable with train travel as track safety and maintenance are top priorities. Fortunately we were able to track estimated arrival times on our smartphones with the Amtrak app.

  3. Chip Burgess says:

    I have gone cross country on Amtrak three times in the last few years … Lancaster PA to Seattle ( Empire Builder) , Lancaster to San Fransisco ( California Cypher) and Lancaster to Los Angles ( Southwest Chief) . To Chicago it was either the Capital Limited or the Carndinal all were wonderful experiences meeting interesting people , surprisingly great food , comfortable accommodations and scenery that takes exceeds any you will ever see from a plane or car… A cross country train trip should be a checked item on everyone’s bucket list . I am not a paid spokesperson but a complementary trip would be welcome .👊👊👍😀🚅

    • Rick Griffin says:

      Thanks for the comments Chip! So glad you had a great great experiences. I’d love to travel with Amtrak again too! …and I’m not a paid spokesperson either:)

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