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10/11/2018 3:23:50 PM

The 3 best rail vacations for October 2018

Traveling by train offers many advantages. Not only does it allow you to see the countryside, but you can relax, chat and even imbibe en route.

In other parts of the world like Europe or Asia, traveling by train is much more common than in the United States. Which is a shame  as the US is fortunate enough to boast one of the most incredible and diverse landscapes in the world. It's not for nothing that "America The Beautiful" is our unofficial national anthem.

And so, courtesy of Vacations By Rail, here are three train trips for October 2018 that celebrate America. The group offers voyages that link up to cities and regions, offering completely pre-planned itineraries. I’ve listed the base price which doesn’t include meals; please see their website for more details.

If you aren’t interested in travel packages, you could easily customize aspects of the itineraries to make your own trip. Amtrak offers a number of routes across the United States, including long distance overnight trips on The California Zephyr, Crescent, Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Auto Train services. Check them out here.

“ Rail travel is best for those who view the ‘Journey As The Destination,’” says Fritz Gilbert, a rail travel aficionado behind the blog, The Retirement Manifesto. He says that one of the real benefits of rail travel is that you are able to have "real discussions with strangers." However, when planning a trip Gilbert advises that "time flexibility is important, as freight delays are common."

Traveling to Montreal via train is a perfect time to catch the North East's fall leaves changing color

Montreal By Rail

Traveling to Montreal via train is a perfect time to catch the North East's fall leaves changing color.

As upstate New York’s leaves change color, this trip will take you from Manhattan along Amtrak’s Adirondack line through mountains and the Hudson River Valley, across the St. Lawrence River and arriving at Montreal at night.

With the Vacations By Rail package, vacationers get two full days in Montreal with a planned itinerary including a Montreal Hop On/Hop Off sightseeing tour, before heading back to New York via a 12-hour boat ride.

If you are not booking through the rail vacation package company, you could organize a fun few days in the Quebec city using this Canadian travel blogger's itinerary, a yummy food-based guide and the city’s own tourism website.

New Orleans Express

Travel down the spine of America by train next to the Mississippi to arrive in New Orleans to experience the city's famous melting pot of cultures.

Travel down the spine of America by train next to the Mississippi to arrive in New Orleans to experience the city's famous melting pot of cultures.

Cost: Starts at $1,075 per person with 

Length: Six days

Departs from: Chicago 

Best for: Americana-obsessed travelers

Kicking off in Chicago for a night, this trip takes travelers down the spine of the United States straight from the Windy City to New Orleans. Amtrak’s City of New Orleans line offers accommodations en route, so you can fall asleep on the Great Plains and wake up in NOLA.

The Vacation By Rail package includes hotel stays on either end of the trip, as well as sightseeing tours and a jazz cruise along the Mississippi River. If you want to customize your own trip, check out this sightseeing itinerary,  this foodie one as well as the city's official tourism website.

Grand Canyon Tours

Travel by train to the Grand Canyon and wake up to one of the most stunning views in the United States.

Cost: Starts at $809 - $1,045 with Vacations by Rail, depending on length of tour and departure city

Length: Four to six days.

Travel by train to the Grand Canyon and wake up to one of the most stunning views in the United States

Hitting up America’s most famous landmark The Grand Canyon, this itinerary offers departures from Los Angeles and Chicago on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. The overnight journey brings vacationers to the southern rim of the Canyon where they then have a few days to explore by themselves. Depending on where you hop on, you can return to Los Angeles or Chicago.

This itinerary is easily customizable by pairing an Amtrak ticket with a few nights at Grand Canyon National Park. As with any National Park, there are numerous hikes, activities and information available on their official tourism website.

Or…book a short distance train trip via train

If you are intrigued by rail travel but the thought of an overnight trip gives you the heebie jeebies, consider booking a short trip by rail to test out the experience.

Ciara Johnson, a travel blogger and influencer, recently used the hop-on, hop-off Napa Valley Wine Train while touring vineyards.

If you are intrigued by rail travel but the thought of an overnight trip gives you the heebie jeebies, consider booking a short trip by rail to test out the experience.

If you want to try out rail travel, consider a short trip like Ciara Johnson. The blogger and influencer recently cruised Napa Valley by rail.

“I...enjoyed the experience because I could truly sit back, relax, and take in the scenery,” said the 25-year old in an email. “I also loved the old-school charm and nostalgic feeling of traveling by train.”

Even a short trip allows the ability to unwind and see the scenery. Gilbert says that, “Watching out the window becomes mesmerizing, it's such a rare chance to truly slow down…From the prairies to the mountains to the coastline, there's beauty in every landscape if you take the time to look for it.”

Pro-tip: pack snacks for short train trips . Although many of Amtrak’s dining cars offer good food, shorter lines often only have a snack car. Gilbert says that while it offers sustenance, they are often be overpriced. He says that "some routes are downsizing meal service to boxed meals."/.

  ( VNF/Forbes )
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