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A Look At Amtrak Trips for Seniors (Train Travel for Fun!)

Summary (TL;DR):

Amtrak train trips have a lot to offer seniors who enjoy travel with flexible options, lots of fare choices, and tons of destinations. Amtrak trips are often more enjoyable for seniors because you can enjoy the travel itself in addition to your destination.

It’s a good time to be a senior citizen.

Seniors, especially those who are retired, often have a lot of free time. And these days, thanks to modern health care they’re usually in good shape too. Many seniors have good health, wisdom, and the chance to take advantage of free time to finally see more of the world.

Travel can be cheap and cheerful, or luxurious, it’s up to you.

While college graduates are often happy to travel by Greyhound, buses aren’t ideal for those who are a little older.

You could drive and set your own schedule.

Or you could take Amtrak!. For many, Amtrak is a go-to choice and it’s easy to understand why.

Amtrak trips for seniors start at train stations like this one

Fast and Fun Travel By Train

Many seniors prefer to spend their retirement days travelling and seeing the world.

Traveling by train is fast and fun. It can also be far more convenient than traveling using other methods. The Acela Express train travels at speed up to 150 miles an hour.

Travel to any new place can be stressful and difficult no matter what your age. But, travel is doubly stressful when you are a little older, for many reasons:

  • While many seniors are still fit a lot of the time, you may tire more easily and not want to walk long distances.
  • Waiting around may be an issue especially if you need to take medication at specific times.
  • You might find yourself a target for crime since there is the perception they you more likely to have things worth taking.
  • If you still have a job or family responsibilities, you need to be more stable and rigid in your schedules.
  • Maybe you are less comfortable with technology, e.g. ticket booking apps and maps.
  • You could also be used to a certain level of comfort. You’ve worked hard for decades and don’t want to ‘slum it’ when traveling.
  • Driving requires a lot of concentration and is mentally taxing – and physically exhausting – when going long distances.

Of course, some of the above challenges could be applied to younger travelers and families too. It’s one thing for a backpacking graduate to hitchhike and bus their way across the country. But if you’re looking to relax and unwind then you don’t want to be staying in hostels.

And, who wants to lose most of their trip to travel time.

Trains vs. Other Modes of Travel

The Greyhound bus is slow. You’ll also be packed into close quarters with a bunch of strangers. Plus, there is no room to roam.

Coach tours with premium tour operators are more comfortable than taking a Greyhound. But, this means that you have to travel to someone else’s schedule in a rigid way.

Driving means you can’t switch off and enjoy the travel. Plus, you’ll need to get in and out of your car frequently for rest breaks.

Flying is another option. Flights are fast and they can often be affordable. However, they come with their own challenges. While the actual length of a flight to another state could be quite short, you have to deal with getting to the airport, going through security hassles, and waiting at the gate. The whole process of checking in, flying, collecting your baggage at the other side (assuming it arrives) and then getting out of the airport at the other side can take a huge chunk of time out of your day.

Amtrak offers a convenient solution to those problems. Travel by train is fast and convenient and it can be affordable too.

Amtrak Superliner train car with the mountains in the background

Isn’t Train Travel Expensive?

A lot of people have the mistaken idea that travel by train is expensive. It’s true that if you travel in Business or Premium it can be expensive. Full price flexible tickets are expensive too. But there is a wide variety of ticket options and fares.

For example, a midweek ticket to travel from Los Angeles, California to Tucson, Arizona can cost $374 for a Superliner Roomette. But it costs as little as $38 for a Saver ticket!

The travel time for that Amtrak trip is around nine and a half hours. That’s a long time, true, but it would take longer on a Greyhound. There are also fewer options for transport times too.

Why Should Seniors Consider Travelling by Train?

There are many reasons seniors should consider train travel:

Senior Discounts

Amtrak offers a lot to senior citizens including a ten percent Senior discount on most fares. (Saver and Flexible fares aren’t included but Saver tickets are incredibly inexpensive anyway). There are also discount options for those with disabilities and their caregivers.

Easy Booking

Amtrak makes it easy to book since you can buy online or buy tickets at the station too.

Unlike some other companies, prices are almost always the same whether you buy online or at the station. There are also a handful of online-only special offers so it’s a great idea to sign-up on their email list to get notifications about these deals.

Accessible Trains and Travel

Amtrak offers accessible trains and there are lounges for people to relax in at the stations.

There are station services available too. So, you can get help with navigating the station and finding your train should you need it.

Serving the Whole of the US

Amtrak has stations all over the US. This means that you can find a great vacation no matter what your tastes.

There are some destinations that are very popular with senior citizens, though, such as:

  • Washington DC – A trip to the capital is a must if you’re interested in history and culture.
  • Yellowstone National Park – Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to this iconic national park.
  • Yosemite National Park – This is another must-visit destination for nature-lovers.
  • San Francisco – Enjoy the sights of San Francisco and soak up the atmosphere of the Pacific Coast.
  • Seattle – Everyone should visit at least once. Travel from Chicago to Seattle and you get to take in the Lewis and Clark trail along the way.
  • Las Vegas – A trip to Las Vegas to see the shows and place some bets will make for a nice trip at any time of year.
  • Hollywood – California is warm and varied; do the walk of stars, then head to some of LA’s beaches to relax
amtrak train in Santa Fe station

Amtrak Getaway Travel Packages for Seniors

When you travel with Amtrak, you can simply book a ticket to your destination. Or, you can also take advantage of one of the travel packages that they offer. These packages have train transportation and accommodations sorted out for you. All you have to do is show up at the train stations on time.

RELATED GUIDE: Great Senior All Inclusive Vacations

Take, for example, the Northern Rail Experience. This is a nine-day trip which currently (at the time of writing) costs $1549, and takes riders from Chicago to Seattle, then to San Francisco, then back to Chicago, along a lovely scenic route. Guests will spend five nights on board Amtrak and three nights in hotels. There is a dinner included as well as CityPASS or sightseeing tickets in Seattle depending on the time of year.

RELATED GUIDE: Exciting Adventure Vacations for Seniors

Amtrak does not skimp on accommodations either. You get to choose from Hyatt, Crowne Plaza, and other similar caliber hotels so you’ll be comfortable and get a great night’s sleep. You also have flexibility with the itinerary so you can choose to do the traditional attractions such as the Space Needle. You even have time to go further off the beaten track if you want.

Other Benefits of Amtrak Trips for Seniors

Amtrak has something to offer for anyone. From national park visits for those who still have a lot of energy, to casino experiences or scenic rides around some picturesque parts of the north, there are plenty of choices.

There are trips to suit any budget, too. Savvy shoppers can put together their own trips and save a lot of money with saver tickets for their travel and discounted hotel stays.

Those who just want the convenience of someone else planning their journey can opt for packages which are still good value for money given the quality of what they offer.

Final Thought

Rail travel offers the perfect balance of speed and convenience at a price that puts it within the reach of almost every senior citizen. Whether it’s a cross-country trip to visit the grandkids, or the start of the next big adventure, the train will get you there.

To learn more about planning an Amtrak trip for you or a senior, visit Amtrak.com

Tell me about your experiences travelling by train. Any destinations you recommend? Let us know in the comments below. And, if this guide was helpful, please share on your favorite social media account!

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About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

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