5 Tips for Train Travel in the USA 2022 – Rail Travel Vacations – veranda.com

The new golden age of train travel has arrived.
A new golden age of travel hasn’t arrived as quickly as we’d hoped, but luxury train travel is certainly seeing a resurgence, with industry insiders anticipating it to become a

top trend for 2022 travel itineraries. While rail travel often has us dreaming of luxury excursions across the pond (we’re jonesing for a trip aboard the new Wes Anderson-designed train car for Belmond’s British Pullman), traveling via train is an amazing way to discover new-to-you parts of the U.S. and be reminded of how beautiful our country is.
"With airports busy once again, travelers are considering alternate modes of transportation that offer comfort and style," says Heather Leisman, president of Vacations By Rail, one of North America’s leading suppliers of rail travel itineraries with offerings around the world. Besides seeking trips that don’t require the hassle of canceled flights, extra-tight quarters, and endless security lines, Leisman also points to nostalgia as a guiding force in train travel seeing a glamorous new era.
"Traveling by train harkens back to a simpler time when rail travel was synonymous with a great adventure ahead," says Leisman. "The romance that once surrounded a rail journey is still there, coupled with more options for privacy, more comfort, and the ability to move about the train and get a snapshot of America as you go compared to other modes of transportation."
We asked Leisman and her team for their top travel tips when it comes to embarking on a rail vacation in the U.S. From how to prepare for your trip to some of the most exciting itineraries being offered this year, we hope you get inspired to journey to one of your top travel destinations for 2022 via railway.
While traveling via train may seem like the perfect way to save vacation days and wrap up a project without missing a beat, Leisman recommends allowing yourself this time to be unplugged for several reasons.
She says that train travel allows you to see parts of the country that are inaccessible by other modes of transportation. You’ll see glorious, changing vistas that can’t be experienced on the interstate or fully enjoyed at 30,000 feet. This means that your journey will take you through remote parts of the country where there may not always be a reliable WiFi connection or mobile service.
"Plan to ‘disconnect’ and enjoy the quietude, immersing yourself in the changing landscapes." says Leisman.
In the same vein as planning to be "OOO" while on your rail vacation, it’s also important to note rail vacations take longer to get from point A to point B than if you were flying—and often if you were driving—but that’s the whole concept. This is not a rushed trip, and it’s all about providing a unique, immersive experience rather than an efficient one.
"A rail vacation is incredibly relaxing and begins the moment you step aboard," says Leisman. "[You get to] leave the driving and navigation to someone else, and let the train whisk you across the prairies and plains to cosmopolitan cities or national parks. Long-distance trains offer even more comfort, acting as both your hotel on wheels and quality restaurant, serving hot meals for hungry travelers."
Whether you’re on a 12-hour journey or on the rails for 12 days, it’s important to consider the various accommodations the train of your choice offers to ensure comfortable, stress-free travel. Depending on the size of your party, you may want to consider booking at least one private sleeping quarter—even if you’re just riding for the day—to enjoy extra room, enjoy some peace and quiet, and feel like you can be socially distant.
While Leisman encourages train travelers to avoid the temptation to be on the phone, working, or watching Netflix for the entire duration of the trip, she advises boarding the train with your electronic devices fully charged to ensure you can enjoy downloaded books, movies, and other content at your leisure. Especially if you aren’t in private sleeping accommodations, outlets can be hard to find, out of order, or too far from your seat. We also recommend bringing along a few exciting new reads so you’re not so tempted to fire up your laptop or smart phone.
While booking a train for your next domestic getaway is a fun way to try out a trip on the railways, Leisman has a few recommendations for getting the most out of your excursion. She says some of the best train trips on the country are also some of the most iconic.
One of the most legendary trips is aboard the California Zephyr as part of Vacation By Rail’s 8-day California Zephyr with Yosemite National Park itinerary. This journey takes visitors from Chicago, through the Colorado Rockies, into San Francisco, and finally, to Yosemite National Park for a diverse experience of the West’s biggest cities and most breathtaking natural wonders.
Another top trip is the 14-day America’s Great National Park tour, which takes place on The Empire Builder and follows the pioneer route through the Northern Prairies. Starting in Chicago, this trip journeys through five national parks, six states, and plenty of awe-inspiring scenery. Other top journeys from Vacations By Rail include the 5-day Rails to Rim trip that ventures from L.A. to the Grand Canyon as well as the 11-day Great Lakes & Trains tour, which tours Michigan’s Great Lakes with plenty of exciting stops along the way.
Whether you’re looking for a trip that is fun for the whole family or even a solo trip that will bring creative inspiration for your next venture, booking a rail vacation is something all ages can enjoy and there are plenty of high-end options to ensure it is a fabulous, rejuvenating excursion from start to finish. Just a little research will lead you to the perfect trip for your party’s needs, preferences, and comfort levels.
Lauren Wicks is a Birmingham-based writer covering design trends, must-have products, travel inspiration, and entertaining. She’s obsessed with globally inspired textiles, hosting dinner parties, and French cocktails. 

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