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A Vacation on a Train: Amtrak USA Rail Pass

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I have a tendency to not vacation well. I usually travel too far in too short a time. And I come home more exhausted than when I left. I certainly enjoy myself and end up with some excellent memories. But sometimes I just need to relax.

Another problem I have related to vacationing is waiting too long to take one. I am at that point right now. Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who is encouraging me to head out on a much needed holiday. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do. I’m taking a train trip.

I have wanted to take a long trip on a train for quite some time now. The idea of relaxed travel is so appealing. I can read a book. Or I can take a nap. Or I can just let the scenery roll by outside the window. All while I continue on to my destination effortlessly.

I recently discovered Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass program. It offers travelers the chance to save some money on their train rides. Instead of buying a single round trip fare, the USA Rail Pass is valid for unlimited travel within a region during a set time frame. You can choose to explore the East, the West or the entire United States on a 15 day or 30 day pass. The prices vary by region and also by season. But they are very attractive when compared to a standard fare.  For example, I priced a round trip from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR. For the dates I want, with my AAA discount, the fare is $660.00. But a 15 day West Region Rail Pass is only $369.00 for the same time frame. That’s almost a $300.00 savings!

The plan: make a loop around the Western half of the United States. But it is not to be.