Train Travel Tips
When traveling as a couple, consider reserving two roomettes across the hall from each other instead of one big bedroom. Yes, if you’re in a Superliner sleeper, you’ll have to go “down the hall” to use a restroom, but no one will have to climb up into the claustrophobic upper berth, each passenger can have privacy when he or she wishes, and (depending on the route, this is the important one) you’ll be able to see out of both sides of the train.
There are only two kinds of travelers: those who are traveling light and those who wish they were. (Giving credit where it’s due, this is a Rick Steves quote.)
Most travel agents can book a flight for you in no to time, and many are up to speed when it comes to booking trains running on the Northeast Corridor, but most travel agents don’t know much about booking long-distance trains. To see if yours is rail-savvy, ask him/her to explain the difference between a roomette in a Superliner sleeping car and a roomette in a Viewliner sleeper? (Answer: Viewliners have a toilet in every roomette; Superliner roomettes do not. Viewliners have a window for the upper berths; Superliners? No window
Long-distance trains often run very late. My best advice: avoid making connections. Overnight and continue the next day instead. Of course, starting in October, Amtrak plans to run all long-distance trains three days a week. My advice stands, unless you cannot afford to spend the extra time and money on a two day layover.\
When traveling by train in Russia, China or Japan, be sure you know the number of your train. With the Chinese characters and the Cyrillic alphabet, that could be the only way to identify your train.