If you’ve been following my traveling exploits in the past, then you know that I’ve taken Amtrak a lot to travel to Chicago. Because of the pricey parking in the Windy City, I opt to travel by train or plane, so that I don’t have to pay a mint to house my vehicle daily. Sometimes I can catch a cheap price on airfare, but most of the time, especially during the summer, it isn’t cost effective to fly to Chicago from St. Louis. So for me, taking the train is the next best thing. Recently, I was contacted by Amtrak to try a complimentary round trip train ride from St. Louis to Chicago and back, while sharing my experiences with photos on Instagram and other social media using the #AmtrakGram hashtag. Of course I said yes, because it is something that I do already.
I opted to use the Lincoln Service train departing from St. Louis. My experience traveling to Chicago was pretty much perfect. We left on time and also arrived on time, even though there were a few stalls in the service (we had to wait for a freight train to pass us and then when we got to Chicago, there was a short wait before we could pull into the station). I tend to enjoy train travel because it is very peaceful. Unlike plane travel, with all of the stress of going through security, finding your seat, and then taking off, the train is quite different. It’s more relaxing. You are allowed two carry on bags free of charge and you can put in it regular sized items. You also don’t have to worry about powering down your devices—I pretty much stayed on my iPhone and tablet the whole entire way to and from Chicago.
And did you know there are power outlets at every seat? If you are a business traveler, the train may be more convenient for you. Most train routes also have free WIFI on board, so you can stay plugged in during your trip.
There’s also a Cafe Car filled with goodies to keep you content during the trip. Longer routes have actual dining cars and sleeping cars too.
I was already a fan before I participated in #AmtrakGram, but being a part of it means I get to share what I like about train travel with the masses. For short trips and excursions, it is the perfect way to go. It’s affordable (a Coach Class Round Trip ticket between St. Louis and Chicago averages about $75 when purchased in advance), worry-free, and a great way to travel.
I am not sure if I would take a trip on a train that is longer than the 5 and a half hours it takes to get from St. Louis to Chicago, but for short jaunts to nearby cities, Amtrak is a very viable travel resource for me.
Here are some pictures from my train ride below:
A selfie taken at about 7:00am just as we were entering Illinois from Missouri.
The Cafe Car has everything from breakfast sandwiches to pizza to veggie trays—everything you need for a short trip.
Look, Ma—power outlets!
Seating on the train is similar to the plane, but a little more leg room, even in Coach.
Home of Lincoln. ‘Nuff said.
Have you ridden on Amtrak recently? What are your thoughts?
Amtrak Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a free trip courtesy of Amtrak for review purposes. The opinions, photos, and videos are completely my own based on my experience.