For the record, this is an unsolicited post. I believe train travel fits in with my mission of sustainable transportation, and furthermore, it’s just more fun. Enjoy the ride. 😉
If you’re a follower of my blog, you know I love riding Amtrak for my work as well as my recreational travels across New York State and beyond. It’s a comfortable way to get from point A to point B without having to be stuck behind the wheel of a car. I can relax, get work done, and see the scenery of the beautiful New York countryside.
So many people, however, wonder why I choose to take the train instead of a plane or car. Here are six reasons I prefer Amtrak over flying/driving when I travel. For these points, I used a trip to New York City from my hometown in Rochester New York as an example.
1. Planes Aren’t As Quick or Easy As You Think.
To travel by Amtrak to New York City from Rochester it takes about 7 and a half hours. By plane, it takes about one. But it doesn’t really. Here’s why…
When you take a plane from Rochester to NYC, you have to get to the airport an hour or so early. Then there is your hour plane ride. Once you arrive, you have to navigate your way through the insanity of JFK to find the baggage claim. Then you wait for your baggage. By the time you leave the airport, you’ve spent at least 45 minutes to an hour there. THEN it’s typically about an hour commuter rail ride into the city before you finally arrive. By the time you get into New York City, your trip has taken closer to 4 hours and you’re already exhausted from running around terminals and getting to and from airports.
When I ride Amtrak, I arrive at the train station in Rochester a few minutes before the train arrives, hop on the train and go. I sit comfortably and do my work and when I arrive in Penn Station, New York City, I am already in the middle of downtown instead of an hour outside of it. Easy to use, comfortable and convenient. While flying is still a bit faster, it’s more hassle and is not THAT much faster when you consider all the above.
Let’s talk about comfort on Amtrak. The seats are huge and cozy. No need for a seat belt. You can recline or sit upright, fold the tray table down and get some work done while the countryside passes by. You have more legroom than you could ever want.
Speaking of want, you want Wifi and power outlets? You’ve got it. How about if you want to get up and move around? Amtrak has a cafe car you can walk to with booths to sit and work, play games or enjoy some food and drink.
Get a cup of coffee or a Jack and Coke, or anything in between. A danish for breakfast, wraps for lunch, a burger for dinner and a multitude of snack options.
A plane is INSANELY restrictive. Even though it’s an hour in the air from Rochester to New York, it’s still cramped and uncomfortable in every way, not to mention you’re still running around terminals, waiting at baggage claims and running to catch commuter trains into the city from the airport.
Sometimes, business can pop up quickly and I need to be in New York City within a week. Or maybe I just want to be spontaneous and take in a Broadway show this next weekend. Amtrak DESTROYS air travel with regard to cost, especially when booking last minute. I just checked out a flight verses a Amtrak from Rochester to New York City and back. If I wanted to book a week from now, the lowest round trip plane fare is $260. Amtrak is $126. Even if I book a month from now, the best plane fare is still $176. If you’re traveling with a significant other, the savings is $260 if you book a week in advance, and $100 for a month in advance. Take Amtrak and put that money toward a nice dinner out on the town!
4. Ease of Use
As stated before, I can arrive at the station minutes before the train arrives. In Rochester Station, parking is free. There is no TSA, no removing of shoes or putting belongings in a bin. Your ticket? No problem, once on the train, the conductor will scan the QR code from the e-ticket Amtrak sends do your phone. There’s no need for baggage check as Amtrak allows you to carry on 2 pieces of luggage free of charge. You get on the train with your stuff, you get off the train with your stuff… couldn’t be easier.
While a nice view from above is cool, there is no better way to see New York State than by Amtrak. From Rochester, the train cuts through rural countryside, small towns, Western New York cities like Syracuse, Utica, Schenectady and Albany. The Mohawk River, the Erie Canal and the breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley guide you on your way. You “feel” our great state as you travel through it, instead of thousands of feet above.
6. Sure Beats Driving
Driving from Rochester to New York City takes about the same amount of time as a train when you consider that you have to stop for food, bathroom breaks… and you have to drive. A lot. You can’t get work done, you have to focus on the road the entire time… it’s not fun. And while the cost is less, especially when you add more passengers, traveling in a cramped car just isn’t a lot of fun!
Amtrak is, in my opinion, the best way to travel in New York State for business or pleasure. For more information on other New York destinations you can reach by train, please visit newyorkbyrail.com . They feature my blog in their annual publication 🙂