When it comes to traveling, it can probably be one of the most rewarding and liberating experiences. It is a time of learning, as well as self-growth, absorbing the wondrous depths that the planet Earth has to offer, beyond the things that surround us every day. Finding the time to set yourself free from the responsibilities in life can be tricky, however, if you are granted the chance and time, it can be one of the more special decisions that you come to make.
If one of your 2018 plans is to see the beautiful and historical things that America has to offer on a dime, then you are going to love this supremely affordable travel idea.
Have you ever heard about the man who traveled cross-country on a $200 train trip?
This story became viral last year in January and had since then been shared thousands of times. This trip is possible, and the story is also true. But, it does not address how cheap travel is a bit like making a deal with the devil.
The whole thing started when Derek Low took the train Amtrak from San Francisco to New York City, a 3,397-mile distance, passing 11 states in 2011. He posted about the experience on his blog, sharing highlights like the Sierra Nevada, the Rockies, the Colorado River.
Even though the cost only covers regular coach seating for the whole trip, you can get meals, as well as drinks from the onboard café. You can kick back and absorb the scenic trip, crossing off the famous landmarks and views which are renowned worldwide. But, there is no access to showers. And, for those that remember from the explanations from before, the entire journey takes four days. Four days, no showers for anyone and no personal space.
By avoiding breaking the bank, this trip is going to take you through most of the continental United States, in a lifetime trip which would otherwise cost you not just more money but more time. And about how you can get started on this phenomenal deal, you can see Low’s details.
Do you think that sounds too good to be true? Well, for a little over $200, you can buy one ticket for the direct California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited routes. If you want to extend the trip, as well as you are willing to pay more, you can follow Derek’s lead. He paid only $429 in 2011 for a 15-day rail pass so that he could stop, as well as spend time in the cities he passed along the way.
In order to get the best views, Derek sat in the “Sightseer Lounge car,” which features floor-to-ceiling windows and comfy chairs. The journey also features narration from historians and park rangers along the way, so that the passengers can learn about the areas that they are passing.
Although Lakeshore Limited trains have Wi-Fi onboard, the California Zephyr does not. That means that travelers will spend at least 50 hours racking up data charges in order to communicate with the world outside the train – in the place where it is possible to pick up a cell signal of course.
While it is certainly not a luxury train experience, it is still a fun way to see some of the best landscapes and cities in America. If you buy tickets at these prices, you just have to be prepared to sleep in your coach chair and forgot showers for a couple of days.
Also, an important thing for those that can handle all of the conditions of the train for four days you should bear in mind that the journey may take longer than four days. Lakeshore Limited service arrived on time only 56.3% of the time over the past 12 months. California Zephyr performance is slightly better, arriving on time about 70% of the time.
For travelers that are willing to sacrifice both comfort and time, cross-country Amtrak could be the best way to go. However, for those that are sticklers for things like on-time-arrivals, public hygiene, and personal sanity, there are flights from San Francisco to New York which are roughly the same price.