Amtrak, Grand Canyon

Amtrak and the Grand Canyon: What You Should Know

Amtrak Missouri River Runner train#313 pulling...
Image via Wikipedia

First off, the Grand Canyon trip I was planning via Amtrak is a scratch. I’ve got a new plan in place now, but I’ll get to that in a future post. At this point, I feel the need to put some info out there to help out future vacay planners. So, here are a few things I’ve learned about planning a trip to the Grand Canyon via Amtrak.

  1. Amtrak doesn’t schedule its trains around you. Or any other sane person, for that matter. I don’t know how they come up with their schedules, but it’s no wonder more people don’t take the train. So, if you’re tight on time, Amtrak may not work for you. For example, I needed to fit my vacation into 7 days or less, but you simply can’t do the Grand Canyon from Wisconsin in less than 10.
  2. It’s expensive. I figured it would be, but wow. As I was totaling up an estimated cost, we would have gone way over the $2000 or less I had originally budgeted when I got my tax refund this year.
  3. Book your trip months in advance… several months. When it became apparent the Grand Canyon just wasn’t going to work for us this year, I took another gander at the Amtrak Vacations website to find a closer destination. And, just when I got my heart set on Glacier National Park in Montana, the Amtrak travel adviser informed me I should have booked this time last year for this year’s vacation.

I’m not saying skip the Grand Canyon or even Amtrak. In fact, both are still on my long-term travel to-do list. But, don’t get your hopes up until you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Call an Amtrak vacation adviser first thing to ensure the plans you’re making don’t get too out of hand.

I’m still taking my kids to the Grand Canyon someday, and I intend to take the train to get there. It just seems like a perfect way to see the country, where getting there is half the fun. It’s also something I want to make sure my kids have a chance to experience at some point in their lives.

So, what are we doing instead of the Grand Canyon this year? Well folks, we’re going to Disney World!  More details to come…

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