This Christmas, I decided to do something I had never done before, and rode Amtrak’s Silver Meteor Line from Philly to West Palm Beach and back. The trip was approximately 24 hours each way, and sleep was hard to come by. Although I was ecstatic when the ride was over, the trip definitely had its moments. Here are a few things I learned along the way.
1) If you’re going to bring a blanket, go all out: If you can fit it, a big blanket might help you get comfortable enough to catch at least a few hours of sleep- a good pillow is a must as well!
2) Bring snacks: Although the breakfast I bought in the dining was surprisingly good, it helped to have some snacks of my own.
3) Take advantage of the café/lounge car: Although your seat has much more legroom than a plane, it can still get cramped. The lounge car offers tables and plenty of space to sit, stretch, and relax.
4) Bring hand sanitizer and Emergen-C: No explanation needed
5) Utilize the stops: Between the 5-10 minute smoke breaks and the longer service stops, I took every chance I could get to walk around on solid ground.
6) Be courteous: You’ll most likely be seated next to the same person, and served by the same crew, the entire trip, so it’s best to make friends
7) Enjoy the scenery: For all the boring bits, there are some beautiful stretches of scenery, such as the wetlands of Georgia and the Chesapeake Bay
8) Bring movies, books, and podcasts: Outside of the Northeast Corridor you can forget about Wi-Fi, so come prepared (or face endless boredom/data charges).
I hope these tips help make your train journey as comfortable as possible, no matter how long or short!