A trans-American adventure, from one coast to the other is a classic travel-junkie's dream. Derek Low, a 24-year-old engineer from San Francisco, writes about how he got to experience this journey of a lifetime with a train ticket that carried him across the country in 15 days, for under $500. Railway networks once played a vital role in American transportation, but over time, passenger service has been dominated by airplanes and automobiles. As Lee demonstrates, however, USA still has a thriving railway network that can be used to take part in a scenic and historic voyage, even on a budget.
The 3,400-mile voyage would take 4 days to complete with no stopovers, however Low broke his trip into chunks–San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake to Denver, Denver to Chicago, and finally Chicago to New York. The entire trip could be made even cheaper, with fewer stops but there is something to be said for taking time to stop and soak in the amazing sights along the way. As Low explains, “traveling by train gives you a glimpse into the soul of America. The experience rewards you with far more stories and experiences and sights than you could ever witness alone in a car, eyes fixed to the road, or on a five-hour flight across the country.”
If you want to catch a glimpse of the real America, perhaps a meandering train ride through the heart of the country is the way to go. Low purchased his $429 ticket with Amtrak.