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Old 05-16-2007, 02:24 PM   #1
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Default Rail Passes for US Citizens?

I'm trying to find a cheap way to travel by train from DC to Vermont, possibly stopping in New York. On Amtrak's website they have some pretty cheap rail passes to travel the East, but they're not available for US Citizens. So when I searched for ticket prices to each place we might like to stop, it's a bit more expensive than just the pass with absolutely no freedom to change our schedule.

Is there anything for US citizens to travel their own country for a decent price and flexibility, or should we just not make any reservations and get tickets when we decide to leave?

I really wish we had decent transportation.
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:26 AM   #2
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I understood that there are rail passes available to US citizens, not necessarily as cheap as the non-citizen ones, but still a viable option. My computer's too slow to check the site now, but be sure to read through all the special passes and discounts - I think they sometimes offer 2-for-1 fares, as well. More than the website though, I'd call the office and see what they suggest. Fares on the east coast are notoriously high, though, so there might not be much available.

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Old 05-17-2007, 07:06 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by NitemareHippieGirl View Post
I'm trying to find a cheap way to travel by train from DC to Vermont, possibly stopping in New York. On Amtrak's website they have some pretty cheap rail passes to travel the East, but they're not available for US Citizens. So when I searched for ticket prices to each place we might like to stop, it's a bit more expensive than just the pass with absolutely no freedom to change our schedule.

Is there anything for US citizens to travel their own country for a decent price and flexibility, or should we just not make any reservations and get tickets when we decide to leave?

I really wish we had decent transportation.
When you're comparing the price of the city-to-city tickets versus the pass, are you using the price for the pass available to US citizens? Or the international one? The international Northeast 15-day pass is $299, while the 30-day US citizen pass (covering all of US/Canada) is $899 (for students).

It would help if you can give your expected dates of travel.

Using random dates in June, I'm finding tickets from Washington, DC to New York for $67-$90...and tickets from New York to various places in VT (on both the Ethan Allen and the Vermonter) for $44-$60. A combined ticket with several days in NY came up for a total of $111. These are all one-way fares. Also, keep in mind that tickets on Amtrak are refundable and exchangeable for up to one full year - 10% fee for refunds in cash (or onto your debit/credit card), or 0% fee if taken in the form of a travel voucher - so they still leave you the opportunity to change your schedule if you decide to. It's often beneficial to book in advance though because rail fares often increase, like airfares, closer to departure (especially in the Northeast corridor, which is Amtrak's busiest).
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:30 PM   #4
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Perhaps I wasn't searching hard enough for lower fares. We're probably going to be travelling the last two weeks of June and the fares I found were about 120+.

The only pass I found was the International one which is obviously not available to me since I'm a US citizen. The other passes I found that I could buy weren't available in the East, only on the West coast and in North Carolina. I guess I'll start looking a little harder, although it didn't look like it would be that hard to get a train home if we did decide to change our schedule.

I'm completely unfamiliar with taking trains in the US, I've always flown. Hopefully it will all work out though, I think it'll be fun if we can find some decent prices.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:45 AM   #5
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I hope it works out - I've logged over 10,000 miles on Amtrak, and had a blast - it really is a great way to see the country.

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Old 05-21-2007, 12:29 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by NitemareHippieGirl View Post
Perhaps I wasn't searching hard enough for lower fares. We're probably going to be travelling the last two weeks of June and the fares I found were about 120+.

The only pass I found was the International one which is obviously not available to me since I'm a US citizen. The other passes I found that I could buy weren't available in the East, only on the West coast and in North Carolina. I guess I'll start looking a little harder, although it didn't look like it would be that hard to get a train home if we did decide to change our schedule.

I'm completely unfamiliar with taking trains in the US, I've always flown. Hopefully it will all work out though, I think it'll be fun if we can find some decent prices.
North America Rail Pass - $999, or $899 for Student Advantage (Peak)

The $120+ fares you had been finding may have been Acela trains, which are high-speed trains that are more expensive. You want Regional Service trains for the best fare, and those are the ones that are usually about $70.
If you can give me exact dates along with where you want to go in Vermont, I can see what's available and make suggestions for the best options. Of course, you'd be free to change your plans even after the tickets were issued, per my statement of Amtrak not charging a fee if you refund the tickets to a travel voucher.
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