[Amtrak US #2] Choosing the right USA rail pass

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/amtrak.com

First step for USA train trip… after you made up your mind to go on a trip of course, is choosing the right pass for YOU.

There are three kinds of passes, depending on the duration of a trip: 15, 30, 45 days. You can take a quick look here. Unlike Eurail pass, USA rail pass is not ‘unlimited.’ It has limited number of ride segments. ‘Segment’ is a term used by Amtrak that is similar to the ‘number’ of rides, but a little bit different… will explore more on this on following posts shorty.

For now, this is the simple info table of three passes. Prices are final including tax (I wasn’t charged for any extra.)

15 days

30 days

45 days

Segments

8

12

18

Price (adult)

$459.00

$689.00

$899.00

Price (child 2-12)

$229.50

$344.50

$449.50

I am planning for one month of trip so it seemed pretty obvious to choose 30 days pass. But at the last moment I kind of hesitated between 30 days and 15 days because I found out there is separate California Amtrak pass!

California pass is for 7 days of four one way rides and Amtrak sells it for $159. (You can look it up in here. However, not like USA rail pass, you cannot purchase a California rail pass online, you have to call Amtrak 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or travel agencies.) Depending on the itinerary, it looked like it might be better to combine 15 days USA rail pass+7 days California pass.

But I decided to stick with 30 days pass because

  1. 30 days pass was cheaper when you consider ‘per day’ price:
    *simple comparison
    15 days USA rail pass+7 days California pass= $459+159= $618—> $618/22 days=$28/day
    30 days USA rail pass=$689—>689/30 days=$23/day
  2. I am planning to travel all the way north to Oregon (Portland!) and Washington (Seattle!) before I go back to Korea.

If you are planning to end your trip in California, 15 days USA pass+7 days California can be nicer because absolute price (though not per day price) is cheaper.

Ok, next step is actual purchasing of the pass(es). So let’s get the credit card ready and head to… 🚂the website. 

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