Across the nation, over 650 million long-distance trips are made every summer. But with Amtrak’s new rail options and customizable vacation packages, you’ll be able to travel in style year-round.
Domestic travel is actually on the upswing here in the U.S., which is why Amtrak Vacations added 25 brand new rail-based vacation packages to their offerings. With these additional packages, Amtrak now offers around 350 different options. Even better, nearly all of the options can be tailor-made to fit travelers’ desires.
Frank Marini, president of Amtrak Vacations, stated that there are “an infinite number of variations. You can add, build, or change anything you want based on the customers’ needs.” He added that customers can begin their trip at any point and can end at any of Amtrak’s 500 station points. And because Amtrak also connects in Canada through VIA Rail, you aren’t even limited to staying in one country.
But the central attraction in this new program bundle is called Grand National Parks. Amtrak noticed how popular trips to the national parks were becoming, and wanted to add an option for those who wanted to travel to them by rail. The 13-day trip starts and ends in Chicago, involving stops at Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. Passengers travel on three of Amtrak’s most stylish trains: the California Zephyr, the Coast Starlight, and the Southwest Chief. The package includes hotel accommodations for eight nights and four nights aboard the train.
Surprisingly, Amtrak noted that the people who often buy these domestic trip packages are experienced world travelers. Marini noted that “in the past, domestic travel hasn’t been the sexy thing. It’s been eclipsed by travel to Europe or the Middle East. But now, because of the decline in Europe, many of these travelers are looking at [domestic travel]. Our travelers have traveled the world, but they haven’t seen their own backyard. They want to see it, but in different ways.”
Traveling by train is more than just transportation: it’s a historical experience. And people are seeking out these new traveling experiences in droves. In fact, 63% of Amtrak Vacations passengers are first-time customers.
But travel agents have been slow to catch on to the train trend. While agents are more likely to sell cruise vacations, Marini tries to show them that they’re missing the boat. Marini stated that, compared to the 23 million people who went on cruises in 2015, 31 million people travel on Amtrak every year. In addition, 307 million people visited a national park. Amtrak is hoping to hit the jackpot by combining the two; now travel agents just need to start promoting these trips.
For those already in the know, these train trips aren’t just a way to see the nation. They provide a sense of luxury and nostalgia that’s hard to find in any other method of transportation. One thing’s for sure: with these new packages, the company is definitely on the right track.