Last month I had a meeting in Seattle so we decided to bring the whole family and make a trip out of it. We’ve always wanted to take the train down the coast so we decided this was the perfect opportunity. We flew up to Seattle, had a few fun days to explore the city and then boarded a train in Seattle in the morning. It was kind of an interesting adventure so I thought I would share it here in case anyone wants to try it. The airplane tickets at the time were around $100 each way and the the train tickets were $75 each way. The train from Seattle to San Francisco takes 24 hours so we decided to upgrade to the sleeper car. (I was worried about the kids being noisy at night and disturbing other people.) The sleeper car was about double what the plane tickets would have been (but it also includes meals). After a couple of hours on the train we were joking that we could have been home already. While the train was really cool, it isn’t the most time or cost efficient way to travel. Make sure you are doing it for the experience or you’ll be disappointed.
We arrived at the train station about 25 minutes before the train left. There were only a few other people in line so getting on the train was so easy. There was no taking off your shoes or putting everything through x-ray machines. It happened so fast that I can’t remember but I think we just walked through a metal detector. Within 5 minutes of arriving we were settled in our sleeper cabin. After we tucked away our bags the agent came by to offer us Champagne and Martinelli’s. It was so fun and we were all excited. The family sleeper cars felt spacious. I was worried I would feel cramped but that wasn’t the case.
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The scenery was beautiful and breathtaking. It is so great to curl up next to the window and watch the country go by, this was my favorite part. The train traveled all along the water as we headed south to Oregon. It felt really relaxing. While an airplane is a lot faster, the train felt a lot more comfortable.
The best part about the train is you can get up and walk around to do stuff, and there is actually stuff to do. The observation car is a car that is floor to ceiling windows. You could go and relax and watch the scenery, it was really beautiful. They also had a Theater car where they were showing Arthur Christmas, which kept the kids entertained. At one point Roman got a little antsy so we walked through all the cars to the caboose to look out the back window. There was also the dining car that served meals. The agent came around before every meal and made a reservation. The food was fine, edible but not amazing. But everything was served fancy like you were at a restaurant. It was fun to eat with a view of Mount Hood out your window.
When it was time to sleep the agent helped us fold down our beds into double bunk beds. I didn’t get a picture of this but it felt roomy and comfortable. Kate had recommended we bring our own pillows and I was glad we did. The train ones weren’t awful but the room had the vibe like a hostel so it was nice to have some comforts from home. If I was ever going to take a longer trip I might even bring a blanket too.
We had a great experience and have even been talking about taking a train trip across the country sometime. I would love to hear if you’ve had any train experiences traveling in the U.S. P.s.: Find some train travel tips at the end.
Tips for Traveling on the Train
-Get a sleeper car if you can splurge.
-Bring your own snacks.
-Bring your own pillow (and blanket if you have space.)
-Plan your trip so you see the beautiful parts when there is light out.