Top 10 Holiday Travel Tips

New York Penn Station

This holiday season, it's easy to have a stress-free trip. Follow these 10 holiday travel tips to arrive relaxed and refreshed this holiday!

1. Set a Meeting Place
If you're planning to meet someone at the train station, use the Amtrak app or Train Status function on Amtrak.com to keep them updated about your arrival time and train number. A true expert tip: Meet at a place away from the gate area so you can avoid the crowds near the platforms.

2. Bring Your Gifts
You can travel with up to 100 lbs. of luggage for free! On our trains, you're allowed two 50-lbs. bags, so pack one with clothes and toiletries and the other with presents for friends and family! Just keep in mind that sharp objects are not allowed in carry-on luggage for everyone's safety. Please see an Amtrak agent or one of our (free!) Red Caps to help you check your additional bags. Want to see what else you can bring for free? Go here.

3. Bring a Charger
Each coach seat has its own outlet, so be sure to bring your charger. You're going to be snapping lots of pics (tagging them #Amtrak) and taking advantage of our free Wi-Fi (on select routes) a lot. This is no time for a dead battery.

4. Bring Your ID
Make sure to carry a valid photo ID at all times since the conductor may ask for it when you're onboard your train. All your bags (and gifts!) also need ID tags, but we make that easy. You can pick up free luggage tags at your local station. Simply fill out your contact information and attach it in a prominent place.

5. Arrive at least 30 Minutes Early
Our stations are their busiest around the holidays. So make sure to build in extra time when you head to the station. Also, watch the monitors for your platform or gate number. Once it's announced, you can head that direction to await your train's arrival.

6. Download the Amtrak App
We're pretty hip. We have free apps for iPhone and Android phones. That means you can plan and book your holiday travel throughout Amtrak’s nationwide system of trains and buses straight from your phone. You can also check the arrival and departure status of trains and display your eTicket from right in the app.

7. Be Safe
Always be aware of your surroundings when you travel. That means stand back from the edge of the platform, do not leave your bags unattended, and watch your step when boarding and leaving the train or when walking between cars while the train is in motion.

8. Watch the Weather
Our service isn't affected by weather as much as our friends at the airport, but it can slow your travel plans. Make sure to keep an eye on the forecast and to check your train status at Amtrak.com or on our iPhone/Android app before leaving for the station. Also, every station and platform is different. If your stop doesn't have a covered shelter (we're looking at you, Klamath Falls) be sure to bring an umbrella!

9. Know Your Perks
Have you signed up for Amtrak Guest Rewards yet? It lets you earn points toward free travel (and lots more) when you ride. Most importantly, it's free! Also, some of our larger stations have special lounges for customers with sleeper car accommodations. Check here to see if you're eligible.

10. Board Early
Parents traveling with young kids and passengers needing assistance can board their trains first. Simply speak to an Amtrak staff member for assistance. Moms, you can even bring a number of items onto the train for free. Also, if you need help with your luggage, our largest stations offer free Red Cap service. They'll help you with over-sized luggage or extra heavy gifts.

Have other expert tips to share with holiday travelers? Share them in the comments below!

Read More All Aboard!10 Tips for Sleeping Overnight in Coach and Top 7 Games to Play on the Train

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