Travel Tips for Stress-Free Thanksgiving Travel

Travel Tips for Stress-Free Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving is right around corner, and it’s the busiest time of year at Amtrak. Tickets sell out early, so first and foremost book your ticket as soon as possible. Once that’s done, all you need is a few  tips to ensure that your Thanksgiving travel experience is stress-free.


On our trains, you’re allowed two 50 lbs. bags for free! We’ll repeat that. You can pack two bags completely full of stretchy pants, holiday sweaters and leftovers up to 50 lbs. each totally for F-R-E-E. If you have three bags, you’ll need to check one. Please see an Amtrak agent or one of our (free!) Red Caps to help you check your additional bags. We also encourage customers who are carrying multiple bags to use the elevator whenever possible for safety and convenience during the holiday rush. See what else you can bring for free.

Download the Amtrak App

We’re pretty high-tech. We have free apps for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. That means you can plan, book and update your Thanksgiving 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 ticket right from the app.

Arrive at least 30 Minutes Early

Our stations are their busiest around the holidays. That’s especially true the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Turkey Day. First, check your train status before heading to the station. Then 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.

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. Lastly, parents traveling with young kids and passengers needing assistance can board their trains first. Simply speak to an Amtrak staff member for assistance.

Tag Your Luggage

All your bags 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 visible place on the bags.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

We’re not talking full-on pajamas, but breathable, stretchy clothing will make your train trip more enjoyable. Another piece of expert advice? Wear comfortable shoes. Shoes are required at all times, so it’s important to wear ones you can relax in.

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). This is no time for a dead battery.

Pack Your Camera

You’re going to be making a lot of Thanksgiving memories around the dinner table, but they also start the minute you step onto the train. From sunrises to sunsets, you’ll pass some amazing views when you ride the rails. Be ready to capture it all.

Follow the Golden Rule

There’s really no right way to ride a train, but a few simple courtesies will make the ride a more pleasant experience for everyone. Be respectful when using the phone or having conversations. Headphones are essential. Pack your bags in the overhead bins and not in the seat next to you.

Download your favorite movies, apps or podcasts

Load up your phone or tablet with a few movies, video games apps or podcasts to enjoy while you’re traveling. When it’s too dark to enjoy the scenery out the windows, these come in handy (especially for kiddos).

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