Last month, the boys and I took Amtrak for the first time! For those international readers, Amtrak is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the adjoining United States. Whether traveling around Northern California for business or pleasure, the boys and I wanted to skip the traffic and parking hassles and take the train!! Amtrak Capitol Corridor provides convenient, frequent and affordable daily service between the Sacramento region and the Bay Area, which is where we were heading (Fremont, CA | East Bay)
The travel plan was to take Lyft from our home leaving our car, to drop the boys and I to the Sacramento Valley Station. The station is only a freeway exit away from our neighborhood for the cost of our Lyft was only ($7). Next, the boys and I waited just a few minutes until it was ready to board. Our trip to the Bay Area, is always to visit mama & papa. Our visits back to the Bay tend to be every 3 weeks or so, traveling by car. This time, we wanted to take train, since daddy was in San Francisco for business having his car. I would drop off the boys to my parents, then take BART to San Francisco, to meet with my husband and have a small weekend getaway.
For you married couples out there with young children, this is how my husband and I get our date nights every month.
I had already printed out the ticket for Amtrak, which the boys fought over plenty of times while walking through the terminal. Over and over again, one boy wanted to hold the ticket, because they wanted to meet the conductor. For families with kids, taking the train can be both an exciting and affordable way to travel. It may not be the fastest way to get to your destination, but it’s perhaps the most comfortable and least stressful when you are traveling with children. Both my boys are a good age where they are able to sit still, and play on their own. But if you have young ones that may need a little more attention here are some tips to smooth your journey:
- Take snacks & games
- Arrive early
- Bring a stroller
Snacks, games, action figures, coloring books are a staple. Every parent with whatever aged child boarding Amtrak will definietly need this. I too, needed snacks and water to survive the 2.5hr ride.
Arriving early, allows you the parent to relax, and not rush. The station may have long walkways/passageways for passengers to walk – to reach the train platform. Arriving early gives you that extra time walking with your children, and setting up your stroller, if needed to do so. This gives you time to explore the station with your children, and get familiar with any public restrooms, or possibly grab a coffee and snacks from the station’s cafe or vending machine.
We arrived at your station about 30 minutes ahead of time so we can get settled. As for me, 1 parent, with 2 children, I do get a little bit of travel anxiety, so arriving early, helped me cool down, and figure things out following the train stations signage. Before leaving for the station, make sure to download Amtrak’s app for iPhone and Android phones and check your train’s status. If your kids are really curious, you can even access our live train map and track where your train is. It’s pretty cool, I have to admit.
Amtrak was such a amazing experience. The boys sat together and played quietly with their action figures, and puzzle books, as mommy sat across the aisle reading my book, and listening to music. I look forward to our future rides to and from Sacramento to the Bay Area.
Have you traveled taking Amtrak?! If so, comment below! How was your experience? Where did you travel to?