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Tricks and Tips for Amtrak Travel

America by Amtrak, Coast-to-Coast and Border-to-Border

Tricks and Tips for Amtrak Travel

July 5 - 22, 2016

Photography and text by Carl Morrison

(Click any image for a larger copy; Click BACK in your Browser to return to this page.)

iWatch and iPhone

My "America by Amtrak" was the first trip where I had an iWatch to go with my iPhone.  I found it invaluable for Temperature, Day, Date, sunrise/sunset, high temp. for the day, low temp for the day, and most importantly Location as you move from town to town.  Also  Time which automatically updates as you enter different time zones.

I found it useful to photograph my watch's face so I could remember the things listed above:

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iPhone Apps that are useful during an Amtrak Trip.

Amtrak  Amtrak.jpgCheck if your train is arriving on time.  Even if your train is 2 hrs. late, how does it affect the arrival time at your destination.
For that quick, reasonably priced ride from the Station to the Hotel
Lyft  Lyft.jpg  For that quick, reasonably priced ride from the Station to the Hotel

Google MapsGoogleMaps.jpg  To see where you are on a map

Speedometer Speedometer.jpgKeep track of the train's speed with a map showing your location in real time.

Take Photos of Signs

Even though you may not use photos of signs other than as a location reminder for your photos, take photos of signs.  You may also use them to introduce a new section of your travelogue.

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Laptop with 2 backup drives

I take my MacBook Air computer for processing photos and writing reports on the road.  I have a cooling pad under it where I attach an external hard drive on each side.  The MacBook Air has a slot for the memory card from my camera for downloading the photos to both drives...saving computer memory.

Columbia "Blood and Guts" shirts

These quickdry shirts can be washed out in a hotel (or train) sink and hung to dry overnight or during the day.  They are very light weight and dry wrinkle free.

Columbia zip-off pants  (TRAINing Pants!?)

You can start the day with the legs on and take the legs off making walking shorts when it gets hot.  These pants are also very light weight and can be washed out in the sink and hung to dry.

DSLR with medium zoom (18 - 270 mm +/-) for shots from the train, and wide angle (10-20 mm +/-) for interior shots of train, hotel, and historic home rooms.

Small bag with wheels that does not look like a camera/computer bag small enough to keep in your train roomette or bedroom or at your feet in coach on the train.   I call it my "Toolbox"

Back pack 

Some areas you are better to have everything in a backpack rather than visible, like a camera.  A backpack also gives you both hands free for handling tickets or credit cards or cash from your wallet.  I have a decades old suede and leather JanSport backpack. (Vintage JANSPORT BACKPACK Leather Bottom Black)

 Swiss Army Knife

HuntsmanII.jpg  No problem carrying this onto the train in your pocket, but don't try to carry it into anywhere that has a security screening. When traveling by plane, put it in your checked luggage.  Click photo for link to price and description at  Why do I need a saw, I like to cut a walking stick when I am walking along the beach or in the woods.

Use the concierge's services in your hotel.

For our New Orleans stay July, 2016, I found the Holiday Inn's concierge very useful.  First for the Map she provided with the trolley routes and stops shown, as well as her pointing out other sites I was interested in like St. Louis Cathedral, the ferry to Algiers, and information about the Plantation Tour and Creole Queen dinner and jazz cruise.


Click the map for a full-sized copy.