"Where do I begin?" This is the question that so many travelersask themselves as they prepare to pack their bags for a train trip- and it is also the paralyzing question that can lead to badpacking choices. Do not fall into this mental trap! Skip theconfusion and the indecisiveness by following this practical guideto Amtrak luggage, and learn how properly packed bags can be yourbest friend as you travel through the United States byrail.
Before setting out on your Amtrak adventure, check withyour rail specialist or your boarding and destination Amtrakstations to see if they accept checked luggage. Knowing this bit ofinformation can completely change the way you pack, as you will nowhave ample space for items you do not need immediate access to.Each traveler using checked baggage services is allowed two bagsthat weigh up to 50 pounds each and measure 75 linear inches, whichis the combination of length, width, and height. Two additionalbags of the same size can be checked for $20 each, or if your bagsare a little too big (between 76 and 100 linear inches), you canpay a fee of $20 each to bring them along.
What to Check
- Clothing for Your Trip
- Extra Shoes
- Full-sized Toiletries
- Non-urgent Medical Equipment
Did you know you can check other items in place of luggage, orin addition to luggage for an additional charge? Each checked itemmust be under 50 pounds but can include options such as:
- Golf Equipment
- Sporting Equipment
- Musical Instruments
- Baby Gear (i.e. pack and play or car seat)
Tips for Checking Your Amtrak Luggage
- Arrive at the station at least 45 minutes prior to your train'sdeparture time to ensure the staff has enough time to check andload your bags.
- Purchase inexpensive luggage tags and attach them to everythingyou plan to check. This will save valuable time in locating youritems when you reach your destination.
- Do not worry about rechecking your luggage at each station ifyou are traveling on a route with guaranteed connections. Much likeairline travel, Amtrak takes care of all luggage transfers andensures your checked items arrive at your final destination.
In addition to your two checked bags, Amtrak allows passengersto carry on up to two personal items of less than 25 pounds and twocarry-on bags of less than 50 pounds. The Amtrak luggage policystates that those passengers that are traveling with small childrencan also bring diaper bags, strollers, baby carriers or othercompact gear that does not count toward these four carry-on items.Keep in mind that all of these items need to be kept with you, inthe overhead luggage racks or under your seat at all times, so onlycarry on what is essential for your train ride, as space can belimited.
Suggested Carry-on Luggage for Daytime Journeys
- Jacket - The train's AC is typically high to keep allpassengers comfortable.
- Headphones - Listen to an audiobook or your favorite tunes, orjust block out the noise around you.
- Electronics - Bring along your Kindle, tablet, laptop or justyour cellphone for the ride. Whether you plan to get some work doneor to play games, these devices help pass the time when you havehad your fill of gazing at the landscape.
- Snacks - Depending on your departure time, some meals may beavailable on the train, and there are typically snacks available,as well. This being said, keeping a store of your favoritenon-refrigerated snacks (beef jerky, nuts, trail mix, oranges,apples, bagels, granola bars, single-serve bags of chips, candy,etc.) with you ensures you can munch whenever you would likewithout leaving your seat. Passengers can also bring small coolerswith cold snacks and drinks as a personal item, should theychoose.
- Camera - Amtrak's journeys are carefully planned to takepassengers through some of the most beautiful landscapes theirroute has to offer; capture them all.
- Alternate Power Sources - Outlets are not always available ontrains, so if you plan to use your electronics heavily onboard, itis a good idea to bring a spare fully charged battery or apre-charged power adapter as part of your Amtrak luggage.
- Medication and Medical Supplies - If you need immediate accessto medical supplies (mobility equipment, an oxygen tank orprescription medicines), keep these items within your reach ascarry-on items.
- Books - Get lost in a great book during your time on the train.If you want to connect your reading material and your route, tryfinding books related to your destinations or the trainitself.
Suggested Carry-on Luggage for an Overnight Amtrak Journey in Coach
- Small Blanket - A compact blanket, preferably one that can rollor fold easily, is the perfect comfort addition to your overnightbag for the train.
- Travel Pillow - Small travel pillows are provided on overnightjourneys; however, many travelers find themselves much morecomfortable when they bring along their own. An inflatable pillowis a great way to get the comfort you need without taking up toomuch valuable bag space.
- Environmental Blockers - Headphones or earplugs and a sleepingmask can give you the illusion of privacy and make sleeping on thego a little easier.
- Toiletries - No need to deal with tiny 3-ounce containers whenyou pack your luggage for Amtrak - feel free to bring along yourfull-sized products if you have space. Toothbrushes, toothpaste,makeup, hair products, lotion, deodorant and whatever else you needto feel fresh in the morning can be taken aboard the train in yourcarry-on bag.
- Change of Clothes - Whether you just bring fresh unders or youbring whole outfits in your carry-on bags, you will feel muchbetter if you have the opportunity to freshen up daily.
- Easy Shoes - Let's be honest, no one wants to lace up theirNikes if they have to get up to use the bathroom in the middle ofthe night. Do yourself a favor and pack some sandals that are easyto slide on and off.
Suggested Carry-on Luggage for an Overnight Amtrak Journey in a Cabin
If you choose to make your journey in a sleeper cabin instead,there is no need to pack any pillows, linens or basic toiletries,such as body soap and shampoo, as they are all provided in yourroom. Just bring along your entertainment, snacks, clothing, beautyproducts and whatever else you need to feel comfortable on yourjourney.
Just like with checked luggage, you may bring specialty items onyour train as long as they can be properly stored. Some popularitems guests carry on include:
- Small and mid-sized instruments
- Surfboards under 72 inches in length
- Snow skis and snowboards under 72 inches in length
- olf equipment under 50 pounds
- Pack baby wipes, even if you do not have children. Use them tokeep yourself clean after eating, wipe down your area if you make amess or enjoy a quick wipe bath in the mornings to freshen up.
- Consider bringing a lock along to secure your belongings to theluggage racks. Especially if you are bringing valuables along, alock can give you extra peace of mind while you are away from yourseat or sleeping.
- Preload all of your media (games, movies, books, etc.) ontowhatever electronic device(s) you plan to bring with you forentertainment, as the scenic routes Amtrak follows do not alwaysallow for Wi-Fi Internet connections.
- If you are making your long-distance journey from the comfortof a sleeper cabin, feel free to carry on your favorite wine, beeror spirits to enjoy along the way. Keep in mind, though, that alldrinks not purchased on the train must remain in your privatequarters.
Having everything you need with you on your Amtrak rail journey canmean the difference between being comfortable and enjoying yourride and having a less-than-stellar travel experience. Fortunatelyfor you, taking luggage on Amtrak is simple, and there is noshortage of options for what you can bring along for your trip.When you are ready to set out on your next adventure, contactVacations By Rail.
What are the baggage procedures for Amtrak? ›
You + Two Bags = No Extra Charge
Unlike many transportation options, traveling with Amtrak is twice as nice with our generous baggage policy. When you travel with us, you can carry-on two free pieces of luggage. Each item should not exceed 50 lbs. (23 kg) and needs to be 28 x 22 x 14 inches in size.
Each traveler can check up to 4 bags (2 free and 2 at $20 per bag). Size/weight limitations apply.
Roomette: Two overnight bags. Family Room: Two to three suitcases. Bedroom: Two suitcases. Accessible Bedroom: Two suitcases and a wheelchair.Does Amtrak do security checks? ›
RANDOM PASSENGER AND BAGGAGE SCREENING
With due respect to passengers' privacy, the random and unannounced screening and inspection of passengers and their personal items is completed as quickly as possible - usually in less than a minute.
How much luggage can you take with you for free? If you are travelling in AC first class, you can carry up to 70kgs for free, and for AC 2-Tier, the limit is 50Kgs. In AC 3-tier sleeper, AC chair car and the sleeper class, carrying baggage up to 40 kilos is allowed. For 2-class, the limit is up to 25kgs.Do they search your luggage on a train? ›
If you're traveling by train and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent asks to search your bags, you have the right to refuse. Law enforcement only has the right to search you or your belongings if they have probable cause to believe you are committing a crime.How long does it take to check a bag on Amtrak? ›
Additional Requirements: Luggage must be checked 45 minutes prior to scheduled train departure.Can I keep my luggage with me on Amtrak? ›
Temporary Bag Storage
Customers holding tickets for Amtrak travel may store their items in Parcel Check service when available for $10 per item for 24 hours. Check the station detail page for the stations you'll be visiting to see if they offer this service.
Rolling your clothes in your suitcase will generally save space. This is because it squeezes air from between folds and means the most of available space is used. If done correctly, rolling can also ensure less wrinkles in your clothes.How not to pack too much? ›
- Start with a carry-on.
- Only pack things that can be worn more than once.
- Pack more tops than bottoms.
- Bring multipurpose toiletries.
- Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes.
- Minimize electronics.
- Leave 'just in case' items at home.
- Don't pack at the last minute.
What's the first thing you should pack? ›
Pack Decor & Books
Items that are in your home purely for aesthetic purposes are good items to pack first when moving. This might include artwork, decor, books, magazines, and the like. These items are easy to pack first because chances are you won't need them during the move or the weeks preceding it.
A $20 excess baggage fee will be charged for each carry-on and personal item above the quantity and size limits. A maximum of two excess bags are permitted per passenger. Fees will be collected at the station or onboard the train if the station is unstaffed.
Tipping. General Guidelines: Tipping is NOT required, but is considered correct for the service crew personnel on the train. Recommendations: Snack bar attendant: roughly 10%. Dining car: 15% of menu prices (sleeping car passengers may want to note this when ordering their meals).Can I bring water on Amtrak? ›
You may bring your own food and beverages onboard for consumption at your seat or private Sleeping Car accommodations. However, you can only consume food and beverages purchased in Dining and Lounge Cars in those cars.How early should you be for an Amtrak train? ›
Plan to arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before your train is scheduled to depart (Auto Train passengers should arrive at the station at least two hours prior to departure).Are there TVs on Amtrak trains? ›
With free beverages and snacks, internet access, and TVs, as well as attendants who can help you with your trip, they're a great way to spend time before departure.Does Amtrak have cameras on train? ›
Currently, all Amtrak locomotives operating in revenue passenger service are equipped with outward-facing video cameras and advanced train control (PTC) systems.Where do you put your suitcase on a train? ›
Small cases and bags can be stored under your seat, medium sized bags can go in the overhead racks and large suitcases must be placed in the luggage racks at the end of each carriage.Does a backpack count as a carry-on on train? ›
What counts as a carry-on? Generally, a small rolling suitcase, duffel bag, or larger backpack will count as a carry-on bag.Is a backpack a carry-on train? ›
Each passenger may bring onboard two pieces of carry-on luggage (this includes bicycles), plus two personal items, including small bags, backpacks, laptops, and purses.
Is there WiFi on Amtrak? ›
To ensure you stay connected while traveling, we offer free basic WiFi service in select trains and stations throughout the country. Stay productive, or simply sit back and have some fun while en route to your destination.What happens if you forget your luggage on a train? ›
You must go to this website and click on the “Mission Amanat – RPF" tab. RPF shares the details of the missing items, as well as photos. If you find your belongings on the website, you can claim them by providing proof of ownership.Is it cold inside Amtrak trains? ›
All Amtrak trains are air conditioned. The air temperature is controlled by staff and in coach you will have no control over the temperature. In sleeper cars there are air temperature knobs to turn the air colder or warmer. In our experience though, these controls don't do very much to change the temperature.Can you walk around on Amtrak? ›
You're allowed to walk about the train as often as you'd like. Just make sure to watch where you're walking onboard the train between cars. The safety plates often shift and pinch when the train is in motion.Does Amtrak have assigned seating? ›
Your seat will be automatically assigned when you complete your reservation. You may change your assigned seat and choose a different seat at any time after your booking is complete by viewing your reservation in the Amtrak app or on Amtrak.com. There is no fee to change your seat.Can I take a pillow and blanket on Amtrak? ›
Some coach passengers also bring pillows, as the pillows Amtrak hands out in coach are quite small. Sleeping car passengers are furnished with a full set of blankets and pillows, so don't need to worry about it.What is allowed in a carry-on bag? ›
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.What is the weight limit for a carry-on bag? ›
Carry-on bags must weigh less than 35 pounds and must not exceed 10 inches deep, 16 inches wide and 24 inches high. Bags must fit in the overhead bins. Checked bags must be no longer than 62 linear inches (length + width + depth) and must weigh under 40 pounds.Are packing cubes really worth it? ›
If you tend to rearrange your suitcase multiple times on a trip, ensuring it's as organized as possible, then packing cubes are helpful and well worth the investment. Using packing organizers is a quick, easy way to bring order and harmony to your bag—and to your trip.Is it better to overpack or Underpack? ›
As long as you are strategic with what you pack and the necessities, underpacking is probably the better option of the two!
How do you know if you're overpacking? ›
- You Always Think “Worst-Case” Scenario. ...
- You Are Too Focused On Looks. ...
- You Are Always Packing Extra Baggage Fees. ...
- You Barely Use Most Things You Carry. ...
- You Procrastinate About Packing.
Set up a packing zone.
Because I start packing early, I designate a packing spot so those items don't get used between when I've set them aside and when we leave. I also pull out our suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, coolers/cooler bags, etc. to make sure everything still works (no broken zippers, tears, etc.).
It seems obvious, but the single most important thing to pack for your travels is your passport. You won't get very far without it. Once you've ticked everything off your pre-travel checklist, and before you put your foot out the door, one last check for that important little book really won't hurt.
- Pack your items in crates or bags you can easily carry. ...
- Include food and water for everyone in your household. ...
- Pack a change of clothes for up to a week and personal hygiene items.
- Bundle up what you'll need for the little ones. ...
- Don't forget your pets.
Bags that exceed the maximum linear size dimensions can still be brought aboard the train, but will be subject to an additional $20 fee each way. Keep in mind that overweight bags are not permitted on Amtrak and will need to be repacked in the station.How do I take my luggage on Amtrak? ›
check two bags through to your final destination free of charge. Customers holding tickets for Amtrak travel may store their items in Parcel Check service when available for $10 per item for 24 hours. Check the station detail page for the stations you'll be visiting to see if they offer this service.Do you tip in first class on Amtrak? ›
Friendly service usually gets a little larger tip. For the Dining Car Attendants; it is typically recommended that you tip just like you do in a restaurant; 15 - 20% depending on the quality of the service. For those in First Class where the meals are included, it is important to remember that the tips are not.Should I tip Amtrak sleeping car attendant? ›
While tipping isn't required, leaving a gratuity is the norm. Usually, for one night in a sleeper, I suggest about $10 per person/per night. If your room attendant brings your meals to you in your room, then think about adding more to the tip as you would have left a tip anyway for the dining car waiter.Is an Amtrak bedroom worth it? ›
Because the Amtrak bedrooms have more space, and a better seating layout, it just makes for a more comfortable journey (especially if you're onboard for 10+ hours). What is this? The Amtrak bedrooms are certainly a better choice if you want a comfortable nights sleep onboard the Amtrak sleeper train.Where is the best place to sit on a train? ›
"The safest spot in a train, during an accident, is the center of the train," said Mann, who was the principal author of the Federal Railway Safety Act in 1970. "Because if there is a front-end collision or a rear-end collision, the damages will be greater at those locations.
Can coach passengers eat in the dining car on Amtrak? ›
If you're traveling in coach on some of Amtrak's long-distance train services, you'll now have the opportunity to use the dining car onboard. Coach passengers will now be able to enjoy full-fledged meals for an additional cost in the dining car, which was a beloved service removed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Does Amtrak provide free water? ›
Sleeping Car Amenities and Perks
Sleeping accommodations on board Amtrak are considered "Sleeper Service," which means passengers are entitled to a range of hotel-like amenities. These include fresh linens and towels, a hot shower, complimentary bottled water ice, soft drinks, and hot coffee.
Small cases and bags can be stored under your seat, medium sized bags can go in the overhead racks and large suitcases must be placed in the luggage racks at the end of each carriage.Can you bring your own food and drink on Amtrak? ›
You may bring your own food and beverages onboard for consumption at your seat or private Sleeping Car accommodations. However, you can only consume food and beverages purchased in Dining and Lounge Cars in those cars.Do trains check your luggage? ›
Checked baggage service is available at a number of our stations and on many trains and Thruway Services. Not all trains or locations are equipped to handle checked baggage.Does your luggage get searched on a train? ›
If you're traveling by train and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent asks to search your bags, you have the right to refuse. Law enforcement only has the right to search you or your belongings if they have probable cause to believe you are committing a crime.How long before Amtrak should I arrive? ›
Arrive at the station 15 minutes before your departure – earlier if you need to park your car, purchase tickets, or need extra time. Electronic platform signs and station announcements will indicate your train's estimated time of arrival. Stay behind the yellow line while waiting for the train.Are Amtrak coach seats assigned? ›
Your seat will be automatically assigned when you complete your reservation. You may change your assigned seat and choose a different seat at any time after your booking is complete by viewing your reservation in the Amtrak app or on Amtrak.com. There is no fee to change your seat.What Cannot be in a carry-on bag? ›
Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible. TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.Does a purse count as a carry-on? ›
Domestic carry-on policies. A good rule of thumb is that if your carry-on bag fits under the seat in front of you, it's considered a personal item. This includes small backpacks, purses, briefcases, laptop bags, etc. Larger bags, including suitcases, must fit in the overhead bin compartment.
Can I bring my purse in my carry-on? ›
Most airlines allow passengers to bring on both a carry-on and a personal item like a backpack, laptop bag, purse, briefcase, shopping bag, etc. The general rule of thumb is that your personal item is smaller in dimension than your carry-on bag and it can fit underneath the seat in front of you.Does Amtrak provide blankets? ›
Bring a Blanket
Amtrak Comfort Kits (containing a polyester blanket, inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs in a portable travel pouch) are available for purchase on the train or via the Amtrak store if you want an all-in-one solution for your Coach sleeping travels.