We did it! We finally took our family trip this year to Richmond, VA and Washington, D.C. We travelled by Amtrak from Ashland, KY to Charlottesville, VA and then we took a bus into Richmond.
I am not going to lie, my husband and I were a little nervous about this venture. Four kids under the age of 8, on any mode of public transportation is scary. When that trip is 10 hours total of sitting time, we were flat out scared. But we cannot afford to fly all of us, so we decided to give train travel a try.
The first wonderful thing about the Amtrak is the price. All 6 of us traveled ROUND TRIP for under $410. We have AAA, but that is the only discount we had. With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon here in Kentucky, we couldn’t resist that price. Also, Amtrak is much more accommodating than any airline. We could bring all our own snacks and drinks. We could bring full size luggage at no extra charge. We had 3 carry on suitcases, 2 backpacks, a huge diaper bag and four small personal totes. There were many other travelers with way more than us. The conductors were so nice. They talked to our kids and always made sure we had seats together. Each seat has it’s own outlet, so batteries never died. There is no wait time to board the train. We arrived 30 minutes before the train was scheduled and stepped right on. There were no baggage problems, no long lines, and no awful body scans or invasions of privacy.
The seating is AMAZING. The seats are a lot like airplane seats, except for the fact that you have room! You can recline and put your feet up and the people behind you still have plenty of space. My youngest 2 slept most of the way there. The gentle rocking motion of the train lulled them to sleep.
The train has a cafe and a dining car. We never ate in the actual dining car, but we made good use of the cafe. They had things like cereal, burgers, hot dogs, and other snack foods.
Talk about views! Your seat has 2 large windows, so you don’t miss anything. The West Virginia countryside was gorgeous! It was way prettier than the interstate!
We traveled to our destination and back with no problems. If you are going to drive to your destination anyway, I highly recommend you think about trains. They are better for the environment and it makes the trip part of the vacation. It was so relaxing for my husband and I. We could nap! We didn’t have to worry about stopping for gas or potty breaks. We didn’t need to watch for our exit or figure out the best route. We just sat back and enjoyed the ride. We arrived much more rested than usual. It was wonderful.