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The travel bug is biting hard these days. Nearly two years of pandemic stress has many folks itching to hit the road, holidays or no.
If you’ve got several U.S. sites to check off your travel bucket list, check out this Amtrak trip put together by travel site Wanderu: It costs only about $1,000 and takes travelers coast to coast through a delightful sampler of the nation’s landscapes.
The tour starts in Boston (though, really, you could pick it up anywhere along the route). From Boston, the Northeast Regional train travels south to Washington, D.C. over the course of a day.
From there, it’s a hop down to New Orleans, then a big, long stretch aboard the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles. This leg, as you can imagine, is a tour of Texas and the Southwest, with stops in cities like San Antonio and Tucson.
Hop on the Coastal Starlight in L.A. and it’s a straight shot up the coast to Seattle. Of course, there’s plenty to see along the way, including huge views of the Pacific Ocean and a stop in Portland, Oregon.
The last really big leg is aboard the mighty Empire Builder train. This one takes you across the upper reaches of the mountainous West and Midwest, all the way to Chicago.
After Chi-town it’s just a few more jaunts across the increasingly urban landscape and back to Boston. And there you have it: One massive loop around the U.S., in only about 10 days.
Of course, travelers can stay for as long as they want in any of the cities along the route — take a few nights off in New Orleans, for example. Each leg of the journey is its own ticket, so you can customize to your heart’s desire.
One note: Wanderu put this itinerary together in February 2020, just before COVID-19 hit. We went back and reconstructed the schedule on Amtrak’s site and, surprisingly, things haven’t changed much. The total cost for coach-class seats on this trip was $954, as of Nov. 29. However, your results may vary depending on when you go. And since some of these legs are quite long — the Seattle to Chicago stretch runs about 46 hours — booking a higher-priced spot in a sleeper car may seem desirable.
Also, Amtrak is currently waiving ticket change fees for trips booked by Jan. 4, 2022, if you need a little flexibility. Dining car service returned in June 2021, so you can at least pass some of your time enjoying full-service, chef-prepared meals.
So what’s the holdup, adventurers? All aboard!
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