The majority of train travel in the United States is completed through Amtrak. Amtrak provides train transportation across the country for travelers on a variety of routes.
While all that is required when boarding an Amtrak train is proper documentation, most travelers need additional items to make themselves comfortable on the train and during their trip.
Other train travel in America includes sightseeing train rides, and subway or Metro travel around major cities.
1. Documents: ID Requirements
All Amtrak passengers must have their train tickets with them to board the train and while on-board, as ticket checks are periodically completed.
All travelers over age 18 and all unaccompanied minors age 15 and over must have a government issued I.D., such as a passport, driver's license or military I.D.
If the traveler does not have a government issued I.D. with a photo, a secondary form of identification, such as a student I.D. card, must accompany a government issued identification without a photo.
Smaller sightseeing train companies such as New Hope Valley Railway in North Carolina (nhvry.org) and Green Mountain Railroad (rails-vt.com) in Vermont as well as subway trains in major cities only require a ticket or pass to board.
2. Personal Necessities
Travelers planning on spending more than a few hours on the train, or those with a medical condition, such as diabetes, may wish to bring along their own food items, as trains periodically become delayed.
In addition, while food and drinks purchased on Amtrak trains must remain in the dining or lounge cars, personal items may be eaten at the passenger's seat or cabin.
Travelers who use medication should ensure that they have enough medication packed in their carry-on baggage to last the duration of the trip.
Amtrak's website notes that ice is provided for passengers who must keep their medication refrigerated.
Luggage is needed to store traveler items such as clothing and toiletries. Each Amtrak passenger may pack three bags, weighing no more than 50 pounds and being under 36 inches by 36 inches by 36 inches. Passengers are also allowed to bring two carry-on items aboard the train to help them stay comfortable during the trip. Each carry-on must be under 50 pounds and must be under 28 inches by 22 inches by 14 inches on most routes. Each passenger may also bring any necessary personal items, such as a purse, diaper bag, stroller, laptop or medical supplies. Smaller sightseeing train companies may have restrictions regarding the number of bags or items that can be brought onto the train. It is best to check with the specific train company for any limitations ahead of time.
4. Travel Items
Passengers may choose to bring other items aboard the train to help the trip pass quickly.
Amtrak provides route guides on its website for travelers wanting to learn more about the sites that are passed along the way.
Travelers, especially those on sightseeing train trips may also wish to bring along their own maps, travel journals, cameras or video cameras to help record their travel memories.
Books, crossword puzzles and card games can keep travelers entertained while on longer trips. Crayons, coloring books and board games help keep children occupied.