Storing a Bag for the day in BAL

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frugalist

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Dec 18, 2009
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352
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I'm arriving in BAL on #98, the Silver Meteor , around 8:40am on the 19th. Playing tourist around Baltimore for the day, then taking the NE Regional to WAS at 8:18pm. What's my best option for storing a carry-on-sized suitcase for the day at BAL Penn Station? I see a few possibilities. In order of preference:

1. When I arrive at BAL in the morning, check my bag for that evening's NE Regional. Does that train even offer checked baggage service? If I do this, I would really prefer to reclaim my bag when I get back to Penn Station later that day, rather than having it actually be carried as checked baggage. Assuming the bag can be checked for this train, is it even possible to reclaim it before departure?

2. If #1 isn't possible, can I just tell the Amtrak ticket agent in BAL what my plan is for the day and ask if I can store my bag with them for the day? I assume this might cost a few dollars.

3. If #2 isn't possible, are there public storage lockers available in BAL Penn Station that would accommodate a carry-on bag? If so, any idea of the cost for a day?

4. If all three of the above are negative, what other options would you suggest? I really can't see lugging a piece of luggage around town all day. :)
 
G

guest

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I'm arriving in BAL on #98, the Silver Meteor , around 8:40am on the 19th. Playing tourist around Baltimore for the day, then taking the NE Regional to WAS at 8:18pm. What's my best option for storing a carry-on-sized suitcase for the day at BAL Penn Station? I see a few possibilities. In order of preference:

1. When I arrive at BAL in the morning, check my bag for that evening's NE Regional. Does that train even offer checked baggage service? If I do this, I would really prefer to reclaim my bag when I get back to Penn Station later that day, rather than having it actually be carried as checked baggage. Assuming the bag can be checked for this train, is it even possible to reclaim it before departure?

2. If #1 isn't possible, can I just tell the Amtrak ticket agent in BAL what my plan is for the day and ask if I can store my bag with them for the day? I assume this might cost a few dollars.

3. If #2 isn't possible, are there public storage lockers available in BAL Penn Station that would accommodate a carry-on bag? If so, any idea of the cost for a day?

4. If all three of the above are negative, what other options would you suggest? I really can't see lugging a piece of luggage around town all day. :)
Number 2 is doable and the best choice. Any station with checked baggage will also store your bag for a short period (less than a day) as long as you can show you have a paid Amtrak ticket for travel.

Usually the charge is $3 to $5 per bag, depending on the particular station.
 

AlanB

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Queens, New York
Regarding #1, Regional trains do not offer checked baggage. That said, you could still check you bag back to DC for free, it would just go out on one of the long distance trains as they come by. And no, you would not be able to reclaim your bag in Baltimore. Once checked, it will go out on the first available train to DC and you'd have to pick it up in DC.

So, option #2 is really the best option IMHO. But #1 would save you money.
 
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frugalist

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Joined
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Messages
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Central Florida, USA
Regarding #1, Regional trains do not offer checked baggage. That said, you could still check you bag back to DC for free, it would just go out on one of the long distance trains as they come by. And no, you would not be able to reclaim your bag in Baltimore. Once checked, it will go out on the first available train to DC and you'd have to pick it up in DC.
Now that's an interesting option I hadn't thought about. Not so much for saving a couple of dollars (although a guy with a screen name of "frugalist" always welcomes the opportunity to save a couple of dollars), but more for the convenience of not having to handle the carry-on bag again until WAS. Probably won't decide which option I'll go with until the last minute, but it's always good to have options. Thanks.
 

Ryan

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You don't say where you're starting (I'm assuming FL), but with your ticket to BAL and then a second ticket to WAS you may even be able to check your bags only to WAS at the beginning of your trip. When the train gets to WAS your bags will be taken off the train and be waiting there for you there when you return later in the day.
 

frugalist

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Dec 18, 2009
Messages
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Central Florida, USA
You don't say where you're starting (I'm assuming FL), but with your ticket to BAL and then a second ticket to WAS you may even be able to check your bags only to WAS at the beginning of your trip. When the train gets to WAS your bags will be taken off the train and be waiting there for you there when you return later in the day.
You're right. I'm starting in Florida. Your idea is a great one, and one I would certainly go with if I were checking any bags all the way from Florida. I'm only taking one carry-on with me in addition to a backpack and I'll be bringing both pieces with me into my roomette for the trip North. I'm only looking to take my backpack with me around Baltimore, thus my inquiry into options for storing a bag at BAL Penn Station.

I'm beginning to wonder how wise this trip will be. Down here in Florida it's a cool, crisp 93 degrees. Not looking forward to dealing with 100+ degrees in Baltimore and DC. Northerners are starting to come down here in JULY for our cool weather! ;)
 

The Metropolitan

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Things may very well cool down by the 19th. We are actually having an 80 degree rainy day here for the first time in seemingly forever. Last week, we had a couple of cool sunny days in the midst of the heat.

Glad to know you have the options you need. Nothing worse than toting baggage around as you play tourist.

I saw your reply on another thread here that mentioned our new free Circulator (Purple) buses from Penn Station to the Harbor and Federal Hill in about 15 minutes. From the Harbor, there is another line (Orange) that will even take you a block from the B&O Railroad Museum if you were interested. The buses have an abundant number of printed maps that will assist you in getting your bearings.

Were there any particular interests you had while in Baltimore that you wanted to explore, or did you just want to discover it for yourself?
 

frugalist

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Messages
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Things may very well cool down by the 19th. We are actually having an 80 degree rainy day here for the first time in seemingly forever. Last week, we had a couple of cool sunny days in the midst of the heat.

Glad to know you have the options you need. Nothing worse than toting baggage around as you play tourist.

I saw your reply on another thread here that mentioned our new free Circulator (Purple) buses from Penn Station to the Harbor and Federal Hill in about 15 minutes. From the Harbor, there is another line (Orange) that will even take you a block from the B&O Railroad Museum if you were interested. The buses have an abundant number of printed maps that will assist you in getting your bearings.

Were there any particular interests you had while in Baltimore that you wanted to explore, or did you just want to discover it for yourself?
I checked the weather.com 10-day forecast, and they're predicting a high of 94 on the 19th. :(

I love researching and planning for a trip. I find that to be almost as much fun as the trip itself. The fact that this will be my first-ever long distance train trip is just adding to the excitement and anticipation. I've checked out the MTA site. I believe that's the site that also includes the info on the Circulator. Also checked baltimore.org. Picked out a lot of frugal things to do from their list. ;) And of course checked the forums and reviews on TripAdvisor for ideas on things to do and places to eat.

Very roughly, I plan to take the Circulator from Penn Station down to the Inner Harbor. Check out the scene there. Maybe hit the Science Museum (although a few posts mentioned it's mainly kid-oriented). I'd like to take a look at the Visionary Arts Center. Take a free Water Taxi Connector over to Little Italy for lunch, then dessert at Vaccaro's Pastry Shop. I could use a recommendation for a good, moderately-priced restaurant in Little Italy for lunch. After lunch, walk around Little Italy some more. Then that might be a good time to head over to the B&O Railroad Museum. I was definitely considering that. Then end the day around the Ballpark at Camden Yards. A couple of TA forum posts mentioned that the atmosphere and ambiance around the stadium before an Oriole's game is lots of fun. And the food and drink at the places around the park are good and reasonably priced. From there, it's another ride on the Circulator pack to Penn Station for our ride to DC.

The plan is extremely flexible. I have to build in a plan B with primarily indoor activities in case of rain and/or oppressive heat. I'd appreciate whatever ideas you have to offer. I'm not into history or military types of sights, nor traditional art-type of museums. Other than that, I'm open to pretty much any suggestion. I'll be meeting my adult son when he gets off the Crescent in BAL, then we'll be spending the next 4 days together in BAL and DC. Thanks.

Looks like you found a solution to your bag storage concern in DC. Good!
 

Ryan

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94 is a heck of a lot better than the 104 of last week! For indoor activities, the Aquarium in the inner harbor is considered world class. I haven't been there since I was a kid, but remember it being rather nice. If the O's are playing, I'd look into getting tickets - they're terrible this year, so tickets are plentiful and easy to come by (depending on who they're playing). Even if you're not a big baseball fan, the stadium is really a nice place to spend some time. If you do, go for tickets down the 3rd base line and you'll be in the shade first as the sun sets.
 

frugalist

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Dec 18, 2009
Messages
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Central Florida, USA
To wrap this topic up, we ended up going with Alan's suggestion in message #3 upthread. When I got into BAL I headed to the baggage claim area. The agent explained it would be $2-3 to store the bag there for the day, or I could check it to WAS (for free) and it would go on the next train headed there with checked baggage service. So I checked it. My son did the same when his train arrived in BAL a couple of hours later. When we arrived in WAS that night, our bags were being kept in a locked storage area. A baggage claim supervisor came to unlock the area, checked our claim tickets and we were on our way. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. This aspect of the trip, as well as just about every other aspect of it, went perfectly.
 
L

LA Resident

Guest
I'm arriving in BAL on #98, the Silver Meteor , around 8:40am on the 19th. Playing tourist around Baltimore for the day, then taking the NE Regional to WAS at 8:18pm. What's my best option for storing a carry-on-sized suitcase for the day at BAL Penn Station? I see a few possibilities. In order of preference:

1. When I arrive at BAL in the morning, check my bag for that evening's NE Regional. Does that train even offer checked baggage service? If I do this, I would really prefer to reclaim my bag when I get back to Penn Station later that day, rather than having it actually be carried as checked baggage. Assuming the bag can be checked for this train, is it even possible to reclaim it before departure?

2. If #1 isn't possible, can I just tell the Amtrak ticket agent in BAL what my plan is for the day and ask if I can store my bag with them for the day? I assume this might cost a few dollars.

3. If #2 isn't possible, are there public storage lockers available in BAL Penn Station that would accommodate a carry-on bag? If so, any idea of the cost for a day?

4. If all three of the above are negative, what other options would you suggest? I really can't see lugging a piece of luggage around town all day. :)
Wow, you ended up getting a lot for what you didn't have to pay for!!! :)
 
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