things to do, and advice

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mossmellow

Guest
First time traveller: Mom traveling with 2 kids (ages 7 & 4) on Cali Zephyr and Capitol Limited just after July 4th. What is it like traveling that time in the summer? Will the train be packed? I'm traveling Mon-Wed. I'm not thrilled that we will have to split up, but I don't think we have much choice. I am assuming our seats will be in the same row at least? Any advice, tips, or ideas on things to bring on our journey?
 

tomfuller

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
878
Location
Crescent Oregon (17 miles from Chemult)
It depends a bit on which station you are getting on the CZ. The conductor will ask a solo traveler to sit with another solo so that you can have either the same row or you can sit in the row behind the kids.

If you want to sit together at least in daylight hours, head to the Sightseer lounge and claim a table. There is a cafe downstairs in the SSL. Don't try claiming a table down there unless you are eating food purchased from the cafe. You can bring food/drink on board to consume at your coach seat (no alcohol). If you can afford it, you might consider getting a bedroom for the CL overnight.

Join Amtrak Guest Rewards (free) in case you decide you like train travel . You can eventually earn free travel on Amtrak.
 

Lonestar648

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,799
You should be able to sit together or next to each other, seats are 2 and 2. For the kids bring lots of activities, snacks, etc. Also, change location between the Coach and SSL to keep things interesting. Since it will be summer, there should other children on board so opportunities to make new friend exists (my 7 year granddaughter became part of a group of four her age from all over the USA. They colored, played games, and talked, and ate together for most of the trip). When I take my granddaughters, they have a backpack full of activity things they haven't seen before. In the beginning they will be so excited, but in the last hour or two, it will be "How much Longer". Three of my five grand children love the train and beg me to take them again. Though generally sold out in the summer, there is a Family Bedroom (2A/2C) on the lower level of the Sleeping car. It is near the bathrooms and will include your meals. Oh, we played a game of spotting things out the window. Each had a different list with vehicles, animals, stores, trains, nature things etc. This had them staring out the window for a while looking and looking. The winner received a special treat. I always helped the youngest. Another activity, I had the 7 year old take pictures as we went, she took them of us, but also of some things I missed. Made her feel important that she was recording the trip for us. Make a list of everything you will need on the train so you don't forget anything. Good luck, Have fun, Hope you have a great trip your children will remember forever.
 

the_traveler

Engineer
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Usually the coach attendant (CA) sets aside 1/2 of the car with signs that say "Reserved for groups of 2 or more". Since the seating is 2 seats on each side of the car, (s)he will try to place you as near to each other as possible - maybe across the aisle!

As said, join Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) within 90 days of your trip. First, you register for AGR yourself. Once you have an account, log in to your account and refer EACH of your kids to AGR! You will both earn bonus points! (Note that each account must have their own email address. Free ones can be obtained from sites like yahoo, gmail or mail.com.)
 
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Mossmellow

Guest
Thank all so much! I did create email addresses for the kids and signed them up for AGR too. Great ideas, thank you all so much!
 
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