80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesV.I. NOW FOREIGN ENOUGH FOR AMTRAK RAIL PASS

V.I. NOW FOREIGN ENOUGH FOR AMTRAK RAIL PASS

For years I have complained about being treated as an extraterrestrial when it comes to "domestic" versus "international" charges, ranging from consumer goods to delivery services. Now, finally, our quirk of geography works to our advantage.
Amtrak, the U.S. rail passenger service, has special rail passes marketed to international travelers in the manner of the Eurailpass that has benefitted so many U.S. travelers for decades on the European continent. The Amtrak passes have long been available to anyone in possession of a "valid passport issued outside the U.S. and Canada." But now, Amtrak brochures further state: "Passes are also sold to permanent residents of U.S. territories."
As an avid train-travel buff, I have spent many hours over the years attempting to get the best prices for Amtrak travel. I would like to believe I had some influence on Amtrak's decision to include us Virgin Islanders as international travelers.
Two years ago I used Amtrak's domestic rail pass to visit friends in Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orlando, Charleston (S.C.) and Durham (N.C.). I would have visited a couple of other places, but I was restricted in the number of times I could get off the train.
Amtrak in conjunction with Canadian Via has a reasonably priced North American Rail Pass that allows you to get off the train as many times as you desire within the specified time frame. However, you must visit both the United States and Canada during your travels.
The most versatile option all along has been the Amtrak International Rail Pass, which is good for stops at more than 500 destinations, and now we qualify for it. What does this mean? It means you have a lot of useful options, just about all of them economically attractive.
How about travel from Vancouver to Key West, Fla., or from San Diego to Montreal? Vancouver and Montreal are outside the U.S. mainland, but just a little bit, and Amtrak does go there, and you can, too, on what's called a full pass. A 15-day full pass costs $295 off-peak times and $440 peak times. The 30-day full pass is $385 and $550, respectively. Peak fares apply June 1-Sept. 5 this year. The pass entitles you to a coach seat on any Amtrak transport except for the Auto Train out of New York.
If you concentrate on a particular region of the country, the fares are even better. East Coast (Key West to Montreal and Boston) and West Coast (San Diego to Vancouver) 30-day passes are $235 off-peak and $285 peak. A 15-day Northeast pass good from the Virginia beaches to Montreal is $185 off-peak and $205 peak. A 30-day pass for the same region is $225 and $240, respectively.
The East pass covers "Colonial America" to Florida, including Chicago and New Orleans. The 15-day version is $210 off-peak and $260 peak, while the 30-day pass is $265 and $320, respectively. There are also West (Pacific Coast to Chicago and New Orleans) and Far West (Rocky Mountains to the Pacific) passes.
Amtrak is a great way to entertain and educate you children and grandchildren. Youngsters between 2 and 15 ride half fare, and children under 2 years ride free. This year, I am taking my 5-year-old grandson on a couple of day-trips to visit his cousins. Next year, I plan to take my 10-year-old grand on a tour of the East visiting relatives, friends and historic spots.
Many years ago, I asked a California friend why she always traveled at least one way by train and boat on her trips to Europe when she could save time and money flying. She replied that she wanted to be reminded of how far away Europe really is, so that she could appreciate what her ancestors went through to get to California. I took this reply to heart and have always placed value on experiencing what it is like to go somewhere — and appreciate the countryside along the way.
Amtrak's web page — www.amtrak.com — doesn't provide specifics on the International Rail Pass except to note that it's "for international visitors only." You have to request that a brochure be mailed to you. However, you can do this by sending a form on the web site or your own letter of request by e-mail to service@sales.amtrak.com. Or you can telephone, toll-free, (800)USA-RAIL, also known as (800) 872-7245.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,726FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
For years I have complained about being treated as an extraterrestrial when it comes to "domestic" versus "international" charges, ranging from consumer goods to delivery services. Now, finally, our quirk of geography works to our advantage.
Amtrak, the U.S. rail passenger service, has special rail passes marketed to international travelers in the manner of the Eurailpass that has benefitted so many U.S. travelers for decades on the European continent. The Amtrak passes have long been available to anyone in possession of a "valid passport issued outside the U.S. and Canada." But now, Amtrak brochures further state: "Passes are also sold to permanent residents of U.S. territories."
As an avid train-travel buff, I have spent many hours over the years attempting to get the best prices for Amtrak travel. I would like to believe I had some influence on Amtrak's decision to include us Virgin Islanders as international travelers.
Two years ago I used Amtrak's domestic rail pass to visit friends in Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orlando, Charleston (S.C.) and Durham (N.C.). I would have visited a couple of other places, but I was restricted in the number of times I could get off the train.
Amtrak in conjunction with Canadian Via has a reasonably priced North American Rail Pass that allows you to get off the train as many times as you desire within the specified time frame. However, you must visit both the United States and Canada during your travels.
The most versatile option all along has been the Amtrak International Rail Pass, which is good for stops at more than 500 destinations, and now we qualify for it. What does this mean? It means you have a lot of useful options, just about all of them economically attractive.
How about travel from Vancouver to Key West, Fla., or from San Diego to Montreal? Vancouver and Montreal are outside the U.S. mainland, but just a little bit, and Amtrak does go there, and you can, too, on what's called a full pass. A 15-day full pass costs $295 off-peak times and $440 peak times. The 30-day full pass is $385 and $550, respectively. Peak fares apply June 1-Sept. 5 this year. The pass entitles you to a coach seat on any Amtrak transport except for the Auto Train out of New York.
If you concentrate on a particular region of the country, the fares are even better. East Coast (Key West to Montreal and Boston) and West Coast (San Diego to Vancouver) 30-day passes are $235 off-peak and $285 peak. A 15-day Northeast pass good from the Virginia beaches to Montreal is $185 off-peak and $205 peak. A 30-day pass for the same region is $225 and $240, respectively.
The East pass covers "Colonial America" to Florida, including Chicago and New Orleans. The 15-day version is $210 off-peak and $260 peak, while the 30-day pass is $265 and $320, respectively. There are also West (Pacific Coast to Chicago and New Orleans) and Far West (Rocky Mountains to the Pacific) passes.
Amtrak is a great way to entertain and educate you children and grandchildren. Youngsters between 2 and 15 ride half fare, and children under 2 years ride free. This year, I am taking my 5-year-old grandson on a couple of day-trips to visit his cousins. Next year, I plan to take my 10-year-old grand on a tour of the East visiting relatives, friends and historic spots.
Many years ago, I asked a California friend why she always traveled at least one way by train and boat on her trips to Europe when she could save time and money flying. She replied that she wanted to be reminded of how far away Europe really is, so that she could appreciate what her ancestors went through to get to California. I took this reply to heart and have always placed value on experiencing what it is like to go somewhere -- and appreciate the countryside along the way.
Amtrak's web page -- www.amtrak.com -- doesn't provide specifics on the International Rail Pass except to note that it's "for international visitors only." You have to request that a brochure be mailed to you. However, you can do this by sending a form on the web site or your own letter of request by e-mail to service@sales.amtrak.com. Or you can telephone, toll-free, (800)USA-RAIL, also known as (800) 872-7245.