Amtrak train travel, especially compared to airline travel, gives you a great deal of freedoms. You can bring most anything legal onboard. This includes food and beverages, pillows and blankets. The above bags were filled with goodies of all sorts!
First, I want to tell you that you can search online for any information you may want regarding menus, snacks, drinks, dining times, etc. It is all on the Amtrak.com website also.
You really can go whole hog. I saw families with coolers containing juice bags, fruits and who knows what kind of sandwiches. If you plan right, you wouldn’t have to purchase a thing from the train.
Now, personally, I wanted to “be on vacation” so part of the fun for me was eating and drinking. I brought a couple of snacks for emergency hunger issues (of which there were none). My overall best snack was this:
It was crunchy, sweet, salty and had enough fat to satiate a quickie hunger pain. I still had half a bag when the trip was done.
The only other thing I wish I had brought more of was water bottles. You can buy them but, boy, when they are six for a buck at the dollar store, well, yeah. Should have brought more.
But get this! You can get cups of free ice in the cafe car just for the asking! I thought that was very generous if you were going to pour your own pop over Amtrak’s gratis ice. Nice touch, Amtrak.
So in the cafe car, which is open really early and stays open late, you can get drinks, snacks, and microwaveable anything. Believe it or not, their microwave hamburger was quite satisfying. Seriously!
If you want to eat in the dining car, you need to make a reservation. This is not because you are suddenly all La De Da; it is because the whole train isn’t going to fit in the dining car at the same time. Sleeping car passengers get first pick, and what’s more, their food is included in their ticket price. The dining car meals are pretty pricey, so this makes purchasing the sleeping car a better deal for a lot of people.
So in the dining car you will be eating with other people; there are four to a table. This for most people is part of the fun. (If you are an introvert who deplores time with strangers, may I again suggest that microwave pizza and a coke in your coach seat? Something for everyone!) I actually met a woman who lives in Alpine and gave great testimony about the Marfa Lights. (Now totally on my To Do list.) I met educators, single moms, even a belly dancer! The dining car experience is not to be missed. Make sure you go at least one time during your trip.
Next up: Interesting people!