When my parents discovered having two fidigty children in the backseat of a car, one prone to car sickness, made travel to visit grandparents in Florida more of a chore than fun they turned to the train for a better way to go. As we grew older and a car trip or even an airplane would have made more sense we insisted that a train ride would be more fun. And they were. Looking out the windows as the countryside passed by, falling asleep to the clack of the rails and listening to the whistle blow as we passed through small towns were all part of the adventure.
Fast forward to today and my brother who lives in Florida decided to retry our old family vacation with a twist. He brought his family from Florida to Virginia on the Auto Train. The train runs from Sanford Florida to Lorton Virginia and back again. The train trip takes about 17 hours and his two children kept themselves occupied with video games when they weren't looking out the window watching the scenery. Since they are "heavy" packers loading up the car with all of the required gear avoided extra baggage charges with the airline. They boarded the train with just an overnight bag and enjoyed the ability to sit back and just as we did as kids watch the scenery go by.
Americans often overlook the option to take the train, where our European and Asian counterparts use trains every day. When we visit my daughter in the UK the train is the way to get around the countryside and when we lived and traveled in the Far East the train was our preferred method of getting around the various countries we visited.
So the next time you are thinking about a trip from Virginia to Florida or vice versa, bi-pass all the signs for South of the Border,cheap cigarettes and illegal fireworks and spend a little time on the rails with your family. You will arrive less stressed and with the knowledge that your luggage will actually arrive at the same time you do.
Check out the Amtrak Auto Train Schedule and Fares: www.amtrak.com
Active Duty Military and Military Families may qualify for 10-15% off fares on various Amtrak routes. Make sure you check for fare discounts before you book your trip.
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Military Relocation Specialist serving military families relocating to and from the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, Quantico MCB and all of the Military District of Washington installations.
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