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Bonus: train stations are always far prettier (and far closer to town) than airports.

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It’s fast, it’s clean, and it won’t put a hole in your pockets.

Yes, I am talking about the Amtrak train system.

Trains have gotten an unfair bad reputation in the American travel community. Flights—while fast—tend to be glamorized and portrayed as the only way to get to your 2-hour-away destination. Other methods of travel are seen as something “for the little guys.” It’s high time that changed.

I took my first trip with Amtrak last winter. My sister and I had flown to Boston for a winter getaway, and we decided to venture over to New York while we were in the Northeast. Naturally, we thought of flying first. But when we saw tickets for upwards of $200 one-way, and began to think of all of the security measures that we’d have to go through beforehand just for a two-day visit (checking any liquids with our bags, taking off our boots at security, dealing with the horrendous TSA lines, et cetera), we quickly began to look into other options.

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Bigger seats, bigger windows, better way to travel.

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Behold: Amtrak. With tickets for under $100, the method of travel that had always eluded me as a child of the South was suddenly a reality—and readily available. I packed my bag and bought a ticket for what ended up being one of the most delightful parts of my journey.

Taking that train ride gave me the chance to enjoy the beautiful homes tucked away small Northeastern towns and views that I’d only seen in books up until that point. The large windows give patrons the chance to enjoy that scenery while also getting work done, reading or relaxing in their spacious seats. The winter chill didn’t stop the comfort, either. Unlike many bus services I’ve experienced, Amtrak made sure to keep the temperature at an enjoyable level, keeping riders warm and comfortable.

Since that spontaneous trip, Amtrak has been my go-to for getting around the Northeast. If bought in advance, the tickets are drastically cheaper that airplane tickets, which have steadily increased over the past few years. For any traveler, there are few things like enjoying a neverending view in peace and quiet without breaking the bank. Amtrak makes that happen.

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