Sunday, February 7, 2016

Traveling on Amtrak with a Kid (How to Pre-board)

Warning: this post contains advice for parents. I am not a MOMMY BLOGGER, but I do want to share my experience, while also not try to portray myself as some kind of parenting expert just because I've been at it for 2.5 years. That said, I was looking for info when preparing for our recent trip, and found it a bit hard. So, if kids bore you (and I understand, I really, really do) - feel free to skip on to the next post in your reader. If you're interested in traveling with a babe or tot in arms, read on. 

Earlier this week we traveled down to Washington, DC. I'll post more, with some pics, later, but I wanted to share some advice.  It's a fact that the most popular most I have ever written was on traveling to Iceland with a baby. I guess it hit the magic SEO mixture to help parents like me Googling for specific travel advice for kids. If that worked, this should too: how to get pre-boarding on Amtrak trains with babies, toddlers and/or kids.

Have you ever wondered if Amtrak offers pre-boarding or priority boarding on their trains, like an airplane? They answer is: yes, they do - for a bribe (or tip). Just use their Red Cap Service. It's free, though you do have to tip. And you need to ask about 15-30 minutes before your train's scheduled departure. They will carry your bags onto the train, before anyone else boards.

This is especially useful at New York Penn Station, which is an absolute sh*tshow, but you can do it at any station that offers Red Cap Service. Stress-free. You can even sit in their designated seating area while you wait to board before the masses.

What to tip a Red Cap? I'm not sure. I usually give $2-$3 per bag, but there was an Australian tourist on our train the other day who gave $25 (I'm pretty sure she was just super confused).

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