If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a great American train trip, your time is now.
Amtrak just cut the price of its USA Rail Pass to $299, making it significantly cheaper to zigzag across the U.S. in search of adventure this summer. The sale price is a $200 discount from the regular rail pass cost of $499, and a fraction of what it would likely cost to rent a car for a month.
Amtrak’s U.S. rail passes allow passengers to take up to 10 rides over a period of 30 days. The clock starts ticking on the day of a passenger’s first trip, but there’s flexibility to change itineraries and routes along the way, channeling the classic European rail pass experience but with gorgeous American backdrops like the Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Red Rocks, and the spectacular California coastline.
“We want to offer customers a truly unique way to travel this summer,” Amtrak executive vice president Roger Harris said in announcing the sale.
That unique option may be particularly welcome this summer, with uneven pandemic restrictions complicating international travel and rental cars in short supply in many parts of the country.
The USA Rail Pass covers coach travel between any of Amtrak’s 500 destinations – a list that includes New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and several of the country’s most popular national parks. And unlike airlines, there are no middle seats to worry about on Amtrak trains.
However, there are a few details you’ll want to keep in mind. Upgrades to business class aren’t available, and the passes can’t be used on Amtrak’s high-speed Acela routes or Auto Train. There are no blackout dates, but passes must be purchased prior to travel and can’t be bought on board.
You’ll also need to book before June 22 to take advantage of Amtrak’s sale pricing.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.