Traveling from San Francisco to New York by Train

Traveling from San Francisco to New York by Train

In my previous post How to take a Long Train Trip for Fun that I shared with you my best experiences on a train and how to enjoy the long train trip. One of my goal this year is to take a cross-country train trip from San Francisco to New York. While the trip does take some initial planning to sort out the itinerary and travel times, the reviews of a coast to coast train trip from friends is something that I want to experience for myself.

It turns out that there are a number of options for cross country train travel—and Amtrak has nine different trips between San Francisco and New York each day. Worried about not being connected while you sit on the train? Not a problem! Most of the trains traveling this route offer WiFi and have power outlets to charge all of your devices.

One thing that I did learn while planning my own trip is that the average time for this trip takes just over 80 hours—which is not bad, considering that you’re traveling over 3,000 miles across the country! As I mentioned in my last post, you should remember to book a sleeper car to get a solid night’s sleep since you need to spend at least 3 nights on the train.

In order to prepare well for your train trip, you need to pack for an overnight train ride:

Wear comfortable clothes: Wearing a stretchy clothing will make your ride more enjoyable

Do not forget to bring headphones, phone and camera charger and a power strip: while you enjoy listening to your favorite songs, you can read a news or chat with your friends on your phone simultaneously without being out-of-battery. Moreover, when the train makes shortstops, you should get out for a bit of fresh air and to stretch your legs and take photos at that time.

Bring special toiletries: most of the sleeper cars provide shampoo, soap that what you need to bring are toothpaste, mouthwash, body lotion and so on. Because there are no liquids restrictions by train, you feel free to bring any liquid items.

Storage space: since the storage space in the sleeper car rooms is small, you should take advantage of the two free checked-bags that your train offers

A Book: Reading a book is my favorite activity to kill the time on a long train trip. I recommend you read Before Sunrise & Before Sunset is a romance story between two strangers on a train from Budapest to Vienna. They share their stories during the trip that make them feel attracted each other.We can feel the connection to their relationship  and the intensity of their feelings on so many topics.We all grow through life in the way that they did and reading this creates ripples of deep thoughts as if I am taking a train ride and deciding my what ifs and being in touch with the adventurer spirit inside me.

The average cost of the cross-country trip is $300, but it also depends on the time and the route that you choose to take. Since there are no straight train trips to New York, you can choose different cities to connect in that you find interesting—Chicago, Boston, you name it. If you decide to make a straight trip from SF to NY, it will take a little over 4 days to arrive in New York, but if you decide you want to stop in different cities, you’ll have to book each leg of the trip separately so that you have time to go out and explore for a day or two before getting back on the train.

One itinerary that appeals to me is scheduling stopovers in Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, and finally reaching New York—I think this will give me plenty of time to see the sights, meet new people on the train, and take in the diverse scenery that the United States offers!


Amy Nguyen

Amy Nguyen

I feel happy to share my experiences with you about Travel - Food - Life around the world. I hope to inspire you to Live-Love- Laugh :)



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