Making Old New Again: The Rise of Rail Vacations
As vacationers seek to slow the fast pace of their 21st century lives, they’re breathing life back into a 19th and early 20th centuries commodity. Railroad travel and rail vacations are rising in popularity and are the perfect way to relax on your next vacation.
Rail travel is not what it used to be. Whether you want to travel domestically or internationally, leading rail travel companies have upgraded their trains to improve comfort and include modern amenities, such as WIFI. It’s also not just to get from point A to point B anymore. Now rail vacations are all about the journey, the views, and the destinations along the way.
For those interested in relaxing in comfort, with the freedom to move around as they travel, these rail vacations are big hits.
Take a one-of-a-kind vacation throughout the country with Amtrak Vacations. Whether you want a cross-country scenic journey or a city bucket list tour, Amtrak offers more than 300 vacations with more than 500 rail stations across the country. Enjoy the best of National Parks, sightseeing tours, dining, entertainment and more.
If you’re looking to travel a little further, join a luxury tour with Rocky Mountaineer. Choose from one of their four distinctive routes, exploring the most scenic and historic parts of Canada. One of the most popular choices is the Journey Through the Clouds, experiencing mountains, canyons, glaciers, falls, and the majestic Mount Robson. If you can’t choose just one, you can always choose a Circle Journey, combining two or three routes into one magical vacation.
Travel to all your favorite destinations in Europe in comfort while enjoying the beauty from city to city. Whether you choose to travel with Rail Europe or Railbookers, both can offer a variety of independent and group travel tours to help you experience all the history and beauty you expect to find throughout Europe.
Ready to take a step back from the 21st century into a more relaxing and luxurious way to travel and see the sights? Contact your local AAA Travel Agent to learn more about life on the rails and booking your next vacation.
America by Rail
America’s varied scenery - rolling prairies, plains, and towering mountain peaks - paint a lovely picture for a USA train vacation. Add to that background bustling cities, varied and spectacular national parks, and acclaimed historic sites and attractions, and it’s easy to see why a train trip anywhere in the United States is the basis for a great vacation.
Some suggestions for getting around the USA by train include:
For over 40 years, Amtrak has been committed to moving America. Serving over 500 destinations, you can see America in a fun and comfortable way. Amtrak offers tickets to take you from one city to the next, as well as entire vacation packages to see and explore even more.
Amtrak Vacations combines the thrill of riding the rails with inclusive travel packages for one-of-a-kind vacations throughout North America. Specializing in Escorted and Independent Rail Journeys, Rail and Sail Vacations, Rail Getaways and more, Amtrak Vacations offers over 300 rail vacations to amazing cities, scenic landscapes and spectacular National Parks with options to depart from more than 500 Amtrak rail stations across the country. AAA’s knowledgeable travel agents provide unparalleled service while planning your rail vacation inclusive of accommodations, sightseeing tours, dining options and entertainment. They are full of tips and details about life on the train and keen to share their passion for travel with you to help you make the most of this memorable experience. From cross-country bucket list experiences to fun city getaways, Amtrak Vacations is the perfect choice for your next vacation.
Contact a AAA Travel Agent.
Available exclusively at AAA Travel, a AAA Vacations® rail package is not only going to be an extraordinary experience but it's also going to include extras you can't find anywhere else.
Check out these amazing opportunities.
Grand Canyon Railway
Make the most of your trip to the only one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World located in North America. Every year, millions of people visit the Grand Canyon. Its legend is known the world over. But how do you maximize your experience to this once-in-a-lifetime destination? With Grand Canyon Railway. With a variety of packages, you can see the Grand Canyon how you choose - from a simple day excursion to a couple of nights at the Canyon. And Grand Canyon rail adds to the fun with Old West characters, strolling musicians, shoot outs and more.
Contact a AAA Travel Agent.
Canadian Rail Journeys
Riding the Canadian Rails with our partner Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer offers over 65 unique Canadian vacation packages and four distinctive rail routes, rich in history and natural wonders, through British Columbia and Alberta. This world renowned, luxurious train travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada’s West and is the best way to experience the majestic Canadian Rockies, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the past 25 years, Rocky Mountaineer has grown to become the largest privately owned luxury tourist train company in the world and has welcomed over 1.7 million guests from around the world.
Canadian Rockies Routes
No matter what route your choose, you are sure to ooh and aah your whole journey. Rocky Mountaineer features:
- Circle Journeys: Experience two or three of our famous rail routes in one unforgettable vacation. It's the best way to see many of the highlights along the way including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Banff and Jasper, iconic Lake Louise, and Whistler.
- First Passage to the West: Travel through the legendary Spiral Tunnels and pass by the spot where the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven. This is the only passenger rail service on this historic route, and its construction is one of the most important in Canadian history as it united Canada from east to west. You’ll also transverse the Continental Divide and be inspired by spectacular mountains and dramatic canyons. If you’re a history buff, this route is for you.
- Journey Through the Clouds: Travel through scenic valleys, the Coastal Mountain Range and the Fraser Canyon with its spectacular white water and dramatic landscape. You will follow the route of the Fraser River, home of British Columbia’s largest salmon fishing run, pass by the Albreda Glacier and magnificent Pyramid Falls, and hopefully see wildlife on the way. The highlight of this route is majestic Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.
- Rainforest to Gold Rush: Enjoy some of the most breathtaking and varied rail scenery found anywhere in the world on this route. Travel past stunning lakes, through the coastal rainforest and the desert-like conditions of the Fraser Canyon into the vast ranchlands of the Cariboo Plateau. Visit the Gold Pan City of Quesnel, journey through the Rocky Mountain Trench, be awestruck by spectacular Mount Robson, and finish off in the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies.
- Coastal Passages: This unique rail experience connects the cosmopolitan cities of Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. to the breathtaking Canadian Rockies. Guests will experience an all daylight journey onboard the Rocky Mountaineer travelling along the Pacific Ocean's sparkling coastline.
Rail and Sea Adventures
Another amazing opportunity to enjoy an incredible Rocky Mountaineer journey is to combine one of the itineraries with a scenic Alaska cruise. Rocky Mountaineer has partnered with Holland America Line, another one of our premium travel partners, to offer a selection of rail and sea journeys that will show you the very best of the area.
Breathtaking scenery of glacier-fed lakes, majestic mountains and ferocious rivers. All daylight, all delight. Choose from GoldLeaf Service, or SilverLeaf Service on our Canadian Rockies routes.
- GoldLeaf Service: Rocky Mountaineer's custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed GoldLeaf coach puts you right in the middle of the awe-inspiring scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Take in the dazzling vistas upstairs, and enjoy delicious meals downstairs. GoldLeaf Service is quite simply, as good as it gets. Fully domed windows that give you unparalleled panoramic views from your seat in the upper-level of our bi-level dome coach, hot gourmet meals prepared from regional cuisine by Executive Chefs, complimentary beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) throughout the journey, along with gourmet snacks, and an exclusive outdoor vestibule in the lower-level of your dome coach.
- SilverLeaf Service: To celebrate Rocky Mountaineer's Silver 25th anniversary, SilverLeaf Service has undergone exciting enhancements! Guests will now be able to enjoy a delectable SilverLeaf culinary program that includes seat side service, more beverage choices, gourmet snacks, and more choices, with entrée options at breakfast and lunch and customizable servings to suit the ravenous as well as those with a lighter appetite.
- As a AAA Premier partner, Rocky Mountaineer offers our clients a Member Benefit of souvenir credit to spend during your journey
- Rocky Mountaineer has a collection of itineraries in the AAA Vacations® program, featuring the exclusive amenities of double member benefit and a half day sightseeing tour on select journeys.
Travel Like the Europeans Do
You can find an extensive network of train routes throughout Europe making getting around easy, affordable and very scenic. Whether you're interested in passes on local trains or tour packages with rail experiences, we and our premium partners can give you the Europe rail experience you're seeking.
Traveling with Rail Europe
Exploring Europe by rail allows you to avoid many of the pressures of travel. By way of an exclusive arrangement with Rail Europe, AAA Travel Agency offers a variety of options for planners who know the cities they want to go to — and less structured programs for free spirits who prefer exploring without a set schedule.
Travel with Rail Europe and you'll find:
- Eurail Passes for single or multiple countries
- Point-to-point tickets and reservations aboard Europe’s premier high-speed trains including Eurostar, TGV, Thalys, ICE, AVE and more
- Rail ’n Drive Passes which combine car rental with train travel, allowing you to explore all of Europe’s treasures
- City and museum passes, airport rail links, sightseeing tours and excursions
- Pass discounts for youths, seniors, and two or more traveling together
- Group discounts for parties of 10 or more
Rail Europe offers AAA clients complimentary rail pass theft/loss protection on select purchases.
Escorted and Locally Hosted Journeys
See the great sites of Europe with an expert guide to help you along the way. While not focused entirely on rail travel, many of these journeys incorporate train rides into the itinerary as a wonderful way not just to travel but also to see the beautiful scenery along the way.
If traveling with a group is not quite your style, but you'd still like a local resource to be at hand, consider a Locally Hosted package. You get the independence you want along with someone to answer questions, make suggestions and more. These packages also incorporate train travel into the itinerary, so you can enjoy riding the rails as part of a bigger adventure.
Several of these journeys are part of the AAA Vacations® program, meaning not only a wonderful experience but also exclusive amenities!
Five Amazing Rides
Five Amazing Rides
from our Travel partner, Allianz Global Assistance
A train is rarely the swiftest, or the cheapest, way to get from point A to point Z. But there's something special about travel by train. It provides an intimate glimpse of the backyards and backwoods of the country you're visiting. The uniformed conductors and dining cars recall a golden age of travel, long before patdowns and cramped coach seats. And the scenery can take your breath away.
These five train rides are all legendary travel experiences, both for scenery and for luxury.
The Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia
Birch forests, wild steppes and onion-domed churches: You'll see it all on the famed Trans-Siberian Railway. The popular Moscow-to-Beijing via Mongolia train ride takes six nights. From your sleeping compartment, you'll see Lake Baikal and the Gobi Desert. The stations themselves are worthwhile destinations, from the futuristic station in Tynda to the classic beauty of the Vladivostok train station.
The Ghan in Australia
There's no better way to experience the wild beauty of Australia than the three-day, 1,846-mile train ride on the Ghan, from the train station in Adelaide in the north to Darwin in the south. The Ghan, named for the Afghan camel drivers who pioneered the route, passes by red deserts, green hills and the stunning Katherine Gorges. You might even see some freshwater crocodiles along the way - from a safe distance, of course.
The Rocky Mountaineer in Canada
Every scene glimpsed through the windows of the Rocky Mountaineer train looks like a picture postcard. The two-day train ride from Vancouver to Calgary is designed to let travelers soak in the majestic mountains, waterfalls and lakes, with an overnight stop in the mining town of Kamloops. For a first-class train vacation, upgrade to the glass-roofed GoldLeaf car, which offers gourmet dining and reclining seats.
The Blue Train in South Africa
The Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria is known for five-star service. Luxury suites include bathtubs, plush furnishings and crisp sheets; dinner is accompanied by white linen tablecloths and crystal glassware. Afternoon tea and evening cognacs are served in two lounges. But don't let the luxe accommodations distract you from the views of the South African countryside you can only get when you travel by train.
The Venice Simplon Orient-Express in Western Europe
The train immortalized by Agatha Christie has lost none of its luster since the Orient-Express route began in 1883. On the contrary: this train journey is now the gold standard for railroad luxury. The gleaming rail cars, liveried carriage stewards, fabulous French food and musicians who greet the passengers at each train station create an unforgettable train travel experience. You'll pay the price for luxury: As of this writing, the five-night train vacation on the Orient-Express from Paris to Istanbul costs about $20,000.
Amtrak National Parks by Rail
Lose yourself in the exquisite beauty and wonder of North America's treasured national parks. You could spend a lifetime exploring these beautiful landscapes and still discover something new to appreciate each time. Come make memories that will be talked about for years to come.