Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see the United States. Unlike the flight, you can actually see the country as you pass, and unlike the bus ride, it is really comfortable to do so. The train ride also helps give you an idea of how big America really is.
The only downside to traveling by train in the United States is the price. Seats on Amtrak can often add up to be more expensive than flying, which is a huge downside. Fortunately, as a student, there is an easy way to save money on all your Amtrak trips. All you need to do is get an ISIC card!
An ISIC card entitles you to a 15% discount on your Amtrak ticket, as well as many other discounts and rewards for travel-related activities.
How to get an ISIC card
If you have full-time education and are over the age of 12, you have the right to apply for an ISIC (International Student Identity Card), which is the ticket for discounts on travel, accommodation, shopping, entertainment and now train travel fares Amtrak. The card costs $ 22- $ 25 and is valid until December 31 of each year.
- How to get an ISIC card
Amtrak ISIC rules and train schedules
From the Amtrak / ISIC discount rules: “The ISIC discount cannot be applied if:
- You are booking a ticket on a Metroliner or Acela Express Service train Monday through Friday.
- Your trip will connect with another train that is not an Amtrak carrier, including the Canadian portions of the joint Amtrak / VIA Rail Canada service.
- You want to upgrade the accommodation on your train ticket (although the cardholder can upgrade your accommodation to the standard rate)
- You have also booked any multi-trip fare or want to use the discount in conjunction with other discounts and promotions, unless specifically noted.
With that said, check the Amtrak schedule before making reservations with your ISIC card, and don’t forget to check out Amtrak’s weekly deals, as you may get better results than the 15% student discount on the ISIC card.
How to buy a discounted Amtrak student ticket
Once you’ve ordered your ISIC card, it’s time to make your first reservation and take advantage of the student discount! Once you have chosen your route and clicked to make the reservation, you will see a box for you to enter your ISIC number to receive the discount. That should work right away and you will see the new price 15% off.
- Further reading: Amtrak “secret” promo codes that sometimes work to offer discounts for certain routes. Definitely worth checking before booking!
Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Amtrak in the United States
In general, train travel in the United States is very safe. You should only take the normal precautions you would in any other situation to ensure your safety.
I recommend keeping your luggage close to you at all times, especially if you will be traveling overnight. You should also try to keep your luggage above your head or under your seat rather than on the shelves between cars, because it is much more difficult for thieves to steal it when it is within their sight.
While Amtrak has food options on board, and often a restaurant car, the quality is often poor and the prices are outrageous. Opt to bring some snacks for your trip so you don’t have to resort to microwaveable meals on your trip.
And of course, if you’re taking the train across the border into Canada, don’t forget to take your passport with you!
This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff.