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Remember back in February when I got stranded on Long Island due to the blizzard? My flight kept getting cancelled so I booked my first trip on Amtrak.

It was fantastic.

So fantastic that I mentioned it in addition to my five ways writers can make money writing while they travel.

When I tell people I took the train, their first reaction is a sour scrunch of the nose and twist of the lips. They complain about the trains never being on time. Well, I’m sure many people have had that problem, but I had a lovely 10-hour trip from New York to Raleigh. What I thought was odd was that my train arrived in Raleigh 30 minutes early – and the train kept going. So you don’t need to only worry about getting to the station late—but you may need to worry about not getting there early enough.

On the first trip I was on a non-Wi-Fi train, so I had saved websites I needed for blog research to my computer the night before and used my iPhone for any additional references as needed.

raleigh amtrak

Raleigh skyline from the Amtrak station.

Cons of Train Travel

washington memorial

View of DC’s Washington Memorial from the train.

This past weekend I took Amtrak once again, but I booked both ways on their Wi-Fi trains. My “delay” leaving Raleigh was only 7 minutes, but I arrived in New York 15 minutes early. On my trip north, the train car I was in had a broken thermostat. They gave us free bottles of water and I continued to write the entire time. It was a steamy ride until DC, where they allowed us to move to another car of our choice. I kept blogging away, finished sending month-end invoices, and even took some time to spring clean and optimize my own writer website.

empire state building

Empire State Building after exiting Penn.

Traveling in coach means there is a high risk of loud children. I have lucked out every time and was able to find quiet train cars. There are other professionals who have not upgraded to business class, and I found their phone conversations about business deals more distracting than any of the kids on board.

3 Reasons Why Amtrak is Great for Writers

  1. You meet really interesting characters. I met a woman who was afraid of flying and was taking the train from New York to Miami. I met a college girl who—within 5 minutes of meeting me—unloaded personal details about the third time she found out she was pregnant “out of nowhere” and had to “take care of it.”
  2. You can WRITE. Write the old-fashioned way or plug in your laptop and focus on your work.
  3. Budget-friendly. Writers are always looking for ways to keep costs down. Normally flights to New York from Raleigh are at or under $100 each way. But with the holiday weekend that just passed, round-trip flights were no cheaper than $600. Amtrak was a lovely $88 each way, with only a mere $44 to upgrade to business class.