Holiday Travel and Taking Amtrak to Grandma’s

Here’s Ava arriving in Richmond as Amtrak pulls out of the station.

Train It For Stress Free Holiday Family Travel

Road trips with your girlfriends can be a riot. Road trips with  two feisty children and a grumpy husband can make you never want to leave home again. And with the holidays just around the corner, travelling in the next few months can not be avoided.

At least a few times a year my family travels up and down the northeast corridor to Grandma and Grandpas house in Richmond, Virginia. The 355 miles trek is exhausting, frustrating and can either be a six hour long trip or  depending on traffic – 12 hours..

So, for our latest trip south we teamed up with Amtrak to see if we could stop my littlest one from asking over and over again, “Are we there yet.”

John and Ave in the service car playing cards!

Amtrak offers a lot of different times along this route but the most appealing with an 8 year old and 11 year old is the shortest so we opted for the 6:33am train which is a bit early but brought us into Richmond right before lunch time.

One of the great things about taking the train is that you literally just roll your suitcases onto the train car and take a seat.  Each child was armed with an ipad, books and playing cards and within minutes was lounged out in the spacious seats surfing Amtrak’s free wi-fi. 

My children’s most favorite part of the trip was the food service car for two reasons; the selection of goodies and the booths.  First they loved ordering their own meals which comes in a cute portable cardboard tray. John had the pizza and Ava ordered the Ramen Noodles. Secondly, they enjoyed sitting at the tables watching the landscape, dining and playing Go Fish, Rummy and Crazy Eights.  

Grandma snapped this picture as Amtrak was pulling into the Richmond Station

The trip to Virginia  took only about 5 1/2 hours and surprisingly didn’t cost that much more than if we had driven.  

The train trip turned out to be relaxing, stress free and dare I say –  fun.

But here’s what I didn’t expect from taking the train with my kids… that they would actually get along! The train allowed my children to have my uninterrupted attention for over five hours. We played video games, cards and giggled our pants off.  We arrived in Richmond refreshed, relaxed and happy. And I think my son only asked one time, “Are we there yet?” 



When I got off the train I told my mother, “I will never drive to Virginia again. Amtrak all the way!”

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Save 25% or more by booking 14 days in advance. Did we mention kids ages 2-12 travel 50% off and kids under two travel free? Our generous baggage policy ensures you won’t need to leave anything behind and if you’re traveling with infants under the age of two, you’re also allowed items like strollers or diaper bags that will not count toward the carry-on limit.


About Carey Reilly 182 Articles
Carey Reilly is TV Host, Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Comedian and Mom to two children. Carey is a regular contributor to NBC's Today Show,, HLN, CNN, VH-1, Cooking Channel and Food Network. Carey's lifestyle brand keeps people posted on the latest food, cocktails travel and entertainment news.


  1. Amtrak has One !!!!!! One, dome car. Trying to sell the view on the train is tough when the windows are small and dirty. In the entire system they have one dome car.

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