Amtrak is offering high school junior and senior students a great deal with the Campus Visit Discount deal: a half-off Amtrak ticket for a parent or guardian who will be traveling with you as you visit prospective colleges, which can help save a lot of money.
Amtrak is partnering with Collegia on the promotion, who are a company helping high school students connect with the right college.
Here's everything you need to know about applying for the discount.
How to Get the Discounted Amtrak Ticket
To get the high school students' 50 percent off Amtrak ticket deal, go to Collegia's Campus Visit page and click on the "Apply Now" link. You'll fill out a short form, be provided with an Amtrak promotional code, and then you can then go to Amtrak's homepage and book your tickets online, using that code. Simple and fast, and can save you a decent amount of cash!
Half Off Amtrak Ticket Deal Details
There are several limitations to the deal. Here's what you need in order to take advantage of it:
- In order to snap up this offer, you'll need to make your reservations at least seven days before the date on which you're planning on traveling.
- You should also be away that the discount cannot be used on the Canadian portion of joint Amtrak/VIA Rail trains at any time of year for this promotion, or in the popular Northeast corridor during peak travel times (Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m. - 6:59 p.m.)
- Discount blackout dates might apply at busy times of year, so you should check the Amtrak booking page in advance to see if your travel dates are included or not. Holidays are usually excluded, for example.
What is Traveling by Amtrak Like?
Train travel is one of my favorite ways to explore more of the United States.
Trains are more comfortable than buses, and you actually get to see the country in ways you can't from a plane. Traveling by train also helps you to gain perspective of the scale of the U.S., especially if you decide to cross the entire country by Amtrak.
As for the Amtrak carriages, the compartments are clean and comfortable, and you'll mostly likely have access to a power socket and an internet connection if you have any work to do on your journey. Don't expect the internet to be all that usable, but it's often enough to slowly load websites and email as you're on the move.
Traveling cross-country and need to take an overnight train? Sleeping compartments on Amtrak trains have a top bunk which folds up and a dinette below. The table folds down and the seats form a bed, which is great, because you get to sleep level with the window; it's a wonderful way to fall asleep, watching the lights of small towns and farms winking in the darkness and listening to the old rhythm of the rails. It also means you don't have to pay for a hotel stay, saving whatever you would have spent on accommodation that night.
Amtrak is a very safe method of transport, so you don't need to take too many precautions for your trip, and especially if you'll be traveling with a parent or guardian.
As long as you use common sense and keep an eye on what's going on around you, you'll be totally fine.
When you're on the train, it's worth making sure your luggage is within your sight at all times. Look to see if you can place your suitcase in an overhead rack above your head, if you have one, and keep any small bags by your side. I usually wrap the strap of my backpack around my foot while I'm sitting down to keep it securely by my side.
If you're traveling with anything particularly valuable, it might be worth investing in a padlock for your bag to deter any thieves. If you're going to be sleeping overnight, consider keeping your backpack on your bed with your feet touching it, so you'll be aware if anybody tries to move it during the night.
Again, I must stress that all of this is a very rare occurrence, but if you're worried about it, there's no harm in investing in some extra security for your belongings.
More Amtrak Student Travel Discounts
If you're a college student rather than a high school student, there's no need to feel as though you're missing out: you can also receive discounted train rides from Amtrak year-round for as many trips as you like.
Amtrak offers a 15% discount to anyone who has an ISIC (International Student Identify Card), which are incredibly easy to get your hands on. ISIC cards are available to full-time students aged 12-26, and it's definitely worth spending the cash for one, as you'll easily make your money back through utilizing the discounts that are available to you. With an ISIC, you'll gain access to travel discounts, shopping rewards, and even be able to get your hands on some sweet travel insurance deals. It's not just travel, either: you can snag discounts on anything from clothes to food to toiletries to books!
This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff.