*Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with APCO Worldwide. My opinions, as always, remain my own.
The last few years for me have been jam-packed with long-term, mostly solo, international travels. While international travel is alluring and fun, it’s also exhausting. As such, I opted to stay in my home state of New York for the remainder of the year – but my wanderlust bug didn’t quite get the memo.
With the wanderlust bug itching, I decided to plan a few weekend getaways with family and friends. After a bit of research, I decided Philadelphia would make for a great weekend trip to take with my photography and history loving father.
We decided to put traffic, tolls, finding parking and all the headaches that come with traveling by car behind us and take the Amtrak Acela Express (an express train) from New York City’s Penn Station to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station . Amtrak’s Acela services gave me European nostalgia – with heaps of benefits to travel with Amtrak over other options.
When traveling with Amtrak you come to expect great customer service. From William who printed our tickets to Becky who checked our bags at the 30th Street Station – we were greeted with smiling faces and generally happy employees, which added to a great trip!
The Acela is known for its speed and arriving to Philadelphia from New York in less than an hour and a half was beyond impressive. I even learned that tons of people commute, daily, between Philadelphia and New York City which is now feasible via the Acela Express.
One of the best parts of traveling by Amtrak is how easy it is. Unlike the hassle with airports (security, arriving 1-3 hours prior to your departure, etc.) traveling with Amtrak is a breeze. Many Amtrak stations are located right in the heart of the city you’re traveling to/from which makes departure and arrival carefree.
As someone who almost always has work to do, Wi-Fi is an amazing service to have while traveling. The fact that Amtrak-Connect provides the service on a complimentary basis is icing on top of a cake!
Not only are the huge seats on the Acela Express extremely comfortable – they also offer much more space than one might expect. As an added bonus, there’s also power outlets available for each seat which makes charging your phone or computer effortless.
The Acela Express offers full meal service for first class passengers and for those traveling in coach class there’s a fun snack car where you can grab a beverage (a coffee from Dunkin Donuts, perhaps?) sandwich or snack. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was also no minimum for a debit card purchase!
The allotted space for carry-on luggage on the Acela Express is massive! Each passenger is allotted two personal items (25 pounds and 14 x 11 x 7 inches each) AND 2 carry-on items (50 pounds and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each). If that’s not enough space, checked baggage options are also available.
Similar to “left luggage” in Europe, some of the Amtrak stations offer a temporary baggage storage at the station. This was extremely convenient for us as we arrived in Philly just before noon and had 12:30pm tickets to a museum. We could have made our way to the hotel, checked in and left our bags there but that would’ve cut into our day by about an hour and we wanted to see as much of the city as possible. For $10 per bag we safely and securely left our bags at the station.
From the skyline of Philly to the fall foliage and the perfect sunset we caught from the end of the train – the views along the Amtrak routes are picture perfect. We loved being able to sit back, relax, and take in the views.
From the checked baggage options and the café car to the roomy seats and the views and hues along the way – Amtrak’s Acela Express is bringing European travel here to the states. Not only is traveling with Amtrak convenient and easy – it’s also fun!