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Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

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Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

Hi There

My new wife (getting married in Vegas) and I are planning our first trip to the US (from New Zealand) and are keen to include some time on a train.

We will be visiting a friend in Atlanta and are thinking of making the trip back to LA via train. Due to time restraints we only have two days for this. So I was thinking of flying to either Chicago and taking the Southwest Chief or New Orleans and taking the Sunset Limited. Anyone have an opinion on which one would be best?

At the moment I am leaning to the Southwest Chief but only because we can then say we have been to Chicago and it does get into LA later which is better.

Also any tips on what would improve the experience would be very much appreciated. It’s fair to say my partner is less interested than I am so I’m a little worried she might not enjoy it. Anything I can do to make it a better experience for her would be great. We are going to take a Superliner Bedroom and will start the trip on the 11th February 2013.

What’s the issue with baggage can we not get access to it once it’s checked?

Thanks for your help.

Mike

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

Take the Southwest Chief. By auto it would be old route 66. It is the shortest Chicago to the west coast train. The Sunset Limited takes one day longer - one whole day meandering through Texas. If Texas interests you , you can take the Crescent from Atlanta to New Orleans to transfer to the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to LA - or - Take the Texas Eagle from Chicago to San Antonio Texas where it becomes part of the Sunset Limited west .

The Southwest Chief is an every day train. The Sunset is a three days a week in each direction train so it's more crowded and harder to get bedrooms.

You will take an airline carry-on bag, a cosmetics case, and computer and toy bag on the train with you. If you have one large bag between the two of you, amtrak will allow you to also take it on and leave it in the luggage rack on the lower level of your car. If you have any more luggage than that, check the extra bags. The two of us usually have 4 small bags to take upstairs to the bedroom and one larger piece of luggage to leave in the luggage rack (which is accessible if need be). Be cognizant that the space under the sofa bed is 9" and you will want to stash a bag or two under there. (most airplane carry-ons are 12"-14" wide)

FYI flying into Chicago and going to Union Station to catch a train is not visiting Chicago. Spend a couple of days here.

Edited: 20 December 2012, 18:05
California
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2. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

I too would recommend the southwest chief. It is a better train with much better scenery. Another thought. Fly to Denver and take the California zephyr to emery vile and connect with the coast starlight to LA. Both train have spectacular scenary. The CZ. Thru the Rockies and Sierra mtns and the CS along the California coast. Enjoy

Auckland, New...
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3. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

@shallow_shoals. Thanks very help full. I appreciate a few hours in Chicago isn’t really counted as a visit. It’s a shame we only have three weeks so much to see and do. A few hours is better than nothing LOL.

Auckland, New...
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4. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

@Steve08california thanks, also very help full. Our focus is more the west coast primarily because of the wedding, and it’s on my partners 50th which she has for 10 years been promising herself would be celebrated in Vegas. So we did look at many train trips and have decided on the Chicago to LA. It fits in nicely with see my old mate (haven’t seen him since 1997) in Atlanta. We are spending a week In LA and San Francisco with a drive up the coast from LA to San Francisco.

Tijuana, Baja...
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5. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

hi there!!! I live in Tijuana Mexico, my boyfriend lives in Mundelein , Illinois, near Chicago! I've been there a week ago ( 3 weeks I stood) I want to go back on December ( 21 st - Jan 4 ) 2 weeks only but this time I'm taking my children with me , 10 & 4 years old.... I want to know how's the weather in those days...is it snowy ? or verrry cold? I stilll don't know via airplane or train .... train is cheaper but longer... with children I know it's tired but beautiful scenaries and adventures... can you help me with the fact : weather... planning it with bedroom ...etc... baggage etc.... im feeling again very excited and it's only august 12 th. :s LOL I will appreciate it! ---Marcela.

Edited: 12 August 2013, 17:21
Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

Yes it is cold in the winter. Since you're from such a warm climate it will be very cold for you. The kids will probably love it. It's Santa's North Pole moved south. You don't have any weather to compare it with in your corner of the world. I'd take the kids on the train to get here and fly them home after they're all worn out. You can catch the 2:40 afternoon train in San Diego to LA to connect with the Southwest Chief.

Tijuana, Baja...
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7. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

I have a question...Does ask for passports on board? I have my mexican passport and my girl aso, my son is american he has his passport... but the thing is that the three are expired! i must renew each ..sooo the big question is that I only going to use my visa & permit or also I should bring the passports (the book ) as in the Airport.. thanx!

Bucks County...
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8. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

You only need a passport on the train if you are leaving the U.S. on that train. The only trains that do that go to Canada.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

If you're coming into the States from Mexico won't you need your passports to cross the boarder? Domestic train travel doesn't ask for passports. Your ID just has to match the name on your ticket(s). It can be your drivers license. It never hurts to have your passports up to date. Won't you'll want to do this anyway in case something goes wrong on your trip in a foreign country.

10. Re: Taking a trip to LA from Chicago or New Orleans cant decide

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Removed on: 26 September 2013, 01:06
Edited: 26 September 2013, 01:06