DIY

This Guy Saw The U.S. For Under $500 And You’ll Want To Copy His Trip

Amtrak is your new BFF.

1. Meet Derek Low, a 24-year-old engineer who lives in San Francisco.

Derek Low / Via facebook.com

2. Low is obsessed with traveling.

You name a place and odds are he’s been there — he’s also probably written about the experience on his website.

3. So when Low wanted to see more of the U.S. on a tight budget…

Ian Shive / Via amazon.com

4. He spent $429 on a train ticket that took him from coast to coast in 15 days.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

For $429, an Amtrak rail pass lets you break your trip into segments, allowing for stops where you can explore cities along the way. “The train ride from San Francisco to New York can be done for as cheap as $213 with no stops,” Low tells BuzzFeed Life. The fewer stops, the cheaper the ride.

5. On his trip, Low made stops in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Chicago before reaching New York.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

And he learned a lot along the way.

6. Low learned that the segment between Colorado and Utah is insanely stunning.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

“It’s the most beautiful stretch of train scenery in America,” Low says. “The train traverses the Rockies, follows the Colorado River, and rolls into the desert of Utah.”

7. I MEAN.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

You definitely can’t see that from an airplane window.

8. And that sleeping on the train isn’t so bad.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

“The reclining seats are relatively comfortable and pretty spacious, something like the business class seats on domestic airlines,” he says. “You can pay more for sleeper cars, which include proper beds and meals.”

9. Also, the food is pretty damn decent.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

Here’s Low’s portion of baby back ribs. The rotating menu features dishes like French toast, herb-roasted chicken, and “the Amtrak signature steak.”

10. And the sightseer lounge car truly is magical.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

The most perfect landscape lookout spot there is. Find observation cars in double-decker trains that run long distances mainly west of Chicago.

11. On top of it all, traveling by train means that your adventure starts way before you reach your destination.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

“The experience rewards you with far more stories and experiences and sights than you could ever witness alone in a car, eyes fixed to the road, or on a five-hour flight across the country,” Low says.

12. “Traveling by train gives you a glimpse into the soul of America,” he says.

Derek Low / Via dereklow.co

13. All aboard!

Let the adventure begin.

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