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What are the best and worst days of the week to buy a train ticket

Traveling by train can be a great alternative to flying or hitting the road in your car, with more comfort and convenience as well as scenic views.

Best days to get a ticket to ride the rails

When planning a trip, one of the fundamentals is getting from point A to point B. Depending on how far away your destination is and where it is located you may ponder whether to jump on a plane or hop in the car.

But there is another option that many overlook, taking the train. It can provide you with more comfort and convenience than flying while at the same time giving you the scenic views of a road trip without all the driving. Not to mention that you don’t have to worry about carefully packing so that everything fits into your free luggage allowance and that your bag, bags if you are lucky, aren’t overweight.

In the United States there is just one long-distance intercity passenger railroad provider, Amtrak. It has routes running from north to south and coast to coast. While it is recommendable to travel light, less lugging things around, going by rail with Amtrak allows you to carry quite the load with you compared to flying. You can carry on with you up to 150 lbs. at no cost, check another 100 for free, and for a mere $40 check another 100 lbs. to boot.

However, just like buying a plane ticket or filling up your car, there are certain times of the week when it is cheaper to get tickets.

What are the best and worst days of the week to buy a train ticket

Just like when traveling by plane, ideally you want to book in advance to get the best deals and secure the seats that you want. But when beginning your search for tickets, your first stop should be Amtrak’s Discounts & Deals page.

Travel during peak travel periods will usually see you paying more as there is more demand for tickets. For that reason, the best days to buy tickets are generally in the middle of the week between Tuesday and Thursday, the former considered the best of all by several sources.

The worst days are Saturday and Sunday, especially the former when people head out for leisurely trips. Mondays and Fridays, depending on the time of day that you plan to travel could also be problematic. As they come at the beginning and end of the work week, you’ll be competing with commuters for seats.

It goes without saying, if you have the time, shop around, i.e. compare prices for tickets on different dates and at different times. For example, Amtrak is offering special deals on Night Owl tickets between DC to New York City, as well as from the Big Apple to Boston, and stops in between on select trains departing from 7 pm to 7 am.

Likewise, if you are flexible with your travel plans you may be able to snag a better fare. Purchasing your tickets in a group could also get you some savings, and give you some company along the way. Lastly, if you are a frequent traveler, or you plan to make multiple stops along the way, look into buying a pass. This option may turn out to be more advantageous moneywise than buying individual tickets from one destination to another.