How to Travel Cross-Country For Only $213


The Great American Roadtrip will never go out of fashion, but let’s be realistic: most of us don’t have the time, equipment, or money to hit the road Jack Kerouac-style.

Fortunately, a car isn’t the only way to see this land that’s your land. A few years ago, blogger and self-described “adventure traveler and entrepreneur” Derek Low went the Amtrak route for a cross-country trip, and recently wrote about the experience.

He writes that the 3,400-mile trip can cost as little as $213 for a traveler making a direct trip. Low opted for a 15-day rail pass that costs $429. The 8-ride pass allowed him to take a more leisurely trip (the direct route is only four days long), and stop to explore cities along the way.

The California Zephyr departs from Emeryville, near San Francisco, and travels cross-country to Chicago. From there, you can hop the Lake Shore Limited, with New York’s Penn Station as your final destination.

Through the train windows, Low writes about seeing everything from the Sierra Nevadas to the Great Plains—through 11 states and four time zones. His travelogue is a great reminder that there’s a lot to visit from coast to coast, and it’s easier (and cheaper) to fit it all in than you might think.

To see photos from the journey (and to read up on Low's more recent excursions), check out his website.