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oct 21 2008

Amtrak makes its best offer yet: Discounted rail passes

The view from the train window riding from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara (Courtesy emdot/Flickr)

It seems like every country in the world offers discounted rail passes to foreign visitors that aren't available to local citizens. The point of these discounts is, of course, to encourage tourism. And here in the U.S., Amtrak has been doing the same trick for years: offering its best discounts on train travel to foreign visitors.

But Amtrak has changed its mind and is now offering Americans the same discounted rail passes that only people living overseas could buy before.

The USA Rail Pass is available for 15, 30, and 45 days of travel, but you can space out that travel over the span of six months. As the AP reports, "the 15-day pass offers eight segments of travel for $389." A "segment" is whenever you board a train. There are no restrictions or blackout dates, so you can travel during peak times—assuming a train hasn't sold out. There are a few exceptions, of course. For example, you can't redeem the passes for travel on Amtrak's high-end services, such as Auto Train and Acela Express. (800/872-7245, USA Rail Pass)

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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