Planning for travel already comes with its own list of things to consider, from what to pack to how to budget. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, things got even trickier, and traveling safely became more important than ever. Weighing safety precautions before any adventure, though, is not new for Black travelers, who have always had to consider what experiences would be most welcoming and inclusive. The desire to not only feel safe while traveling, but also valued and respected, are at the forefront of Black travelers’ minds, and we’ve seen that played out in history, from the historic Green Book guides, to the rise in Black travel communities online.
And one of the most comfortable, easy, convenient and interesting ways to travel this holiday season is by Amtrak train.
Monet Hambrick, a successful writer, influencer and creator of The Traveling Child, is no stranger to traveling with a family and the number of things that requires considering. Her insight on travel with a family is particularly timely for the upcoming holidays, when so many of us will face deciding the best and safest options for our families to celebrate.
“We did a Euro-trip a few years ago, visiting seven cities all by train as well as traveling by train in Morocco. I loved the convenience of not having to arrive hours before our train departed like you do when flying, having more room to walk around and a big table for my kids to be able to color or play with games and toys. It's also a blessing not having to drive or carry around a car seat when your kids are younger,” she shared.
Although traveling looks different with more precautions these days, Hambrick has still found ways to safely travel and create experiences with her family. “…Now more than ever it's important to read all the recent reviews for any accommodations you're thinking of staying in to be sure cleanliness is up to par with today's standards,” she said.
Amtrak has met the growing concerns in travel head one with a number of initiatives, including safety measures. As part of Amtrak’s new standard of travel Amtrak has partnered with Lysol’s germ-kill experts and microbiologists who will help Amtrak strengthen and reinforce comprehensive disinfection protocols for Amtrak trains, stations and Metropolitan Lounges. Lysol Disinfectant Wipes are used across high-touch and high-traffic areas, where germs are most prevalent. In addition, all passengers are required to wear face masks while onboard and in stations, and signs are displayed at Amtrak’s busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas and onboard leading up to the café car counter. Instead of stressing about safety protocols, you and your family can spend time enjoying the beautiful scenery and cities unfolding outside your window on Amtrak’s train lines to over 500 destinations in 46 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. Amtrak is also waiving all change fees for reservations made by December 31, 2020, so that you can rest easy knowing that if your family has a change in plans, you won’t be penalized.
When planning for her family getaways, Hambrick relies on the power of a good online deal.
“We're always searching the internet for promo codes before booking activities and checking sites like Groupon and Travelzoo for deals as well as checking if the city offers a CItyPass for extra savings. We also like to know what free attractions may be available in a city, some attractions are free on certain days or have ongoing sponsorships,” she adds.
Planning ahead and being responsible are themes that Hambrick, like many of us, take into careful consideration when planning any travel now. Having the flexibility to adjust to these new times as well as the assurance that we are safe, is key. For Amtrak, “all aboard” truly means just that: all travelers onboard are welcome, with safety measures in place to relieve the stress often faced with other modes of travel. Black travelers deserve to feel safe and uplifted in any experience, and with that peace of mind in train travel, new memories for your family are just a train track away.
(Royalty-free photo via Getty)
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