How To Take a Road Trip Without A Car

by  Tyra Sutak | Oct 4, 2016

Taking the Great American Road Trip is a rite of passage for travelers, but spending hours behind the wheel isn’t for everyone. If exploring the vast U.S. is on your bucket list, but driving isn’t, check out our tips for road tripping -- sans car.

By Train

Train travel has been highly romanticized since its beginning. Today, several transit companies offer itineraries with the road tripper in mind.

Since 1971, Amtrak has been offering service that connects travelers to 46 states and to a handful of destinations in Canada. Though it was created as a means for point-to-point travel, Amtrak now offers vacation packages that are searchable by route, departing city, destination, and vacation types. From touring America’s national parks, to speciality trips like the Blues and Bayou trip through the historic music cities of Memphis, New Orleans, and Chicago, Amtrak offers it. Package pricing typically includes roundtrip fare, a mix of Amtrak accommodations and accommodations in visiting cities, plus the cost of some additional tour, sightseeing, and dining fees.

Can’t quite decide where your road trip adventures will take you? Vacations By Rail offers a variety of travel packages in a wide range of categories, based on season, price, location, and number of travelers in your party. Hop on board for a coast-to-coast trip, or connect with nature on trains to Alaska, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and more. Vacations By Rail also offers river and ocean cruises, if you want to mix in a little time on the water.

If the idea of a road trip conjures up thoughts of communing with nature and exploring the wild western frontier, then America By Rail might be for you. Although the company offers rail tours throughout the United States and into Canada, their most enticing trips are to the National Parks, including Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, and the Grand Canyon. Because these tours sell out, it’s best to make reservations fairly far in advance.

By Bus

Perhaps the most rugged option, bussing your way across the country gives you the authentic road trip experience, while someone else does the driving.

Companies like Greyhound offer a vast network of bus stations that make it easy and affordable to access cities across the country. On the road, you can kick back and relax in a comfy seat with free WiFi, and charge your electronics while you’re at it. There’s no guide and no itinerary with this option, but if you’re looking to have a piece of the freedom that comes with driving across the country, Greyhound is the best option for you.

If you'd prefer a bit more structure, Trek America's “Choose Your Adventure” packages offer the thrill of exploring the unknown, with a group. Especially great for solo travelers, the company has camping trips, winter tours, budget trips, and more -- all designed to help you meet new travel buddies along the way.

By Water

If the water calls to you, there are a number of ways to take in breathtaking views of the country by boat.

American Cruise Lines offers multiple river-based trips within the U.S. Take your pick of a cruise on the Lower Mississippi, the Upper Mississippi, or just explore the entire river. They also offer cruises along the Cumberland River, the Ohio River, through New Orleans, and more.

From barge cruises to river boats, USA River Cruises traverse the waterways of the Great Lakes, the Pacific Northwest, and the scenic waterways along the east coast. Packaged trips are available and come with a hearty itinerary that showcases the countryside along some of the most photo-worthy bodies of water in the U.S. Keep an eye out for group rates and early bird pricing.

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