Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Trip We Won't Take

I last night I talked to a friend about a trip he just finished - and chances are, it's one we won't ever take. For $389 he bought a USA Rail Pass ticket which gave him unlimited train access across the country for 15 days.

The result? He's made it from NY to LA, stopping in New Orleans and making his way through Texas, all for the price of that single train ticket.

He's seen way more of this country than I have. The trip hasn't been flawless - our train system sucks in a variety of ways. The biggest complaints: the trains run late and infrequently. You'd think there'd be half a dozen trains a day from DC to Charlotte, NC - there's one. Miss it, and your stuck for a day.

But still, he said he got to meet people with incredible stories and got to see landscape he would never had imagined.

The entrepreneur in me even thinks you could make a little business out of selling trips built around this ticket. Imagine developing custom itineraries, where the entire transportation cost is around $400. If you knew the right places to stop, and had the timing right so that you didn't miss trains, it could be a really affordable way to see the country. Hmmm, wonder if is free? It would be a sort of micro-travel agency.

Oh, and the reason we won't take this trip is that this specially priced ticket is only available to Non-US residents. D'oh.

At least I got to live vicariously through someone who did get to enjoy this adventure.


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