2. Upgrade if you can afford it. Traveling in coach class is inexpensive, but in a sleeping car you’ll have privacy by day and a real bed to sleep in at night. Yes, it’ll cost more, but all dining car meals are included in the price of the ticket and for a two-night trip, that would be worth about $150 for two people.
3. Pack smart. You’ll be much more comfortable in your cozy room - especially a roomette - if you leave your suitcases in the storage area near the entry doors of the sleeping car. Take only a tote bag to your compartment containing just what you’ll need for the night: toiletries, a change of underwear, a clean shirt, etc.
4. Don't miss a connection. If your itinerary involves changing trains somewhere, beware! Amtrak’s long-distance trains are often delayed because they run on tracks owned and controlled by the freight railroads whose dispatchers give priority to their trains. My advice: allow at least five hours for a connection. Better yet, stay overnight and take the next day’s train.
5. Dealing with Delays. See Rule # 1.
In the next day or two I'll start posting about some of Amtrak's overnight train rides ... where they go and what you'll see along the way. So start thinking now about taking a nice long trainride!