Lonely Planet Writer

Amtrak wants to send “real people” on free train trips in the US

Travel influencers may post incredible images from amazing places around the world, but Amtrak wants to skip the glamour and find “real people” to send on free trips in the US.

The Coast Starlight is one of the Amtrak trains you can take.

The #AmtrakTakeMeThere social media residency is a new project designed to show off how different people travel around the US by rail. The company will choose people to travel on board long distance trains, sharing their experiences on social media with their own online communities. According to Amtrak, “we’re not looking for glitzy influencers with millions of followers who quit their day job to travel the world”. Instead they want leaders in their social media community, who bring a unique and diverse perspective to travel and connect with their followers at “a deeper level”.

The Capitol Limited passes through MARC’s Point of Rocks, Md., rail station. Image by Amtrak

The winners will get to take one round-trip on a long-distance train, with up to US$1000 (€879) for their travel costs. Once on board they will get the chance to share their experiences as they travel around the country. Applicants must be US residents and at least 18 years old, and can apply online until 31 January. Anyone interested will have to explain how train travel fits their travel needs better than other methods, and why they want to travel with Amtrak. The winners will be chosen by 15 February.

While it hasn’t been announced where the travellers will be going, Amtrak offers routes like the Coast Starlight, which travels along the coast between Seattle and LA, or the California Zephyr, which heads from Chicago, through the Rocky Mountains and into California.