Ultimate Amtrak Getaway – Memphis To New Orleans

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Now that flights have come to an hault due to COVID-19 there are alternative methods travel from Memphis to New Orleans.  While train travel is not new to Europe and other countries it is overlooked by most U.S. travelers.

Taking the Amtrack from Memphis to New Orleans is a great alternative to  flights because you are not crammed into a tight seat with your neighbor practically sitting in your lap, the food is better and there is room to walk around or you can upgrade to a private room or quiet car. 

If you live in Memphis and want to meet your bff in New Orleans for a girls trip you can either spend $500.00 on a flight, 9 plus hours driving and once you get to New Orleans you will spend an arm and a leg on parking or catch the Amtrack from Memphis to New Orleans. 

The train ride from Memphis to New Orleans is approximately 359 miles.  If you are driving it will take around 10 hours to get New Orleans depending on how fast you are driving and how many times you stop. 

The average time via Amtrak Memphis to New Orleans is a little over 8 hours. 

Amtrak Check-in Memphis to New Orleans

The Amtrak station in Memphis is located in downtown Memphis at Central Station.  Memphis’ Central Station is now home to both the Amtrak Station and the Curio Collection Hotel by Hilton.  

Upon arrival at Central Station there will be a gate attendant awaiting your arrival to check your boarding pass and will directs you to a lane to unload your carry-on luggage.

Boarding gates are usually posted 15 minutes prior to a train’s departure. Many stations have monitors and signs that display the boarding gate locations for each train.

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At many stations, Amtrak customer service representatives will make announcements about boarding times and gate locations.

I suggest arriving 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure. If you need help with baggage, tickets or any other services you will want to take care of that prior to boarding.

There are Amtrak designated parking spaces available at Central Station but please make sure you lock your car and do not leave valuables in your vehicle because Amtrak will not be liable for any stolen items.  

If you arrive early there are plenty of things to see and do in Memphis. Across South Main Street is the famous Arcade Restaurant, considered the city’s oldest.

The neighborhood is also home to the National Civil Rights Museum, the South Main Farmer’s Market and various shops and galleries.

Luggage On Amtrak

Each passenger may bring two personal items, 25 lbs and two carry-on items. Make sure you have a luggage tag with your name and address on the outside of all your bags just in case something happens and they can contact you. 

The Seating Accomodations on Amtrak

On most Amtrak trains, you have three options for seating accommodations. The availability of these options varies depending on your route and the type of train equipment in use.

  • Coach Class: Stretch out with ample legroom and recline to relax as you cruise to your destination in Coach Class. Coach Class seats are available on all trains except Acela.
  • Business Class: Business Class provides an enhanced level of comfort as well as a few perks during your journey. Available on many routes across the country, Business Class is located in a dedicated car or section on the train.
  • First Class: Acela First Class offers a luxe travel experience complete with priority boarding, at-seat service, complimentary meals and beverages, quiet and elegant atmosphere, and spacious seating. Complimentary hot towels are also provided.

Cabins and Seats

You can upgrade your accommodations from Coach Class to First Class and Business Class seats on Amtrak.com, through their mobile application, or over the phone at 1-800-USA-RAIL.

You may be able to upgrade to a roomette or bedroom on trains with sleeping accommodations.

The Conductor can help you with a seat or sleeper upgrade on board your train if unsold space is available.

Accessible Seating

Accessible space is available on all trains for passengers with disabilities and mobility impairments. Often referred to as Transfer Seats, accessible seats offer extra room making it easier for a passenger to transfer from a wheelchair into the seat.

Passengers who uses a walker, leg in a cast that doesn’t bend and thereby requires additional legroom or a passenger with a large service animal and there is room nearby to store a folded wheelchair if neccessary. 

Food and Beverage Options

From full meals to more informal café service, many trains offer four dining options including special menus for those with dietary restrictions. 

Traditional Dining 

Traditional dining service is provided in the Dining Car on the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.

Customers in Sleeping Cars enjoy complimentary meals throughout their journey. Coach class customers are invited to purchase meals in the Dining Car.

Aboard the Auto Train, complimentary traditional dining service in the Dining Car is offered as an exclusive benefit for Sleeping Car customers.

Dining Cars feature seasonal menus with a variety of entree selections. Complement your meal with a wide selection of beverages, including beer, wine, spirits for sale. Be sure to leave room for dessert — there’s something to satisfy every sweet tooth. In addition to our regular menu items, kids can get all their favorites onboard.

Café service is available to both Coach and Sleeping Car customers along these routes, offering a variety of meals, snacks and beverages for sale.

Flexible Dining

As an exclusive and complimentary offering for Sleeping Car customers, flexible dining service includes:

  • A menu with hot, ready-to-serve choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • A wide selection wine, beer and spirits (the first one is on us), plus unlimited soft drinks throughout the journey
  • Complimentary room service provided by the Sleeping Car attendant
  • Flexible dining times without the need for reservations

Cafe Dining 

Most Amtrak routes offer Café service, with a variety of meals, snacks and beverages for sale. Customers in all classes of service are invited to the Café and service is available from early morning until late at night.

Acela Dining 

Amtrak now offers an updated Corridor Café menu.  They have partnered with Boar’s Head and other popular brands including Makers Mark, Cutwater Spirits, LaCroix, Sahale Snacks, Dogfish Head, Dunkin’ Donuts featuring freshly prepared sandwiches, salads, snacks, freshly brewed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and craft beers.

With most items priced under $9 and ready in minutes.

Train travel - Memphis to New orleans

The Cost of Amtrak vs. Flying or Driving

Let’s take a look at the cost of flying and renting a car vs. taking the Amtrak from Memphis to New Orleans. I checked various airlines and car rental agencies to compare prices and below are the comparative rates.

  • Delta Airlines: Memphis to New Orleans -$548.00
  • American Airlines: Memphis to New Orleans – $502
  • United Airlines: Memphis to New Orleans – $615
  • Hertz Rental Car: 3 day car rental – $54.72 * 3 = $164.16 plus gas $100.00 plus parking $90.00 = $354.16

If you take the train and book coach seating early, you are looking at $51 for a one-way train Memphis to New Orleans, and a $15 Uber ride to the hotel. Total cost is $66. 

If you book a first class train Memphis to New Orleans, you are looking at $150 for a one-way plus your Uber. 

Do you really need a car anyway in New Orleans?  Your rental car will be parked the entire time and you will pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per night for parking in New Orleans which is crazy by itself!  

Amenities on Amtrak

Wi-Fi on board the Amtrak Train is free but you will not be able to stream music, videos or watch movies,  This is for basic browsing only.

Arrival To Your Destination

When the train pulls into each station, there’s a process to grab your bags and depart the train.  Coach passengers wait longer to get off the train but it’s only a few minutes so don’t be like the impatient folk on planes that stand up before the plane has even had time to land. #SoAnnoying

Would I Recommend Taking The Train From Memphis to New Orleans?

Personally, I think it is the most economical way to get to New Orleans if you are in need of min vacation.  The prices are much cheaper than flying, you dont have to rent a car and pay for parking.

If it was your first time taking the Amtrak from Memphis to New Orleans it will be very exciting but you will need to make sure you have your ipad, computer, head phones and charger for the trip to New Orleans. 

Conclusion: Amtrak Memphis to New Orleans

I think it is well worth the price to avoid the hassle of driving, getting to the airport 2 hours early, paying for luggage and all of the extra time it takes to fly and drive vs. catching the train from Memphis to New Orleans. 

The biggest trade-off is the sheer amount of time it will take and you it will be a hassle free trip without worrying about getting tired from driving, stopping to get has or even booking a hotel room mid way because you are exhausted. 

Amtrak also offers and interactive planning map and a list of all their current routes to help you plan your Amtrak vacation. 


YES! Travel Insurance is important no matter where you are traveling to because accidents happen and you should always travel with insurance.

I got extremely sick in the Czech Republic and that was the one time I decided to forego travel insurance and I racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills and they wanted their money before I would even be seen by the ER Doctors. 

Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

Travel Guide


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Ultimate Guide to Fall in Memphis

Things To Do In Memphis with the Kiddos

Have you thought about taking the train from Memphis to New Orleans? Amtrak from Memphis to New Orleans should be on your summer bucket list road trips.  

I would love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

Amtrak Memphis to New Orleans


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