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Food and Beverage Policies on Amtrak: Can You Bring Your Own?

Can I bring food and beverages on Amtrak?

Amtrak is a popular mode of transportation for travelers across the United States, providing a convenient and comfortable way to reach their destinations. Many passengers wonder if they are allowed to bring their own food and beverages on board Amtrak trains. In this article, we will explore Amtrak’s food and beverage policies and guidelines to ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable travel experience.

Amtrak Food and Beverage Options

Amtrak recognizes that passengers may have special dietary preferences or restrictions and strives to provide a variety of food and beverage options to accommodate those needs. On most long-distance routes, Amtrak offers a Dining Car or Café Car where passengers can purchase meals, snacks and beverages. These dining options are available throughout the trip, ensuring that you can satisfy your hunger and thirst while traveling.
Amtrak dining cars typically offer a variety of meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can enjoy freshly prepared meals, which often include a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts. Café cars, on the other hand, offer a more casual dining experience with a variety of quick bites, sandwiches, salads and beverages. It’s worth noting that the availability of dining cars and café cars may vary by route and train, so it’s a good idea to check the amenities available for your trip in advance.

Bring your own food and beverages

While Amtrak offers on-board dining options, passengers may also bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages on board. This flexibility allows travelers to enjoy their favorite snacks and meals while traveling, especially if they have dietary restrictions or simply prefer to eat their own food. However, it’s important to follow a few guidelines when bringing your own food and beverages on Amtrak.
First, it’s important to note that Amtrak does not permit the consumption of personal food in its dining and café cars. This policy ensures that the onboard dining experience remains enjoyable for all passengers. However, you are welcome to enjoy your own food and beverages in your private sleeping compartment or general seating area. It’s recommended that you be considerate of your fellow passengers and avoid strong smelling foods to maintain a pleasant environment.

Tips for bringing food and beverages

If you choose to bring your own food and beverages on Amtrak, there are a few tips you can follow to enhance your experience. First, it’s a good idea to pack your items in leak-proof containers or secure packaging to prevent spills or messes during your trip. Also, consider packing foods that are easy to eat without extensive preparation or utensils to make your onboard dining experience more convenient.
If you’re traveling with perishable foods, such as sandwiches or salads, it’s a good idea to pack them in ice packs or insulated containers to keep them fresh. While Amtrak provides limited refrigeration, it’s always better to be prepared and ensure the quality and safety of your food. Also, remember to bring any utensils or napkins you may need for your meal, as Amtrak may have limited supplies.

Special Dietary Needs and Allergies

For passengers with special dietary needs or allergies, Amtrak makes every effort to accommodate your needs. If you have specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan preferences, it’s a good idea to let Amtrak know in advance. This will allow them to make arrangements to ensure that appropriate food options are available during your trip.
It’s a good idea to contact Amtrak Customer Service or make a note of your dietary needs during the reservation process. This will allow the train crew to be prepared and assist you in selecting appropriate meal options. In addition, if you have severe allergies or medical conditions that require special attention, it’s important to clearly communicate your needs to Amtrak staff to ensure a safe and comfortable travel experience.

In conclusion, when traveling on Amtrak, you have the option of enjoying on-board dining services or bringing your own food and beverages. Amtrak offers a variety of dining options on most long-distance routes to accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences. However, passengers are also welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, as long as they are consumed in designated areas and don’t disturb other passengers. By following these guidelines and being mindful of your fellow passengers, you can have an enjoyable and satisfying dining experience while traveling on Amtrak.


Can you take food and drinks on Amtrak?

Yes, passengers are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages on board Amtrak trains. However, there are some restrictions and guidelines to keep in mind.

Are there any restrictions on the types of food and drinks you can bring?

Amtrak allows passengers to bring most types of food and non-alcoholic beverages on board, including snacks, sandwiches, and soft drinks. However, it’s important to note that heating devices, open alcoholic beverages, and strong-smelling foods are not permitted.

Are there any dining options available on Amtrak trains?

Yes, Amtrak provides various dining options on its trains, depending on the route and service. Long-distance trains typically have dining cars or café cars where passengers can purchase meals, snacks, and beverages. Some trains also offer a complimentary dining service for certain ticket classes.

Can you consume your own food and drinks in the dining or café cars?

While you are generally allowed to consume your own food and drinks on Amtrak, it’s important to be mindful of the specific rules on each train. Some trains may have restrictions on consuming outside food and drinks in their dining or café cars, especially during peak dining hours. It’s best to check with the onboard staff for any specific guidelines.

Is there any additional cost for bringing your own food and drinks on Amtrak?

No, there is no additional cost for bringing your own food and drinks on Amtrak trains. Passengers are free to bring their own meals and snacks without incurring any extra charges. However, if you choose to purchase food or beverages from the onboard dining or café cars, there will be a cost associated with those items.