Talk Travel: How to see Canada by train


The Washington Post’s Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts: 

Q: Do you have any advice/info on fares, stops to visit and routes on traveling cross country via the Canadian rail system?  

A: I rode Via Rail from Halifax to Vancouver last year for the country’s 150th anniversary. Summer is a great time to go, but demand is very high, so you will need to book a cabin in advance. Fall is also a wonderful time; you can see the landscape changing from summer to autumn. (I went in March, not the prettiest time of the year, and Montreal was so cold!) The Rockies/Western section is especially amazing, and I recommend taking the Jasper- Prince Rupert jaunt.  

You might want to add in a stay or two at a Fairmont property (say, Montreal and Banff); the properties are stunning and steeped in rail lore. The agents at Via Rail are incredibly helpful at pulling together an itinerary. Call them!  

– Andrea Sachs  

Q: I am having a hard time deciding where to do the week after labor day. I am mostly interested in historic sites and food. On my list is Nashville and Chattanooga in Tennessee; Providence, Rhode Island; Ft. Lauderdale and Key West in Florida.  

A: I like all of the above, with the exception of Fort Lauderdale (not tons of historic sites) and a week might be too long in Providence, but you could pair it with Boston or Cape Cod. I would also add New Orleans.  

– A.S.  

Q: I flew out of IAD recently and they were using X-ray machines instead of the millimeter wave machines. I didn’t have to take my shoes or belt off, laptops and liquids didn’t need to come out of my bag and I sailed through security in less than 10 minutes, a record for me on a Sunday. Do you know what caused the change in procedure? Will this be a common occurrence going forward or was this a one-off thing?  

A: Funny you should mention that because I just received this press release from TSA (Dulles and BWI are pilot sites):  

“The Transportation Security Administration announced its plan to test computed tomography scanners (CT), a state-of-the-art 3-D technology at select U.S. airport checkpoints. The new technology intends to enhance critical explosives and other threat items detection capabilities at airport checkpoints.”  

– A.S.  

Q: I am just about to pull the trigger on a trip to Israel and Jordan for Spring 2019. So excited . . . any tips? It is for 14 days with G Adventures and National Geographic so I know it will be good but want to check with you.  

A: My tip is to enjoy the trip! These tour companies have very good reputations and will cover all the bases. They also do a good job of educating you as to what to expect before the trip. My one thought – dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious sites.  

– Carol Sottili  

Q: Here’s a weirdly specific question: Can I bring a three-foot-long poster tube on an international flight? I am heading to a scientific conference in Canada.  

A: As carry on or checked bag? Checked, yes. Carry on, only if it fits in the overhead compartment. I have definitely seen people carry on long tubes, but I would check with the airline. Or consult with AskTSA. You can send the agency your question and a picture of the item via Facebook or Twitter.  

– A.S.  

Q: Our triplets are graduating next year from high school and we would like to send them to Italy for graduation. Any suggestions as to groups, for their age group, I can contact?  

A: If they will be 18, they can go on a tour that specializes in young adults, although some have a reputation for partying and allow participants to be up to age 30. I’d look at EF Ultimate Break and G Adventures. My daughter and her friends did their own trip across Europe when they graduated high school. They planned the trip in advance, so they knew where they were staying each night.  

– C.S.  

Q: My toddler was recently diagnosed with autism and we have some family travel coming up. We decided to drive rather than fly to have more flexibility in our travel but I’m wondering what sort of accommodations are available for travel that might make things easier? Early boarding on flights? Early check-in or late check-out at hotels? Are there other things I’m not thinking off?  

A: At restaurants, you can ask for seating away from noisy areas like the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Similar for hotel rooms – ask for a location away from ice machines, elevators, the pool, etc. A ground-level floor might be better too, so you don’t have to lug your bags up and down elevators or walk very far.  

– A.S.







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