by Niki Smart | Nov 15, 2018
Smart Tips for Holiday Travel on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Ease the stress of holiday travel with these expert tips for trip planning, booking and saving money on train travel.
LOS ANGELES – Holiday travel can be stressful whether you are going home to visit family or taking a vacation with your loved ones. The holiday season is the busiest time for travel, and for those opting to travel by train, there are many ways to ease holiday travel stress and enjoy the journey to your destination. The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner carries 3 million passengers a year to top destinations from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Journey along the coast to enjoy breathtaking views, onboard amenities, and conveniently located stations while spending quality time with friends and family traveling to festive destinations.
Here are some insider tips to make the most of a train trip:
Beat the Crowd and Plan Ahead
If you are planning a trip that involves taking the train from Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 25, book your tickets as soon as possible as the Pacific Surfliner will be reservation-only during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While extra rail cars will be added to handle the surge in travelers, tickets sell out quickly. To check availability or book tickets, visit pacificsurfliner.com/holiday.
Also keep in mind that Fridays and Sundays are typically the busiest travel days on the Pacific Surfliner, especially on the 700-series trains between Los Angeles and San Diego. Consider choosing one of the 500-series trains instead, which are typically less busy, or if your travel plans allow, ride midweek or midday when it’s less crowded. With an Unreserved Coach ticket, you can choose to take an earlier or later train at no charge if your plans change.
Pro Tip: If you are traveling between stations with luggage service, you can check your bags (the first two are free) instead of carrying them with you. Passengers are also allowed 2 free carry-on bags, up to 50 lbs and 28” x 22” x 14” each. To learn about bringing other items onboardincluding music instruments, baby items and more, visit amtrak.com/special-items.
Take Advantage of SoCal Savings
California Everyday Discounts offer year-round savings on Pacific Surfliner travel for children, students, seniors, and riders with disabilities. Save 15% or more on Pacific Surfliner trips when you book with a promotion code. Visit PacificSurfliner.com/discounts for more details.Pro Tip: Check the website for more offers and trip ideas, including upcoming events, special service and deals: PacificSurfliner.com/promotions.
Upgrade to Business Class
One of the best ways to enhance your travel experience is by upgrading to Business Class. You’ll have a guaranteed seat and extra space to stretch out, plus you’ll receive a complimentary snack and drink, and bonus Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Business Class tickets provide a seat on a specific train, so if you need to change your plans, call 1-800-USA-RAIL or go online to modify your reservation in advance.
Pro Tip: The number of Business Class seats on each train is limited, so it’s best to book early before they sell out.
Grab a Bite to Eat from the Café Car
Craving a delicious treat? The onboard Café car offers a variety of carry-out style foods including sandwiches, salads, pizza, snacks and beverages, locally sourced from along the Pacific Surfliner route.
Pro Tip: Riders ages 21 and up can also enjoy local craft beers, California wines, and mixed drinks, including Bloody Mary’s, mimosas and more.
Don’t Miss the Ocean Views
Much of the Pacific Surfliner route hugs the coast, with views of beautiful beaches and rugged bluffs between Solana Beach and San Clemente on the south-end, and between Ventura and Surf-Lompoc on the north-end. Try to get a spot on the west-side of the train to have the best opportunities for photos, time-lapse videos and general sightseeing.
Pro Tip: The train switches directions after stopping in Los Angeles. If you are facing forward on the left side when you arrive at this station, you will find yourself traveling backwards on the right side once the train continues its journey! Keep this in mind if you are traveling through Los Angeles and are trying to get an ocean seat.
Follow Pacific Surfliner (@PacSurfliners) on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest train updates before and during your trip. Browse social media and your favorite websites thanks to free Wi-Fi, and keep your devices charged by plugging into the power outlets – there is one located at every window seat.
Pro Tip: While the trains feature free basic Wi-Fi for general web browsing activities, the Wi-Fi does not support high-bandwidth actions such as streaming music or video. Instead, download your favorite Netflix show before-hand and binge watch on the train without Wi-Fi!
Do and See More
Ride the Pacific Surfliner to countless holiday events and attractions this season including parades, light displays, and waterfront fireworks. Enjoy a train ride along the coast while spending quality time with friends and family as you travel to these festive events.
Pro Tip: Many stations are central to great restaurants, shops and attractions. And you can also use your train ticket to connect to bus and transit services at most stations for free or at a discount. This makes it possible to go more places without needing a car.
With daily service to San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, the Pacific Surfliner is a great way to experience the best of Southern California. Plan ahead and keep these tips in mind to make the most of your trip
For train schedules, special offers and more, visit pacificsurfliner.com. To stay up to date on the latest announcements, breaking news, and information for Amtrak Pacific Surfliner visit news.pacificsurfliner.com/.
About the Pacific Surfliner
The Pacific Surfliner travels along a 351-mile coastal rail route through San Diego, Orange,
Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, serving 27 stations. It is the busiest state-supported intercity passenger rail route in the United States with 24 daily trains and annual ridership of nearly 3 million. To learn more and plan a trip, visit PacificSurfliner.com, like Pacific Surfliner on Facebook, or @pacsurfliners on Twitter.
About the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency
The Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is a joint powers authority composed of rail owners, operators and planning agencies along the entire LOSSAN rail corridor. In addition to working to improve passenger rail ridership, revenue, on-time performance, operational flexibility, and safety, the LOSSAN Agency assumed management responsibility for the Pacific Surfliner service in July 2015, following the execution of an interagency transfer agreement with the state of California. For more information, visit lossan.org.
by Dennis Richardson | Nov 3, 2018
Contributing Editors: Anthony Stafford and Joshua Pinkay
In Los Angeles, it’s no secret that millions of people move into the city to pursue their dreams of entering the world of entertainment. Little does everyone know, those who reach their success still have other dreams like the rest of us! Ivana De Maria is one of those successful individuals who grew up with an attraction to the entertainment industry, moved to Los Angeles to pursue that dream, and continued dreaming — pursuing an uncommon endeavor: an entry into the tech world using parts of what she already learned. Ivana saw an opportunity in something that each of us has – our stories. We sat down with her to find out more about her background, and to learn about her new dream to take the entertainment world by storm in the way aspiring dreamers will find new projects. Here’s a peak into how your stories, our stories, and the world’s stories will be revealed.
Q: What inspired you to enter the entertainment industry?
A: Since I was a little girl I was always very attracted to the entertainment industry. My great grandfather founded the first Radio and TV station in Mexico and my two oldest brothers have a production company as well. One of them is a producer and the other one a director. Growing up, I spent a lot of time on set with them, helping them in any way I could. I was always very enchanted by the magic behind creating a film. I always knew I wanted to eventually work in the entertainment industry, specifically as an actress. However, I also had many intellectual curiosities, which I wanted to explore before focusing on my long-term career. I studied high school in Switzerland and after graduating I moved to Boston for College. I attended Boston University where I completed a bachelor’s degree in Business and Law, always knowing that upon graduating I would focus on acting full time. Over the course of those four years, during summers while all my classmates would look for finance internships, I would attend acting school in NY and LA, and then during the school year I would enjoy learning the theoretical aspects of business and law, skills I felt would come in handy no matter what I did. Upon graduating I immediately moved to LA to pursue acting full time.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you face working as an actor and producer in Los Angeles?
As soon as I got to LA, I starting the casting/rejection/waiting process, and the more I learned about it the more frustrated I got by the system. I hated the idea that my results would depend on so many factors that were not in my hands. I called my brothers and asked for advice. Their answer was “make your own short film”. I had no clue how to do this, but my frustration with the industry was bigger than my fear of the unknown. I began writing my own characters, which then turned into my own stories, then my own projects and finally my own productions. I wrote, produced and acted in two short films, which to my surprise had great success in the festival circuit.
As an actor you accept a life of instability and this is the hardest part of it. Financial instability, physical instability and emotional instability. Because it is so volatile, one day you have a job and the next its back to square one. You have to be available at all times which makes planning anything very difficult. I found that my personality required a bit more structure that what acting offered, and so I decided to find other ways to make a living that would let me be selective with my acting jobs.
Q: You recently took on the tech world with the upcoming launch of your app StoryPlace? How did your background in entertainment influence your decision to start this business?
When I began creating my own content I learned everything about the process of telling a story. From writing, to producing, acting, editing, the business… and I fell in love with all of it. I realized that my generation had an opportunity: the industry was changing and the power was now in the hands of the creative. There was a new currency going around: STORIES. If you had a good story and knew how to tell it, you had a big opportunity. By looking closer at the story culture around the world, I realized that this demand for stories was not exclusive to the entertainment industry. Every industry, product or brand is founded on a story.
A couple of years ago I started developing projects based on real life stories and quickly became enchanted by the idea of finding these stories and bringing them to life, giving them a voice. I found a beautiful combination in social responsibility and film, and decided I would create entertainment content based on true stories, specifically those with messages, stories and voices that needed to be heard today. As I embarked on this journey to find extraordinary stories, I found that everyone’s story had a lesson for me in some way. This led to a thought and an actual dream that that kept me up at night: “How many stories go unheard in the world?” I could not stop thinking of all the lost learning opportunities and decided I would do something about it. I wanted to create a place for these stories. Taking into account technology and generation trends, I decided to create a platform that would inspire people to connect through story sharing, to realize the importance of sharing and listening to stories. That is why I created StoryPlace, an egoless social platform that promotes empathy by connecting people through sharing and reading real life stories.
Q: Why is Southern California the perfect place to launch and grow your business?
Southern California is the hub of startups! It is a place that promotes entrepreneurship and Los Angeles is a city that is truly designed for the self-employed. Every street has cute café’s and working spaces that help young entrepreneurs have a working environment without the need for a formal office. In terms of StoryPlace specifically, SoCal culture is very open and friendly, everyone is always open and excited to share his or her story!
Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to break into the entertainment or tech industries — two highly competitive fields?
I am a true believer that as an artist, it all starts with creating your own content, and therefore you own opportunities, so believe in your vision and don’t be afraid to tell your own stories. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t try to please anyone but yourself.Let your goal be making your own self proud, and then things will start happening. Furthermore, when they start happening don’t question your “luck”.Many times I would feel insecure or question myself when something went right and I got “lucky”, but luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. So give yourself the credit for being prepared when that opportunity comes along. And most importantly, enjoy the path!
Q: Where do you see StoryPlace going in the next few years?
Hopefully many places! I’ve learned that in the app world you never know what you’re going to get. It can have 1 user for the first week or a billion users in one day. The entire team has been working hard on making sure that do everything we can in order to get those billion users, and most importantly we are ready to scale at any given moment.
My hopes with StoryPlace are that it becomes a leader of empathy in the world. Hopefully other industries will follow and people will be able to appreciate the power of empathy and storytelling. I would love for StoryPlace to eventually expand into more than just an app, a community, a festival, a book, a non-profit… who knows! The possibilities are endless.
Q: Do you have any local LA or SoCal spots that inspire you in your work?
I like to explore SoCal any chance I get and every time I do so I find new places that inspire me. What inspires me the most is meeting someone with a great story, and there are many of those in California!
I recently stumbled upon a small hotel called Moonlight Inn, which is in Moonlight beach. My boyfriend and I were driving and started getting tired so we decided to find a place to spend the night. Never did we imagine that this place would be an absolute oasis. It is a “WELL” hotel, which we learned meant that everything about it, from the design to the service, was tailored to promote wellbeing. This is just one example of all the incredible places I have found in SoCal. Every place you go has a story as well, its just a matter of listening.
Q: Anything else you want Angelenos to know about you or your company?
I’m always happy to hear stories and eager to discover new places! Contact me through my social media @ivanamaria and tell me your stories. More importantly, if you have a story to tell (which I know you do), download our app and StoryPlaceIT!