Here's an idea for a leisurely autumn trip that's scenic and saves money: Amtrak is taking 25% off tickets on a stretch of the Coast Starlight route between Los Angeles and Davis, Calif. The sale applies to destinations such as Oakland, San Jose, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and others.
-- The deal: The Coast Starlight runs between Los Angeles and Seattle, but the Book Early and Save 25% offer covers only the southern leg of the line. The discount also applies to up to two children, ages 2 to 15, who travel for half fare with the purchase of an adult ticket.
-- When: The offer is good for travel Oct. 13 through Nov. 17. But you must buy tickets by Sunday.
-- Tested: When I checked on Amtrak's website, I found that discounted tickets on weekends were sometimes sold out. But I did find the discount for a weekday round-trip ticket for Oct. 17-19 from downtown Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo. An adult ticket cost $23.25 each way with the discount -- a savings of $7.75. Of course, the trip takes more than five hours each way, but taking the train is more about the journey than speed.