Some students may find themselves hitchhiking home for Thanksgiving if they do not make travel plans soon.

Amtrak has announced that the Pacific Surfliner, which travels between Santa Barbara and San Diego, will offer all-reserved runs during this Thanksgiving holiday period for the first time. During other periods of the year, reservations are available on a limited basis, to allow the majority of seats on the trains to be filled by same-day ticket buyers.

Amtrak Media Specialist Sarah Swain said although reservations are not required, students should take advantage of the all-reserved runs, which are offered Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, to avoid problems getting home for Thanksgiving.

“Wednesday and Sunday really are the peak travel days, so I suggest trying to avoid those specific days,” she said. “We will be operating on Thanksgiving Day, but the morning of Thanksgiving is also among some of the busier runs.”

Swain said yet another advantage to making a reservation is that passengers can use the Quiktrak machines — which are similar to electronic ticket check-in at the airport — instead of having to check in at a ticket counter.

“I suggest booking your reservation as early as possible and also confirming your reservation before going to the station,” she said. “That way you can take advantage of our Quiktrak machines and avoid the lines.”

Fifty thousand seats are going to be added for the Thanksgiving holiday nationwide by increasing the number of trains running. However, of that number, Swain was not able to say how many were distributed throughout California’s runs.

“People could still possibly come to the station and book the day of travel; however, there is no guarantee there will be any seats available. Many seats have already filled up,” she said.

The Pacific Surfliner offers passengers bi-level cars, outlets for laptops and a cafŽ car. To book reservations, either log on to or call an Amtrak agent at (800) USA-RAIL.