I paid $500 for a private room on a 30-hour Amtrak ride that came with 2 beds and a toilet. Take a look inside.
I spent 30 hours in a sleeper car on an Amtrak train traveling from New York City to Miami in 2021.
For $500, I stayed in a roomette, a private cabin with two beds, a toilet, and basic amenities.
At around 20 square feet, I thought my cabin made impressive use of a tiny space.
In October 2021, I booked the cheapest private cabin I could on a 30-hour Amtrak train ride from New York City to Miami.
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Called a roomette, the 22.75-square-foot cabin came with two beds, a toilet, and basic amenities. After exploring the tiny room, I felt it left no space unused.
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To get to my private room, I walked along a narrow corridor that could only be used single file and crossed three sleeper cars.
Inside, I found two seats, a table, and a bed above the seats that pulled down. The seats also pulled out into a bed.
I thought this was a big step up from sitting in coach, where you get one train seat and sit with other passengers. My private roomette also had a door and blinds to cover up the windows.
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Across from the window was a sliding door that locked and curtains for privacy.
I thought the room came with clever storage features that reminded me of a tiny home, like a pullout table between the chairs.
The table had two fold-out leaves, too, for more counter space.
In some roomettes — mine included — a side table swings open to reveal a hidden toilet. Above it, I had a folding sink and mirror.
With no privacy curtain around the toilet, I was grateful to be a solo traveler.
Due to the availability when I booked my ticket, I had to switch partway through my trip to another roomette, which didn't have a toilet. For that portion, I used a shared bathroom at the back of the sleeper car.
Another thing that surprised me was the variety of lighting options, which seemed to be more than what I'd get in economy on a flight.
I was also surprised to be able to control the temperature inside my roomette with a dial and air-conditioning vents. I kept it cool, about 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
My ticket came with a meal, which I ate in the dining car.
I had braised short ribs, mashed potatoes, and a hard roll. While I didn't love the meal as it came, I made a little sandwich out of the ingredients, which tasted better to me.
After my meal, I was ready to rest for the night. The roomette seats folded into a bed on the bottom level, and another bed came down from the ceiling that was suspended in the air.
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I decided to try sleeping on the top bed for a change of pace. I thought the available blankets wrapped in plastic were surprisingly soft and comfortable.
While I found the train movement through the night to be a little unsettling, I appreciated the dim, blue light on the wall next to me. It was my favorite feature of the roomette because it reminded me of my colorful night light at home.
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Even though I didn't sleep my best, I'm glad I went with the top bunk because of the blue light and the views I had in the morning.
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Looking out the window reminded me that I was going somewhere exciting, and I thought it was a welcome distraction from the tight quarters.
Though the roomette started to feel small as I neared the full 30 hours in it, I thought it made impressive use of roughly 20 square feet, and I enjoyed several clever storage hacks and amenities.
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