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 took my first overnight train journey from New York City to Miami. For the 30 hour-ride, I booked the cheapest private cabin I could — an Amtrak roomette for $500.

The 22.75-square-foot cabin had two beds, a toilet, and basic amenities. With clever storage hacks, I thought it felt like a tiny hotel room with no unused space.

Take a look around the most affordable Amtrak ride in a private cabin.

To get to my private room, I walked along a narrow corridor that could only be used single file and crossed three sleeper cars.

A view of an empty roomette across from the author's on an Amtrak.
A view of an empty roomette across the way.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

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 roomette had a door and blinds to cover up the windows.

A view of the window on the right and a chair on the left in the roomette
A view from the author's seat.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Across from the window was a sliding door that locked and curtains for privacy.

The room came with clever storage features that reminded me of a tiny home, like a pullout table between the chairs.

An aerial view of the fold-out table with leaves
The table is seen pulled out.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

The table had two foldout 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.

Side-by-side photos show the toilet seat opened and closed inside the Amtrak roomette.
The bathroom is shown opened and closed.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

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.

Left: The author takes a selfie in front of the Amtrak bathroom mirror. Right: The author brushing her teeth in the mirror of her roomette
The author in the restroom on the left and in her roomette on the right.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

For that portion, I used a shared bathroom at the back of the sleeper car.

I was surprised by the roomette's variety of lighting options, which seemed to be more than what I'd get in economy on a flight.

The author's finger presses a button turning on a light in her roomette
The author turns on the reading light on her chair.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

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 dinner, which I ate in the dining car.

The author sits in the dining car with her meal
The author dines on the train.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

For dinner, 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 dinner, 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.

The author sits in her bed on the Amtrak train
The author gets ready for bed.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I decided to try sleeping on the top bed. 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.

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.

The author lays in the train bed looking out the window on the left side
The author wakes up in the morning.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

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.

The author sits in a roomette with a window on the left side and a duffel on the right.
The author sits in her roomette accommodation.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

After 30 hours in a roomette, I would book the accommodation again. But for those looking for more room to stretch out, I recommend the Amtrak bedroom.

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