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.

Left: the author takes a selfie in front of the Amtrak train. Right: the author sits in the Roomette with a window on the left
The author traveled down the East Coast from New York to Miami in an Amtrak roomette.Joey Hadden/Insider
  • 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.

The author takes a selfie as she arrives in Miami
The author takes a selfie after exiting an Amtrak train in Miami.Joey Hadden/Insider

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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.

The author sits in a Roomette with a window on the left side
The author sits in her roomette.Joey Hadden/Insider

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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.

A narrow hallway of roomettes on an Amtrak
A view of an Amtrak sleeper car.Joey Hadden/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.

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/Insider

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.

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/Insider

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

A close up of the door in the roomette
A view of the locking door.Joey Hadden/Insider

I thought 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/Insider

The table had two fold-out leaves, too, for more counter space.

The authors water bottle is seen next to a cup holder that's too small
The author unfolds the table for more space.Joey Hadden/Insider

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/Insider

With no privacy curtain around the toilet, I was grateful to be a solo traveler.

The author sits on the toilet in the roomette
The author sits on the toilet in her roomette.Joey Hadden/Insider

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.

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/Insider

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.

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/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.

Controls on the wall allow you to modify the temperature.
A view of a temperature dial and air-conditioning vent.Joey Hadden/Insider.

My ticket came with a meal, which I ate in the dining car.

The diner car on the train with a man sitting in the next booth
A view of the dining car.Joey Hadden/Insider

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.

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

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.

A view from the top bunk of the room and a blurred view out the window to the right
A view of the top bed.Joey Hadden/Insider

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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.

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

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.

The author is seen in the dark with only the blue light on in the train bed
The author uses the train's blue light just before falling asleep.Joey Hadden/Insider

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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.

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

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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.

A view of a body of water out the train window in the Amtrak Roomette
A view outside the window.Joey Hadden/Insider

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.

The author sits in a roomette with a window on the left side and a duffel on the right.
The author sits on a train from New York to Miami.Joey Hadden/Insider

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