I recently spent 30 hours in a sleeper car on an Amtrak train traveling from New York City to Miami.
For $500, I stayed in a Viewliner roomette, a private cabin with two beds, a toilet, and basic amenities.
At around 20 square feet, my cabin was an impressive use of a tiny space, albeit a little cramped for my liking.
I recently booked the cheapest private cabin I could on a 30-hour Amtrak train ride for $500.
For full disclosure, Insider paid for the train ticket, in accordance with our reporting standards.
Called a Viewliner 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.
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.
A step up from sitting in coach, where you get one train seat and sit with other passengers, my private roomette had a door and blinds to cover up the windows.
Across from the window was a sliding door that locked and curtains for privacy.
I thought the room had 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), there's a side table that swings open to reveal a toilet. Above it is a folding sink and mirror.
With two seats and 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 that didn't have a toilet but still had a sink. There was a bathroom at the back of the sleeper car where I could use the restroom.
One thing that surprised me was the variety of lighting options, which seemed to be more than what you'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 in my room, about 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
My ticket came with a meal, which I ate in the dining car, and I thought it wasn't too bad.
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 seats in the roomette folded into a bed on the bottom level, and another bed came down from the ceiling and was suspended in the air.
I decided to try sleeping on the top bed for a change of pace, and I found 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.
Looking out the window reminded me that I was going somewhere and was a welcome distraction from the tight quarters.
Though it wasn't enough to keep me comfy for the full 30 hours, I thought the roomette was an impressive use of 20 square feet, and I enjoyed several clever storage hacks and amenities.
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