I spent $1,000 to have a room to myself on a 30-hour Amtrak ride, and it’s the only way I’d ever travel long distance by train again

I spent $1,000 to have a room to myself on a 30-hour Amtrak ride, and it’s the only way I’d ever travel long distance by train again

2 Nov    Finance News
  • I recently spent 30 hours on an Amtrak train traveling from Miami to New York City.

  • For $1,000, I stayed in a Bedroom, which is about the size of a king-sized bed and has a full bathroom with a shower.

  • Having a private room with space to stretch out made the trip more comfortable.

The author sits in a train car with graffiti out the window on the left

The author sits on a train from NYC to Miami. Joey Hadden/Insider

On my return trip, I decided to try out the Bedroom accommodation, which was about double the price and size of a Roomette, the next smallest room Amtrak offered.

The author works on her laptop while sitting in the blue chair with a window on the left side

The author sits in a Bedroom on a train from Miami to NYC. Joey Hadden/Insider

Even though the train tickets were more expensive than an economy flight to Miami (a flight from NYC to Miami in basic economy could cost around $50, depending on the day), and the journey took 10 times as long, I was eager to see if the journey would be worth the extra time and money spent.

While I booked a $500 on a tiny, private Roomette for my trip from New York City to Miami, I reserved a $1,000 Bedroom accommodation, the next step up after a Roomette, on the way back. (For full disclosure, Insider paid for the train accommodations, per our reporting standards.)

According to Amtrak’s website, Bedrooms are at least 45.5 square feet, which, for reference, is a little bigger than a standard king-size bed, per Insider, and they can sleep up to two adults.

While the ride home was bumpy and long, the roomy Bedroom made me feel at ease, and it’s the only way I’d travel long distances by train again.

The author smiles while sitting on the train bed

The author sits on a train from Miami to NYC. Joey Hadden/Insider

As someone who deals with travel anxiety, I found 30 hours on a train to be overwhelming. It’s tough for me to relax when I am in-between destinations, and, for some reason, I struggled to view the train as a destination in itself.

The constant motion of the train didn’t help, either. In fact, I ended up feeling a little queasy.

But staying in a Bedroom made me feel more comfortable than staying in a Roomette, a cheaper accommodation about half the size of a Bedroom.

While the journey to New York was just as bumpy as the ride to Miami, I thought the Bedroom offered ample room to stretch out and move about, which made all the difference to me.

I think I could comfortably do a 30-hour train journey again, as long as I book a Bedroom. And to make it more affordable, I’d book with a friend to split the cost and have some company next time. 

My journey began at the Amtrak Station in Miami.

Line to board at Miami Amtrak Station

A view of a line to board an 11:50 a.m. train from Miami to New York. Joey Hadden/Insider

I arrived at Amtrak Miami Station at 11 a.m., 50 minutes before my train was scheduled to depart. The building’s interior reminded me of a Greyhound bus station, and I sat in the only waiting area that I could find in the station until it was time to board.

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Once on the train, I found my Bedroom, which had a sofa that folded out into a bed, a bed that pulled down from the ceiling, and a chair that folded up out of the way.

Inside an Amtrak bedroom with blue seats and a big window showing nature outside

A view of the author’s Amtrak Bedroom accommodation. Joey Hadden/Insider

For double the price of a Roomette, the accommodation I booked for my previous train trip, the Bedroom accommodation also offered double the space, according to Amtrak’s website

The Bedroom had a table that pulled out from the wall between two of the three seats.

An aerial view of a laptop on the bedroom's pullout table

A table holds the author’s laptop. Joey Hadden/Insider

The table reminded me of storage hacks I’d expect to find in a tiny home. 

To the left of the chair in my room, there was a sink underneath a mirror with a handful of small towels next to it.

The mirror and bathroom sink

A view of the bathroom vanity in the Bedroom. Joey Hadden/Insider

Beneath the sink, there was a trash can and a place to hold tissues.

To the right of the mirror, there was a cabinet where I could store my toiletries and other personal items during my trip.

Side by side photos show the bathroom cabinet opened and closed

Views of a cabinet opened and closed. Joey Hadden/Insider

This feature allowed me to unpack a little, the way I would in a hotel room. 

Next to the seating area, there was a small, lighted closet with three hangers for clothing you’d want to keep looking sharp.

Side by side photos show the bathroom closet opened and closed

Views of a closet opened and closed. Joey Hadden/Insider

I didn’t use the closet, but I think it would have come in handy for storing jackets if I were traveling at a cooler time of the year.

There was also a private bathroom inside the Bedroom that had a door, shower, and toilet.

Side by side photos show the bathroom door opened and closed

The bathroom door (left) led to a room with a toilet and shower (right). Joey Hadden/Insider

On the bathroom door, there were hooks to hold towels and clothing items. On a shelf above the toilet, there were two towels for drying yourself off after a shower.

I appreciated that the toilet was separated from the rest of the room by a door and think this is a great amenity if you’re traveling with others.

The author sits on the train toilet with her thumbs up

The author poses on top of the toilet. Joey Hadden/Insider

The Bedroom is your cheapest option if you want a private bathroom in your room, according to Amtrak’s website.

Other Bedroom features included temperature controls and a button to call an attendant if I needed any help.

A close up of the thermometer, air conditioning, and attendant call button

A view of some controls in the Bedroom. Joey Hadden/Insider

Being able to control the temperature inside my room was a nice touch and a luxury you don’t get in economy on a flight.

I could also adjust the volume of the overhead speaker, through which train stops were announced, which I found particularly helpful.

A hand adjusts controls on the speaker volume with light controls on the right

A view of some controls in the Bedroom. Joey Hadden/Insider

This came in handy when I wanted to get off the train for a minute and stretch my legs. Thanks to the overhead speaker volume control, I always knew when the next stop would be and how long we had at each station.

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The Bedroom also has handy controls for night, reading, and ceiling lights.

The best thing the Bedroom offered me was space. I had room to stand up, stretch, and dance. This made my ride much more enjoyable.

The author stands in bedroom with her arms in the air and windows behind her

The author uses the free space in the Bedroom to dance. Joey Hadden/Insider

I tried to make the train feel like home, and at home I dance pretty much all day. 

I live alone and listen to music constantly, so shutting the curtains gave me a moment of privacy to just be my goofy self. This helped me keep moving, too, which I found to be essential for surviving a 30-hour train ride.

It was also nice to have a big sofa, where I could stretch out and put my feet up.

Inside an Amtrak bedroom with blue seats and a big window on the left showing nature outside

The author’s belongings are spread around the room. Joey Hadden/Insider

Having room to stretch out made me feel more relaxed throughout my journey.

During the day, I spent a lot of time working on my laptop, which made the time pass by quickly.

The author uses her laptop while sitting in a blue seat with a window showing greenery outside on her right

The author works on the train. Joey Hadden/Insider

Thanks to all the work I had to do, the first chunk of my trip home went by pretty quickly. 

But when the workday was done, I had to find other ways to pass the time.

The author sits in the blue seat and closes her laptop while smiling

The author smiles as her workday ends. Joey Hadden/Insider

I decided to lay down on my belly and look outside the window for a bit.

Exhausted from my travels, I spent much of the evening reclining on the seats and gazing out the window.

View of marshes out train window

A view out of the window somewhere between Florida and Delaware. Joey Hadden/Insider

During my trip home, I saw forests, towns, and factories outside my window.

When it was time for dinner, I headed to the dining cart and got some braised beef, short ribs, and mashed potatoes for dinner.

The author takes a selfie with her dinner in the dining car

The author smiles with her dinner. Joey Hadden/Insider

My meals came with the ticket, and I could pick from five items. Since I enjoyed the braised beef short rib dish on my trip to Miami, I decided to get it again on my way home. 

Before bed, I brushed my teeth and washed my face in front of the sink.

The author brushes her teeth in front of the sink

The author takes a selfie showing off her clean teeth and the vanity. Joey Hadden/Insider

Since I have an electric toothbrush, it was nice to be able to charge it with the outlets in the bathroom area. 

At around 8 p.m., an attendant came to my room to transform the sofa into a bed.

The bedroom with the bed set up

An aerial view of the sofa bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

My first thought when I entered the room again after receiving bedside service was that the bed looked bigger than the one I slept in on my way to Miami in a Roomette.

Since I had trouble sleeping on the top bunk on the way to Miami, I opted for the bottom bunk on this journey.

The author lies on the bed looking up with the table on the left in the foreground. The curtains are clossed.

The author lays in bed with the curtains drawn in the evening. Joey Hadden/Insider

The bed and sheets were comfortable, and I was happy to have more room to sleep.

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Had I slept in the bed that comes down from the ceiling, I would have had control of the air conditioning and lights, and a place to put my phone nearby.

Air conditioning, a pocket for personal items, and light adjustment controls on the wall of the bedroom

A view of the controls and storage space in the top bunk. Joey Hadden/Insider

I was able to use the foldout table for my bedside belongings, though.

Since there were outlets next to the sink, I propped my phone up there so I could watch TV from bed.

A view of the author's bed set-up, which includes a phone playing

The author’s bedtime setup. Joey Hadden/Insider

There may have been outlets on the other side of the bed, too, but I wasn’t able to find them. 

By the time I sat in my bed at about 8:30 p.m., I realized my body was already aching for sleep.

The author sits and yawns in bed on the train

The author yawns on the bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

I thought I’d stay up and watch TV for a while, but my body was telling me to just knock out.

So I lay down in bed and watched “The Office” until I drifted off to sleep.

The author lies down in the bed watching TV

The author rests in bed before falling asleep. Joey Hadden/Insider

The ride was bumpy through the night, but being on the lower bed felt grounding, and I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off the bed at any point. Although it wasn’t a perfect night’s sleep, I definitely slept better than I did in the Roomette.

I woke up the next morning around 8 a.m. in North Carolina to the sun beaming.

The author wakes up to morning light in the train bed.

The author squints at the sun when she gets up in the morning. Joey Hadden/Insider

I woke up to the sun peering through my window and feeling somewhat well-rested. 

I had planned on taking a shower, but after looking down at the floor, I wished I had brought sandals and decided to skip my shower.

The shower floor is green and somewhat dirty with a drain in the bottom left corner

An aerial view of the shower floor. Joey Hadden/Insider

I was excited to take a shower after having been on the train for nearly 24 hours, but the shower appeared too grimy for me to feel comfortable, and I wished I had brought flip-flops to wear in the shower.

Amtrak did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but, according to its website, it sanitizes rooms between visitors.

I usually wear flip flops in public showers, though, since experts say that it’s pretty easy to pick up germs from places where many people have walked around barefoot.

Since I forgot them, I decided not showering would be better.

Instead, I washed my face in front of the sink and put on a lot of deodorant.

The author wipes her face with a towel and holds deodorant in the train bedroom.

The author shows off her clean face and travel-sized deodorant. Joey Hadden/Insider

This made me feel a little fresher, although I couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower.

While I was washing my face, I noticed how nice it was to have three mirrors next to each other.

The author washes her face in the mirror.

The author washes her face in front of the vanity. Joey Hadden/Insider

Having the three connected mirrors made it easier to see the spots I missed after washing the soap off my face. 

Breakfast and lunch were also included in my ticket on my final day of travel, and I thought they were pretty tasty.

Left: aerial view of breakfast on an Amtrak Right: Chicken fettuccine on an Amtrak

The author’s breakfast (left) and lunch (right) during her final day of travel. Joey Hadden/Insider

For breakfast, I went to the dining cart and got the continental option. For lunch, I decided to try a different entree than the braised beef short ribs I had the night before.

I chose a chicken fettuccine dish with broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes, and I thought it was decent. 

Of all the meals I had, I found the continental breakfast to be the most filling and satisfying.

Left: oatmeal served on Amtrak Right: sausage egg cheese served on Amtrak

The author’s breakfast of oatmeal (left) and a sandwich (right). Joey Hadden/Insider

The breakfast came with a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and a blueberry muffin. For the oatmeal, I had the choice of maple and brown sugar or apple cinnamon.

I thought this meal was the most filling I had the whole trip, and if they served it all hours, I’d probably get it for every meal.

I loved having my bed down throughout the day because it allowed me to relax and rest a bit more.

The author plays on her nintendo on the left and phone on the right

The author passes the time in bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

To pass the time, I looked at my phone and played Nintendo while relaxing on the bed. 

It was a Saturday, so staying in bed felt right to me.

When we were about three hours from New York, my attendant transformed the bed back into seats, and these final hours on the train felt like the longest of the whole trip.

The author sits on the train and plays her Nintendo with the sun peering through the window on the left

The author passes the time on the sofa during the final hours of her trip. Joey Hadden/Insider

I think because my bed was gone and I thought the journey’s end should be near, the final hours of my train ride felt like they dragged on.

While I’m not sure if I’d choose a 30-hour train ride for my next trip, I know that if I do, I’ll at the very least book a Bedroom.

The author is seen outside the train on a platform

The author takes a selfie during a stop at Washington Union Station in Washington, DC. Joey Hadden/Insider

When we arrived in New York around 7 p.m., slightly later than scheduled, I realized I had never been more grateful to be home.

But I was also appreciative of the room and privacy I had while I was getting there. 

Read the original article on Insider

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