I took a 30-hour train from New York to Miami, and the motion sickness and terrible sleep were too much for me

Insider's reporter traveled overnight by Amtrak from New York City to Miami. Joey Hadden/Insider
Recently, I spent 30 hours traveling by Amtrak train from New York City to Miami.

The ride was rough and bumpy. I also found it to be too cramped.

You might even enjoy the ride if you appreciate the journey as much the destination.

Nearly every day, I commute by train to New York City.

The author is seated in a NYC subway car. Joey Hadden/Insider

Trains are not something I am unfamiliar with.

My family took me to New York City trains as a child when I was growing up in Stamford Connecticut.

As an adult living in Brooklyn I am more comfortable in trains than in cars. To get around the city, I use subways both above and below ground every time I leave my home.

The idea of taking a train from NYC to Miami for the 30-hour journey seemed good.

The author is seated on a train between NYC and Miami. Joey Hadden/Insider

I flew a few times during the pandemic, but found it uncomfortable to wear a mask and be in close proximity to others passengers. I decided to try another method of transport. I figured that a train with a private room would be better than flying.

The train ride to Miami was 10 times longer than an economy flight, so I booked my ticket.

The flight cost approximately $500. A basic economy flight from NYC to Miami could cost about $50, depending on the day. It was worth it, so I was curious to find out if it was worth it.

But I did not anticipate how bad the constant motion and the length of the trip would make my feel.

The author is seated in her Roomette. Joey Hadden/Insider

The trip was too long for someone like me who suffers from anxiety about travel. It is difficult for me to relax while I am between destinations. The train was not a destination for me.

The train's constant motion didn't help either. I felt a bit queasy.

My journey started at Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station, NYC.

A view of the line waiting to board an Amtrak train from Miami at 3:15 p.m. Joey Hadden/Insider

The experience of waiting at the train station was similar to waiting in an airport but without as much security. I was able to get my train ticket into the waiting area, and sat there until it was time for me to board.

Continue the story

When it was time for me to board the train, I discovered that the sleeper cars were at the back.

View of Amtrak trains on Penn Station's platform. Joey Hadden/Insider

The dining car is right behind the sleeper car.

Once I was on the train, the narrow corridor between three sleeper cars led me to my room.

View of the hallway from a sleeper car aboard an Amtrak train. Joey Hadden/Insider

You could only walk down the corridor one file because it was so narrow.

This tiny, private roomette is also known as a Roomette and it's the cheapest Amtrak option if you need a bed.

View of a Roomette across the road. Joey Hadden/Insider

A Roomette is an alternative to sitting in coach where you have a regular seat. It offers a private space with doors and blinds that cover the windows.

There are two seating areas inside, one across from the other and a folding table in between. A bed is above the seats and pulls down. You can also convert the seats into a bed.

Some Roomettes have a side table which opens to reveal a bathroom. Mine included. Above is a mirror and a foldable sink.

This is how the bathroom looks when it's open and closed. Joey Hadden/Insider

You'd be surprised to find a bathroom in this room if you put the seat down and fold up the sink.

I was able to travel solo with two rooms in a Roomette, and there was no privacy curtain.

The author is seen sitting on her Roomette's toilet. Joey Hadden/Insider

Only a handful of people would I choose to go second in front of me, but I prefer being alone.

If you are planning to go on a similar trip, I recommend that you bring Poo Pouri.

The author poses with Poo Pouri. Joey Hadden/Insider

Ten years ago, I might have had a more serious problem with the bathroom situation near my Roomette bed. I was able to save the situation by having Poo Pourri with me. This spray is used to remove odors from the toilet after you have poop.

Because I booked my tickets in a Roomette, I was forced to change to another Roomette. It didn't have a bathroom but had a sink halfway through my trip.

The author is in the bathroom to the left, and her Roomette to the right. Joey Hadden/Insider

The bathroom was located at the rear of the sleeper vehicle, where you could use the toilet.

I was reminded of a small home by the storage features in this room, such as a pullout table that was placed between the chairs.

The table is pulled out. Joey Hadden/Insider

For more space, the table also had two foldable leaves.

The Roomette offered more lighting options than you would get on a flight in economy. This surprised me.

The author switches on the reading lamp on her chair. Joey Hadden/Insider

Apart from the ceiling light each seat had its area light, reading light and night light. In my Roomette, I found 11 light switches.

It was also a surprise to me to be able control the temperature in my Roomette.

View of the Roomette's temperature dial and air conditioner vent. Joey Hadden/Insider

My Roomette was equipped with a thermostat and air conditioning vents. I kept my room cool at 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

As soon as the train began moving, I noticed that it was bumpy. It felt like a flight if the seat belt sign is in place. Although I thought it was temporary, I was still concerned about the entire ride.

View from the window as the train was moving. Joey Hadden/Insider

As I stood to walk through the train cars, it felt like I was in an airplane trying to get to the toilet during turbulence. This was how it felt for most of the journey.

Because I felt the train ride was so bumpy, it was difficult to stay in my room. However, dinner was approaching and I decided to go to the restaurant.

View of the dining car. Joey Hadden/Insider

Although I could eat in my room, I didn’t want my room to smell like food all night.

My Roomette ticket included a meal and I was happy with it.

The author eats on the train. Joey Hadden/Insider

Braised short ribs, mashed potato, and hard roll were my choices. Although I didn't like the meal, I did make a sandwich with the ingredients. It was much better than the original.

To experience the feeling of sleeping in the top bunk, I decided to go to bed when it was time.

The author prepares for bed. Joey Hadden/Insider

The Roomette's seats fold up into a bed at the bottom, but I wanted to test out sleeping on top.

The bed was suspended in air and the blankets were wrapped in plastic. I found them to be surprisingly soft and comfy.

The bed seemed comfortable enough. However, the shaking on the top bunk was much more severe than in the other seats.

The author attempts to sleep. Joey Hadden/Insider

I settled into a comfortable sleeping position and listened to the train whistle. I pretended that I was on the Polar Express, until I fell asleep.

I felt disoriented several times throughout the night and had to remind my self where I was. There were times when I was afraid I would fall asleep.

Although I wasn't able to sleep well, it was still a pleasant experience to wake up to see the sun rise over Georgia.

The author gets up in the morning. Joey Hadden/Insider

Despite not sleeping well, I was glad I chose the top bunk for the beautiful views that I saw in the morning.

I woke up around 8 a.m., with approximately 11 hours remaining on my journey.

The author works from a laptop. Joey Hadden/Insider

I spent a lot of my time working.

I used my Nintendo Switch to watch movies that I had downloaded previously and then did some work to fill the time.

Mario Kart is the author. Joey Hadden/Insider

Although the train did have internet access, the connection was not reliable for me. Before I left for my trip, I was happy that I had downloaded podcasts, TV shows, movies and other media to my iPad and phone.

When I finally arrived in Miami I felt so grateful. I realized that long train rides are not for the weak of heart.

When she arrives in Miami, the author takes a selfie. Joey Hadden/Insider

Consider a long train ride as a vacation.

However, I will fly next time I need to leave the city for more than a week.

Insider has the original article.