Capsule hotel on wheels

Not much evokes warmer childhood memories for me than falling asleep in a moving vehicle while the landscape rolls past. Unfortunately falling asleep in a moving vehicle these days typically means I’ve fallen asleep on a fellow commuter.

For anyone else that finds vibration of the road and undulations of oncoming traffic lights as soothing and sleep inducing as I do, this new travel trend might be worth keeping an eye out for.

Capsule hotels took Japan by storm in the 80s. Affordable accommodation for those looking for somewhere to sleep (and nothing more) appealed to many commuting long distances to work or caught out after public transport had ceased for the night.

While the odd one has popped up here and there (including one in Sydney), they never caught on outside of Japan. Maybe this new hybrid is just what it’ll take to get things rolling?

Since setting up shop in April last year, Cabin is leading the charge. It operates a classy shuttle service between Los Angeles and San Francisco that is equal parts accommodation and transportation. 


Departing at 11pm and arriving by 7am, commuters enjoy a cosy, sound-insulated cabin, free wifi, USB and wall outlet power, plus a hot cup of tea or coffee when you reach your destination. Cabin is staffed by first-aid-trained attendants, there is a large bathroom on board and the drivers select optimal routes to reduce the amount of ‘turbulence’ you will experience.

For US$115 (~AU$145) it comes in a little higher than an economy airfare, and it also takes a lot longer. However, the time you’re losing is spent sleeping in a cosy little cabin, which saves you from paying for a night’s accommodation.

Sounds like a winning ticket to me.

German-based Rotel Tours has been operating capsule hotels on wheels since the 1950s (decades before the first capsule hotel was built in Japan). Rotel Tours are now available all throughout the world and many travel through hard to access regions such as the Sahara Desert.

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Written by ryanbo


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