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Personal experience: I fly to work in New York from Ohio, it's cheaper than living in NYC


Alina Prikhodko

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With rents in New York City hitting record levels last year, Wall Street Journal reporter Chip Cutter decided to commute to New York City from his home in Columbus, Ohio. According to New York Post, such business trips are cheaper for a guy than living in New York.

When it came time to return to the office in 2022, Cutter was overwhelmed by the housing options in his price range. He toured brick-walled one-room studios and climbed crumbling staircases to reach dank apartments with ancient fixtures.

“I thought I could keep my expenses—rent in Ohio plus travel—at or below the cost of a good New York studio, or about $3 a month,” Cutter said, noting that he covers his own travel expenses. to spend three days a week in the office.

The bold strategy isn't all that unusual—it's gaining traction among young people: One Gen Zer boasted that she regularly travels to Newark, New Jersey, from South Carolina to save money.

Inconvenient, but beneficial

In Cutter's case, he moved from New York City to an apartment closer to family at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He planned to use business miles and hotel points to make travel profitable.

“To get to the office on time, I set my alarm in Columbus for 4:15 a.m. and raced to the airport by 6 a.m.,” he wrote. – If everything went according to plan, I got from door to door in three hours. If there were delays, I would quickly change flights.”

On the subject: Renting an apartment in New York: what to look for in order not to rent a noisy bed bug with aggressive neighbors

At first, Cutter enjoyed staying at luxury hotels such as The Beekman, but the lifestyle proved unsustainable. Its editorial office is located in the heart of Midtown on Sixth Avenue. To save hotel points, he traded Manhattan luxury for a hotel in Southern Queens near Aqueduct Racetrack, close to Kennedy Airport and the Van Wyck Expressway.

The apartment will wait a little longer

Cutter complains that, in addition to inconsistency, these super trips also carry a social burden. He began to fear the question asked at parties and work events in New York: “So where do you live?” Not to mention the guy is trying to make his life in the capital of inflation.

“Spending increased in the fall, which is New York's peak tourist and business travel season. My friends made fun of me for living in chaos. - he said. “They weren’t wrong.” Without a refrigerator or stove, late night dinners often consisted of yogurt and fruit purchased from a 24-hour CVS. When I needed lightweight items, I kept my shoes under my desk and left extra outfits on the office rack.”

“In the end, the math didn't work out. “I went over my budget by 15% and depleted my mileage balance,” he admitted. “But I flew so much and stayed in so many hotels that I maintained my elite status with Hyatt and American.”

Still, he's not ready to give up yet - even when one of his colleagues demands that he "move into an apartment." “My lease is ending, but hotel rates in Manhattan dropped this winter as the holidays passed,” Cutter said. “Perhaps the search for an apartment in New York can wait a little longer.”


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