In the years since pandemic-related restrictions have eased, many workers have returned to the office and resumed their daily commutes.
Although now, commuting takes on a whole new meaning for some people, known as “super-commuters,” who put your 45-minute train ride or hour-long interstate crawl to shame.
And one is going viral after revealing that he commutes to his job in New York City from Columbus, Ohio, every week.
Chip Cutter, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has been spending his weeks going back and forth between the two states using credit card points and rewards and frequent-flyer airline miles to make the most of his money.
“Like many, I moved out of the city early in the pandemic, relocating near family in the Midwest. When it came time to return in 2022, I was underwhelmed at the housing options in my price range,” Cutter told the Wall Street Journal. “Using back-of-the-envelope math, I thought I could keep my expenses—rent in Ohio, plus travel costs—at or below the price of a nice New York studio, or roughly $3,200 a month.”
He says he spends three of five working days in the New York City office.
“Costs mounted in the fall, New York’s prime tourist and business-travel season. Friends teased me for embracing a life of chaos,” Cutter 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. Needing to pack light, I stored shoes under my desk and left spare outfits on an office coat rack.”
Cutter said that he’s blown his initial budget by 15% and that while he’s still enjoying “having one foot in the Midwest and one on the East Coast,” he’s not sure how much longer he can keep up the shtick.
According to Zillow, the median rent cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Columbus is $1,425, compared to $3,350 per month in New York City.
“The challenge felt oddly thrilling. If anybody could find a way to subvert high New York real-estate costs, while remaining close to family, I thought it might be me,” Cutter said. “Nerding out about this stuff has allowed me to travel farther and in more rarefied air than I could otherwise afford.”