Flying 770 Miles For Work Is Cheaper Than Living In NYC For This Gen Z Woman

As generations of New Yorkers know all too well, finding an apartment that is both affordable and within a reasonable distance from Manhattan is nothing short of a Herculean mission.

While prices continue to fluctuate and stabilize from past “covid deals” and subsequent spikes, the median cost of studio in the city in June 2023 comes out to $3,500. For those needing a short-term rental for several months, prices spike even further.

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While the rise of remote work has helped lower demand, there is still a strong rush of young professional looking for short-term housing in the summer for internships at New York companies across different industries.

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Why Flying In For Work Is Cheaper Than Renting For This Woman

After posting details of her “super-commute” on TikTok, 21-year-old University of Virginia media studies student Sophia Celentano went viral for her descriptions of how she got around this problem.

Celentano, who is spending her summer at her parents’ house in Charleston, was offered a summer internship at Ogilvy Health in Parsippany, New Jersey.

To avoid the high rent costs even in a small city 45 minutes outside of NYC, Celentano decided to fly in for work. Required to be in the office once a week for work, Celentano flies from Charleston to Newark Liberty International Airport every Wednesday for $225.

The total number includes a 6 a.m. flight for $27 and a 9 p.m. return flight for $60 through a low-cost carrier as well as Uber  (UBER) – Get Free Report rides between the office and the airport.

“Rather than spending paying $3400+ a month for rent (the new average for leases in Manhattan), I book a $100 round trip flight from SC to NJ on the one day a week I work in-person,” Celentano writes in a LinkedIn post that was upvoted nearly 2,000 times.

‘Not What I Was Craving In My Life Right Now’

Celentano’s calculations come down to $2,250 for the eight flights she would need to take before the end of the summer. A studio apartment in Parsippany, meanwhile, would cost her an average $3,460 for the same two months with the numbers climbing much higher if she were to be closer to Manhattan.

From living with her parents to only needing to be in the office once a week, Celentano’s calculation adds up only in her unique case — someone paying for an apartment while also flying in would save significantly less if anything at all. 

But the intern’s TikTok videos about her commute went viral for highlighting the unique ways people find to get around the high cost of cities in many urban cities — amid the post-pandemic explosion of remote work, both corporate expectations and the infrastructure of business districts itself has been undergoing some profound changes.

“Obviously, moving to a new city can be exciting, and it’s great to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but that kind of change is not what I was craving in my life right now,” Celentano said in an interview with CNBC. “[…] Ironically, having a longer commute has helped me have a healthier work-life balance.”

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