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This North Carolina woman ‘super commute’ 500 miles every two weeks to save $2,000 – what’s driving this trend

This North Carolina woman 'super commute' 500 miles every two weeks to save $2,000 – what's driving this trend

This North Carolina woman ‘super commute’ 500 miles every two weeks to save $2,000 – what’s driving this trend

Oh, people will go to extremes to keep the Big Apple from eating up a big chunk of their bank accounts.

Take hairstylist Kaitlin Jorgenson of Brooklyn. Well, once from Brooklyn.

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Yes, Jorgenson still works the same job at Scott J. Aveda Hair Salon on the Upper West Side. But now she commutes from North Carolina, and she takes her social media followers with her during her days.

For 12 months now, Jorgensen has traveled 544 miles round trip from Charlotte to her job in New York, flying to and from LaGuardia Airport every two weeks. Since super trips are reserved for someone who is not a business executive, they could be considered one of the longest in the United States.

“I feel like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” Jorgensen told CNBC’s Make It. Yes, but we wouldn’t blame you if you questioned the practicality of it all, let alone the reason. Regardless, this is a fascinating case to look at to analyze the pros and cons.

Benefits of a great commute, close-up

While the geographic scope of a Charlotte-New York flight could easily overwhelm Joe or Jane Commuter, the truth is that, in certain circumstances, it can actually save time.

For example: Any Chicagoan will tell you that driving from the city’s northern border to the city’s southern border via the main drag of Western Avenue can easily take two hours. But flying from O’Hare Airport to LaGuardia? Non-stop, it’s 2 hours and 10 minutes.

In Jorgensen’s case, out-of-control spending was also a major factor to consider. The cost-benefit analysis isn’t hard to understand: Flights, Ubers, parking your car at the Charlotte airport, and accident privileges at a friend’s apartment in New York cost about $1,000 per month. Add another $1,000 to rent in Charlotte and, as Jorgensen shared with one of her followers, she’s still paying half of the $4,000 she paid to live in Brooklyn. (And earn frequent flyer miles, too.)

Like many people who have moved during the pandemic, Jorgensen likes living in a bucolic place, far from the headaches of big cities. And trends in cities like San Francisco may be correlated with the increase in super air travel, since in 2022, 100 people moved for every 63 people who moved in, according to Move Buddha’s analysis.

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Disadvantages of long-term commuting

But that doesn’t mean super travel is a given. If you miss a bus or train in New York, another one arrives in five or ten minutes. However, miss a flight – or have it canceled on you – and you’ve gone from a great ride to a super calamity. A train from Charlotte to New York’s Moynahan Station typically takes 12 or 13 hours.

You’ll also need a boss of the most understanding order to agree to a great travel arrangement. Calling late from an airport terminal halfway across the country isn’t exactly a good thing, and filling in for your sick colleague at the last minute is nearly impossible.

The super ride also takes on a different content if you make the journey by car. Gas, tolls and car wear and tear add up. And depending on your route, the aggravations of traffic, construction delays or waiting for accidents could increase – a physically and mentally exhausting proposition. A pre-pandemic study claimed that sedentary travel was a chronic activity “with the potential for stress and time use that can compete with other health-promoting activities.”

Nor is it a tactic for small-town workers who suspect their big-city business is in trouble. One study concludes that if the business collapses, workers in large markets remain unemployed for much shorter periods and lose less income than those in small markets.

The super “hybrid” journey?

As a stylist, Jorgensen can’t call from home. But as many people have discovered during the pandemic, working hundreds of miles from headquarters is a feasible option that allows people to move without racking up commuting miles.

Another possibility therefore presents itself to those who succeed: super hybrid commuting. Assuming you’re called back to the remote office — as many companies are asking these days — it’s not out of the question to find an arrangement that still allows you to work from home part of the week.

Or you can choose to do it this way, as more and more people do; The Wall Street Journal calls these hybrid travel warriors a “new breed of commuter.” And who knows? If Jorgensen goes into haircutting in Charlotte, or her boss opens a satellite salon there, she could also work from home (or nearby) several days a week.

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This article provides information only and should not be considered advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.


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