This weekend’s Washington Post Magazine story about two single Post reporters looking for love in Alaska’s women-starved wastes has come in for some knocks here and elsewhere, but the news may be worse for the Post‘s budget. According to Post Magazine editor Lynn Medford, the paper paid the travel expenses for the nearly 5,000 mile trip.

How much did the Post spend? According to City Desk’s very rough estimate, quite a bit. Using Expedia and information in the story, we calculated just the costs of reporters Tara Bahrampour and Annie Gowen‘s flights on their four-day trip. 

Here’s what makes it up:

Flight for Two from D.C. to Anchorage

In the piece, the reporters write that they came up with and took the trip in less than a month. According to Expedia, a round-trip flight for two from D.C. to Anchorage, booked 30 days before it departs, costs $1,825.

Flight for Two from Anchorage to Homer

After their plans to head to Kodiak Island are put off by fog, the pair heads to Homer instead. A round-trip flight for two costs $960.

Flight for One from Homer to Kodiak Island

Don’t plan on a cheap trip to Kodiak Island unless you’ve got a newspaper’s travel budget backing you up. After the two split up and Gowen heads back to Anchorage, Bahrampour flies to the island. A round-trip flight for one from Homer to Kodiak costs $778.

That puts the cost of the flights alone at $3,563, give or take a flight variations. Gowen and Bahrampour shouldn’t have to pay for their own gallivanting around, but you have to wonder whether this was the best use of the the Post‘s travel budget.

Was it worth it? The story has over 300 comments, and the slideshow of their suitors is pretty good. Bahrampour was reminded that there’s a place “where people feel okay taking chances.”

“The response has been wonderful,” Medford writes in an email. “Everyone enjoyed the spirit and the laughs.”

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