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Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Cost of a Super Bowl Trip vs. The Cost of a Trip Abroad

By Andy

Which is better, a trip abroad or a trip to the Super Bowl?  Is it preferable to spend a week or two in a foreign land, meeting new people; or taking a trip to another part of the country with your buddies for a few days? Is attending the Super Bowl cheaper than traveling abroad? Which is the overall better experience? Officially, that is debatable.

For a man who’s attended one Olympiad, two World Cups, one European Soccer Championship, and many other major sporting events, I’ve always had a desire, or rather, the curiosity, to attend a Super Bowl. Yes, it’s tricky when you can’t really “pull the trigger” on plans or purchase until your team is actually in the Super Bowl, but over the years, the thing that has prevented me from attending, besides my team not being in it, is the outrageous cost. I know it's a high- profile event, but the cost for Super Bowl tickets is ridiculous. It is even more discouraging, eye-opening and jaw-dropping when you factor in the costs for accommodations and most of all, getting there. After looking at the numbers over the years, and this year's Super Bowl is no exception, it is cheaper to take a trip abroad than it is to attend the Super Bowl.

According to Nerd Wallet, Inc. and TiqIQ, the average price for a ticket at this year's Super Bowl in Arizona, costs nearly $5,000, and the cheapest goes for nearly $2,500. Reuters and are reporting that average resold ticket is selling for just over $3,000. That's just the price of admission, folks. Forbes is reporting that not only are hotel rooms hard to find in the Phoenix area, but an available room will cost the sports fan three to four times the usual rate for the season, ranging from a few hundred to a thousand or more a night . According to ABC News, Seattle Seahawks fans can expect to fork over at least $682 to fly from the Emerald City to Phoenix, and supporters of the New England Patriots will have to pay, at a minimum, $844 to get from Boston to the Sonoran Desert.

Conversely, round-trip airfare from the U.S. to Europe can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the season, where in the U.S. you're flying from, and your destination. I've logged thousands of airline miles over the years, and two grand was the most I ever paid for an airline ticket, and that was during the high season for the World Cup in Germany. Other times I averaged a grand for a round-trip ticket, and according to Reid's Guides, that's right in the neighborhood of reasonable. Besides airfare, the other major expense when traveling abroad, is accommodation. With so many options for accommodations nowadays, a traveler need not be limited to hostels or hotels. Some cities and countries have a plethora of apartments to choose from for rent, via websites to rent out lodging or directly from apartment agencies that own the buildings and units themselves, and can thus keep costs generally low, and lower than hotels.

In other words, spending less than a hundred dollars a night on accommodations should be the norm, and should keep your costs low. I'm no mathematician or numbers guy, but again, during my travels, I've never spent more than $100 a night on accommodations when traveling. Combined, accommodation and airfare expenses when traveling abroad, are less than a Super Bowl ticket. After those major expenses, the rest of your expenses are basically chump change when traveling abroad. If you're smart with your money at home, you'll be smart with it abroad and you'll be able to afford at least a week abroad, which will be cheaper than spending four days in the Super Bowl host city.

Unless one is filthy rich, the average sports fan simply can't survive financially for more than a week in the city hosting the Super Bowl. In fact, I don't know how in the hell so many people can even afford to attend the Super Bowl without burning their savings and retirement funds. I also don't understand why people choose to waste their vacation time staying home in "The Matrix", when they could achieve cultural and personal enrichment, not to mention have far better dating options abroad, for less than the cost of what it takes to go through the turnstiles at the Super Bowl. To some, attending the Super Bowl is the experience of a lifetime, and that's cool; I can understand that. It's just not cool for me, because I know that neither the Super Bowl or the U.S. are the center of the world.

Now, I'm a big sports fan. I like watching and playing sports, and I like working out at the gym. But seriously, fuck attending the Super Bowl. I'm not that crazy about blowing an insane amount of money on a game that I'm not even playing in, nor getting paid to participate in. Sports is just one of my interests, it's not my whole life.

If you are a sports nut or just have to watch the big game, you're much better off doing what I do: staying at home and watching the big game on TV, or better yet, venturing out to your friend's house to attend one of the many Super Bowl parties being hosted nationwide. You'll not only save a ton of money, but that route will at least get you out of the house and mingling with your friends. Just remember to bring some food and drinks as your friend is already opening up his house to you to provide a venue for an unofficial holiday party.

Trust me, when springtime rolls around and you get that itch to travel abroad, you'll feel so much better that you didn't waste money on some overpriced football game with a mediocre halftime show. Instead you'll be walking around some foreign city, seeing the sights, possibly learning a new language and nearly breaking your neck from seeing beautiful women in every direction. I've never attended a Super Bowl, but when I've had the pleasure and privilege to venture abroad, I could care less if I never get to attend a Super Bowl. I know I'll not only be saving money, but I'll have much better memories and far more pleasant experiences by forgoing some major sporting event. Remember, a trip to the super bowl drains your finances, a trip abroad replenishes your spirit.