Super Bowl 2013 Travel Deals Possible for Those Who Wait
Visiting New Orleans for the 2013 Super Bowl is going to cost you.
Jan. 23, 2013— -- Make no mistake about it: Visiting New Orleans for the Super Bowl -- whether you hold a game ticket or not -- is going to cost you. Big time.
StubHub showed prices for tickets ranging from $2,080 for a single ticket to more than $315,000 for a 30-person suite. But StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said prices are likely to go down.
"Because tickets are a perishable commodity, the longer people are willing to wait, the better chance they have of getting the price they want," he said. "Last year, in the minutes before the game, tickets were selling below face value."
The same could be true of hotel rooms. The NFL has 90 percent of rooms blocked, according to Expedia, but rooms are just now starting to trickle out to the public. Right now, the online booking site said, there are only 10 hotels showing availability, but that will likely change in the coming days.
"It's actually easier to find a hotel room in New Orleans this week than it was last," said Sarah Gavin, public relations director of Expedia. "Room blocks are just now being lifted."
Prices for hotel rooms in the city are running high. Hotwire said the average nightly rate for Super Bowl weekend is nearly four times the norm, at $394 per night. Average hotel rates the following two weekends are $107 per night.
Rental homes are also filling up. HomeAway.com reported 68 percent of available homes in New Orleans are already booked for Super Bowl weekend. The average price for two- and three-bedroom homes is $1,200 for the game-day weekend.
Even if ticket prices and hotel room rates drop in the coming weeks, unless you're within driving distance of the Crescent City, you've still got one major hurdle: airfare.
Airfare is astronomically high, even though airlines are adding seats to New Orleans for the Feb. 3 game. Southwest announced earlier this week that it would introduce two non-stops between San Francisco and New Orleans Jan. 31 and add two non-stops between Baltimore-Washington airport (BWI) and New Orleans the same day, bringing the total to four. On Feb. 4, there will be two non-stops from New Orleans to San Francisco. Returns to BWI Feb 4 are already sold out, according to the airline.
Air Tran will also add one non-stop from Atlanta to New Orleans Jan 31, bringing the total to five. The airline added two non-stops from New Orleans to Atlanta for Feb. 4, but those are already sold out. AirTran was purchased by Southwest in 2011; the operations of the two airlines are still merging.
A search for airfare from San Francisco to New Orleans departing Friday, Feb. 1, and returning Monday, Feb. 4, found no non-stop flights. Flights with connections started at $1,430. Using the same dates for flights from Baltimore to New Orleans, there were no non-stop flight left; connecting flights started at $1100.
There are ways to bring down the cost, however. Flights may be cheaper for travelers who elect to return later in the week. Visitors who stay a few extra days in New Orleans can experience Mardi Gras season, which will pause for Super Bowl weekend but resume Feb. 6. Travelers might also find cheaper flights and more availability to nearby airports like Baton Rouge and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., about 65 and 75 miles from New Orleans, respectively.
Travelers from Baltimore may want to consider Amtrak, as long as they don't mind a 27-hour train ride to the Crescent City. Round-trip coach seats can be purchased to New Orleans for about $500.
And for those fans from Atlanta and New England who got ahead of themselves and purchased flights to New Orleans who want to cancel? Travelers flying on non-refundable tickets can change their plans for $150 on most airlines and choose to visit New Orleans another time or go to a different city all together.
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