A Week at the Olympics: What Would It Cost?

I’ve never even thought about going to the Olympics, because I’ve always assumed it would be crazy, jam-packed, and EXPENSIVE. Despite the crowds and hefty price tag, however, I would like to go one day. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness world history in the making.

Someone told me that they had a friend who was going to the London Olympics to see the powerwalking competition. Yes, you read that right, POWERWALKING. And they are paying about $300 to witness that event. That made me a little bit curious: how much does it actually cost the average person to visit the Olympics? With skyrocketing airfares and the high demand for hotel rooms, I’m sure it would be completely unaffordable for a college student like me. I decided to do a little bit of investigating to find out exactly how much a trip to the Olympics would cost me.

Flight

I used a popular travel website to find a flight. I chose to search roundtrip flights that leave on Tuesday and return the following Tuesday, since that’s one of the cheapest days to fly. Leaving August 7 and returning August 14 and flying directly from Detroit to London, it would cost me $1,001, round trip. This was the cheapest flight listed on Travelocity.

Hotel

I found a decent hotel located about half an hour from the Olympic Stadium. To book a room at the Holiday Inn Express Wandsworth-Battersea, it will cost you an average of $195 a night. The plus side is that this price includes a breakfast buffet. For a one week stay, the hotel would cost a total of $1,365.

Tickets

Tickets to Olympic events are in high demand, and do NOT come at a cheap cost. The closing ceremony is taking place on August 12, and it’s being held at the Olympic Stadium. How much are tickets for this? The best seats available will run you €1,500, which equates to about $1,862. There are a range of prices available, the cheapest costing you only $25 in U.S. currency. To pick a mid-range ticket, you’ll pay about $813 a piece. In other words, if you want to actually be able to see anything, you’ll pay dearly.

I was curious to see what sporting events would cost as well. The women’s football (AKA soccer) matches still had tickets available. The prices for the women’s gold medal match actually weren’t bad; prices ran between $37 and $155 per ticket.

Food

A girl’s gotta eat! While breakfast would be included with the price of my hotel, I would still have to pay for two meals per day. According to eurotriptips.com, a typical pub meal in London will run you between 5 and 10 euros. In U.S. currency, this is between 6 and 12 dollars per meal. I estimate that a week of meals would run me about $150-$200.

Transportation

Obviously, I’m not going to have a car if I’m traveling overseas, and I’m too chicken to drive on the right-hand side of the car. Therefore, a taxi would be my best bet for getting to and from the events. If I were to go to both the closing ceremony and the football match, I’d have to pay four separate cab fares. I used Taxi Fare Finder to calculate the cost of my trip. According to the website, a trip from my hotel to Olympic Stadium would cost about 43 euros, or $53 USD. Multiplying that by four, my taxi fare would cost about $212, just to get to and from two of the Olympic events.

While I could probably walk to restaurants and other destinations during my stay, I would need to also take a cab to get to and from the airport. My chosen hotel is located about 25 minutes from the airport. This equates to about $70 in cab fares. Doubling that for my trip to the hotel, and my trip back to the airport, I would spend about $140 in fares.

Grand Total

So when all’s said and done, how much would this actually cost? Here is my rough estimate of the cost for a week at the Olympics.

Flight: $1,001

Hotel: $1,365

Tickets: $930 (This is using B-Level Tickets for both events. With lower level tickets, I could go for as cheap as $62.)

Food: $150

Transportation: $352

Total: $3,798

That’s one pricey week of fun! I did calculate the cost with nicer tickets, which was a difference of about $860. You should also keep in mind that I didn’t factor in costs for things like sightseeing, souvenirs, tips, or any other incidental charges that it’s hard to account for when planning a trip.

When the whole world is trying to get to the same place, prices can skyrocket. Have you ever been to the Olympics? Comment and share your experience with other Zing! readers. What was your experience like? Was it expensive? Let us know!

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3 Responses to A Week at the Olympics: What Would It Cost?

  1. Dakota August 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    This is something I have actually been thinking about a lot lately. I’m so glad you did the research for us! I guess we’ll just have to wait for another Olympics in the US to go so the prices are (maybe?!) cheaper. :)

  2. vaporizer August 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Wow, the US women’s track team won big! Next stop…Rio!

  3. Davis February 13, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    I get that this is old, but since I’m looking at going to Rio in 2016 and came across this, and others may as well, I thought I’d make some comments.

    Not a terrible deal on the flight @ 1K. I’m thinking Rio will be similar from airports in the south like Atlanta or MIami. Add a couple hundred if you have to connect.

    You found a room for $200. Great, but why wouldn’t you split this? Lodging is going to be far and away the most expensive thing. Doing the Olympics solo for this reason alone is a bit crazy, unless you can hostel it. Had you split this just with one other person, you’d be down to $100 a night.

    You can do a ton of events for $50 or less a piece. Not sure why you picked an $800 closing ceremony seat. I’ve sat in the cheap seats for a lot of sporting events and had a blast. Save the $800 and go to 20 events instead. Kind of a no-brainer here.

    Your transportation costs were way off. I’ve been in London twice. They have one of the best public transportation systems in the world and you’ll never pay more than about $10 in a single day (there is a cap). You can literally get anywhere in London in an hour or less or so for about $3.

    Your food costs were fine. But if on a tight budget you could eat for about as cheap as you can at home. I do it all the time when traveling. Just don’t expect fine dining!

    With the above, your estimate should have been about half (or you’ll see a LOT more events).

    I’m going to try to do 3 weeks in Rio for under $4k. Yes sounds crazy, but I’m a darn good planner and frugal traveler if I need to be. I think i can get there and stay there for $2k, and then budget $100 a day and have an awesome time.

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