The cheesy-bag-of-gummy-worms that is NBC’s Olympic coverage, finally interviewed someone interesting the other day: an American man who had been to 12 different summer Olympics. Although intriguing, he served as only a soundbite for the rest of NBC’s rather mediocre, and overly-sweet segment “discovering” the 2016 Olympic crowd.
(One NBC affiliate cleverly stated, “I just love walking around the park and hearing all of the different languages. It’s amazing!” Well yeah, you’re at the Olympics..)
Let’s take another second however, and revel in that man’s achievement: attending over 12 different Olympics. On average, attending the Olympics is no cheap feat. Depending on how close the hosting city is to you, it can cost between $200-$1000 USD for flights, then add on accommodation, food, and of course, the actual event tickets (half averaged about $21/event in Rio), and you’re looking at a cost of anywhere from $2000-$5000.
Again, it varies widely from city to city. A trip to Rio from the United States (and Canada) is likely cheaper than a trip to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go.
The trick is: SAVING (and finding deals)!
Although the American-globetrotter didn’t get the chance to discuss his 44 years of Olympic travel experience in detail on NBC, I’m assuming he dedicated some savings in order to attend these events. Think about it, you can definitely save between $2000-$5000 in the four years between each Olympics. That’s what is so great about the Olympics – it inherently gives your wallet four years to recover from the last games!
Let’s break-down the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as an example.
Right now, there are about 46 months until the Tokyo Olympics.
According to the blog, Tokyo Consult, flights to Tokyo can be as cheap as $455 from Los Angeles. If you’re flying in from the east coast, a flight to LA can be as cheap as $300-$400. So, a round-trip flight to Tokyo from the U.S. would probably cost around $750-$1000.
The blog also states that accommodation in the city varies due to size and location, therefore it can cost anywhere from $20-per-night (for a hostel) to $280-per-night (for a standard hotel). If you plan on staying the entire Olympic event (around 16 days, 15 nights) then accommodation will cost around $300-$4,200.
As far as transportation goes, luckily Tokyo is a city infiltrated by an efficient rail-system that stretches throughout. Each ride costs between $2-$5. If we assume that for the 16 days you’re at the games, you’ll take the train at least twice a day, then transportation will cost around $32-$80.
Food, souvenirs, and other costs will vary depending on your level of bougie. If you’re down for McDonalds or old-fashioned ramen dishes, you could eat for as little as $5-per-meal, however on average meals will cost about $15-$20 each at fancier restaurants. Therefore, food costs could vary between $240-$960. And souvenirs, well that’s your call. Do you really need any more dust collecting trinkets for your fire mantle?
Finally, the amount you pay to actually attend the Olympic events varies depending on how many events you want to go to, which ones, and seating. Again, Rio tickets varied from $20 to $1,200. For the 2016 games, tickets went on sale in late June and there were whispers among locals that event organizers were handing out free tickets to different events in order to fill the stadiums. So, if you like to press your luck, you could buy a few tickets to the events you really want to see and then wait around the park to grab some “free” left-over tickets if they’re available.
Attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (for the full 16 days) would ultimately cost you around $1,300 + event tickets on the very low-end, and $6,240 + event tickets on the high-end.
Think you can save up for that? Well, there’s 46 months until the next Olympics. Therefore if you’re on the low-end of the cost spectrum, you need to save about $29-per-month from now until August 2020. If you’re on the high-end of the cost spectrum, you need to save about $136-per-month.
Doable? Well, if American-globetrotter can do it. So can you.