With only 199 days to go until the opening of the Games of the XXX Olympiad, or more commonly referred to as the London 2012 Olympic Games, anticipation, excitement, and head aches are growing. The Opening Ceremonies will be held on the 27th of July and the games will run through until the Closing Ceremonies on the 12th of August.
An event of this magnitude can be an amazing experience. Athletes and spectators from around the globe will have the opportunity to peacefully commune with people from various cultures and regions from all over the world. With 204 countries expected to compete in 26 events, with a total of 39 disciplines, over a 17 day period London will certainly be a major focus for people all over the world. By holding these Olympic Games in one of the oldest and largest European capital cities it promises a unique and amazing experience for anyone lucky enough to attend and a great boost to the local economy with the influx of tourists expected for the games.
However, like all good things, the London 2012 Olympic Games do come with a few drawbacks and quite the expensive price tag.
Londoners thought they saw crowds for Prince William’s wedding to his beloved Kate; those will be nothing compared to the deluge of people who will be present at the Olympic Games. As with any international event that brings together athletes and spectators, coming to support, cheer, and celebrate their home country, the crowds London will see this summer look to be spectacularly large. All of this on top of an already overcrowded city could mean long lines, slowed traffic flow, and lost patience.
For those travelers hoping to brave this surge of people to England’s capital city there is some hope on the horizon. The timing of the games, in London’s hottest months of July and August, coincides with the busiest tourist months, but also the months where many of London’s local residents choose to take holidays or annual trips to country estates and villas. Also, the location of the Olympic Park, where most of the sporting events and Opening and Closing Ceremonies will take place, is conveniently located on London’s East End, rather than the fashionable and touristy West End. That’s not to say there won’t be some events held in and around the West End, but most of the events will be on the outskirts of the busiest areas of London that attract most of the tourists, workers, and government officials who may not wish to participate in all of the excitement of the Olympic Games. This will, hopefully, help keep the flow of tourists, spectators, and Londoners to a manageable level. If you plan to brave these crowds this summer be sure to anticipate long lines, be prepared for travel times and traffic volumes to be increased, and be sure to bring plenty of patience.
The big question most travelers planning to attend the Olympic Games this summer in London have on their mind is where to get tickets and how much will they cost? Only UK residents and residents of select European countries can purchase their tickets directly from the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). For U.S. Citizens planning on attending the games individual tickets and ticket packages, including hotel and ticket hospitality packages, can be purchased through CoSport. Tickets and ticket packages are based on country of residency and are sold on a first come first serve basis. The ticket sales for U.S. residents began on December 7th at noon and after only 1 month of sales about half of the ticket/hospitality packages are sold out, so if travelers are planning on seeing the summer games in London, plan to purchase tickets as soon as possible! The cost of packages, which include both hotel accommodations and event tickets for various events, as well as a hospitality ticket that will entitle you to one visit to CoSport’s food and beverage tent or the USA House in London, that still remain start at around $4,500 USD per individual and $6,025 USD per couple and can go up to around $21,500 USD per individual and $32,555 USD per couple; these packages DO NOT include airfare or transportation to and from the hotel. These packages vary in hotel accommodations, length of stay, and events to be attended. There are also ticket packages that do not include accommodation but include 2 day access to the events specific to each package and a 1-day hospitality pass to the CoSport’s Hospitality Center or the USA House in London on certain packages. Packages remaining start at $1050 USD per person going up to about $4375 USD per person, based on the events the purchaser wishes to attend. Individual Event tickets are available as well, but due to ticket resale issues that some customers have been experiencing individual event ticket sales are currently temporarily suspended.
Now if there are travelers who are fortunate enough to be able to afford the tickets for these Olympic games they should begin to look for airfare deals as soon as possible because flights to London will be selling quickly and if you’ve purchased a CoSport Ticket/Hospitality package they’ll need to have all of your information two months before the opening of the Olympic games. According to Kayak.com, currently coach flights from Knoxville, TYS, to London are about $1400 per person and coach flights from Atlanta, ATL, to London start at $1318 per person.
If travelers were unable to get a package that includes accommodations but you have tickets, not to worry, there are accommodations available in the greater London area. However, you’ll need to make these accommodation reservations quickly because you’re not only contending with other spectators and tourists for rooms, but many of the Games Makers, volunteers helping out at the Games from all over the UK, have found out they too need to purchase their own accommodations for the duration of their voluntary period! The best deals can probably be found among the thousands of B&B’s that litter the city, but there are also many budget conscious, and luxury, hotels as well, as long as you book early enough!
If travelers can afford the overwhelming price tag, and prepare themselves for the surplus of people they’ll have to contend with when they reach London, a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games will be an experience of a lifetime!! Safe and Happy Travels!!