So you’ve got your heart set on attending a major sporting event abroad, you’ve managed to bag some tickets, can find a cheap hotel, but there is still one problematic hurdle. Flight prices will inflict serious pain on your bank account, and may stop you going altogether. Don’t lose hope yet! There may be alternatives, and they certainly worked for me.
In my case I was desperately trying to get to the UEFA Cup Final, to watch Middlesbrough play against Sevilla in Eindhoven. [Cue wise cracks about staying at home] Anyway, direct flights from the UK to Holland were extortionate, so, demonstrating our ingenuity, we looked at reaching Holland via Dublin. Our local airport, Durham Tees Valley, (or Teesside as we like to know it as!) had a cheap flight to Dublin with Ryanair, and from there it would just be a case of waiting for our connection to Eindhoven, which was a little more hassle but saved us a small fortune. Although our return flights set us back about £100 each in the end, we felt triumphant knowing that direct flights were selling for three to four times that sum. We got to relax for a couple of hours in Dublin too, soaking up the atmosphere with a couple of drinks in Temple Bar – the locals thought we were a little insane though I think when we explained why we were there!
So you’re struggling to find a cheap way of getting to a high demand overseas sporting event? Wondering how you’d go about doing the same cheat as we did to find great deals? Read on…
Let’s say, for example, that if Manchester United reached the Champions League Final in Rome this season, cheaper flights could be found by searching for an airport that both Rome and Manchester have mutually in common (i.e. not in the UK). This can simply be checked using the flight finder on Ryanair’s website homepage. Select the ‘departing from’ option as Manchester and note where Ryanair fly to from Manchester and then change it to Rome and note where they fly to from Rome. Look out for any routes they share and see which routes work out the easiest in terms of travel time, connection time and cost. For our example, browsing Ryanair’s website shows that the first mutual airport would be Girona (Barcelona) in Spain. As long as the flight times matched, you could fly from Manchester to Barcelona and then from Barcelona to Rome. The connection airport needs to be outside of the UK to avoid demand – the Spanish won’t be fighting for tickets to see the final if it’s between Chelsea and Manchester United again (Probably a poor example though as we all know Man U fans aren’t actually from Manchester!) However, if Barcelona got to the final then you’d need to find an alternative airport. It sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to think of this.
Good luck and happy hunting!
By Ben Charlton.