Home Business Here’s your travel guide to the big game in Miami

Here’s your travel guide to the big game in Miami

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While fans and odds makers have their favorites, we don’t yet know which teams will be facing off at Super Bowl LIV at the Dolphin’s Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Feb. 2.

That doesn’t mean that football fans should wait to look for tickets and deals on airfare and hotels for the game. Officials at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau expect more than 150,00 out-of-state fans to head to the Miami area for the Super Bowl and associated activities.

Ahead of Sunday’s NFL conference championship games, airfare forecasting company Hopper found $229 average round-trip airfares to Miami from San Francisco, Kansas City, Nashville and Green Bay — the cities with teams still in the running.

And travelers might be able to save an average of 32%, or $84 per round-trip ticket, if they’re willing to time their arrival in Miami to the day of the Super Bowl, said Hopper economist Hayley Berg.

Want the cheapest fare? “We found that historically, based on the week leading up to the Super Bowl in the last two years, the Tuesday before the big game has been cheapest day to fly,” said Steve Sintra, Regional Director North America, of travel search and booking site Kayak.

Super Bowl stays

The good news is that the Miami and the surrounding cities have a good supply of lodging options. But of course, many of the more desirable hotels are filling up quickly.

Hopper’s data crunchers say there are still good deals to be found on rooms in the $321 to $350 per night price range.

But an Expedia search earlier this week for a Friday to Monday stay, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, at hotels with four stars or above ratings returned many “We are sold out” alerts and a few downtown Miami vacancies starting above $600 a night.

Elsewhere we found Solé Miami, on Sunny Isles Beach in North Miami, about 11 miles from Hard Rock Stadium offering stays from Thursday, Jan. 30 to Monday, Feb. 3 for $762 each night, not including taxes and resort fees.

The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, about 20 minutes from the Hard Rock Stadium, has room rates starting at $759 per night (plus taxes and resort fees) from Thursday, Jan. 30 through Monday, Feb. 3. The hotel will be setting up TV screens in poolside cabanas, organizing a viewing party at the hotel bar and offering special treatments in the spa during halftime.

And the Greystone Miami Beach has room rates starting at $949 per night (excluding taxes and resorts fees) from Thursday, Jan. 30 through Monday, Feb. 3.

Too pricey? Home-share rentals, such as Airbnb, may offer a more affordable option.

“Hosts in Miami-Dade and Broward are anticipating historic highs in guest arrivals for the Big Game weekend with more than 34,000 (and rising) guests, already booked,” Airbnb said in an early January statement, with average daily rates in Miami-Dade and Broward counties hovering at $150 and $120 respectively.

“Hosts are currently expected to make $5.3 million in combined income during the Big Game weekend, a number that is also expected to rise along with guest arrivals as the final teams are decided,” the company added.

Celebrate on a ship

Miami is home to many of the world’s cruise lines, and CruiseCritic.com has a good list of the companies that will be offering special Super Bowl-themed cruises or at least setting up screening rooms to make sure sports fans at sea are able to watch the game.

Fans in Miami for Super Bowl weekend may want to add a short cruise before or after the game as well.

“Now is actually the perfect time to book, as we’re in what’s considered the last-minute booking window, when cruise lines tend to slash fares to fill remaining cabins,” said Erica Silverstein, senior editor at Cruise Critic. “With fares under $75 per night, per person, you could score a three- or four-night cruise to the Bahamas for less than you’d pay for a single night hotel stay in Miami.”

Tickets to the game – or not

Scoring a ticket to Super Bowl LIV is possible but pricey. Earlier this week, Stubhub’s lowest-price Super Bowl ticket was $5,600. At Ticketmaster, ticket prices ranged from $5,308 to over $19,000.

Another way to get a ticket is to purchase a Super Bowl package.

“The two teams going to the Super Bowl will most likely post team trips on their websites that include charter flights from the home city, hotel rooms, game tickets and probably a pre-game party,” said Duane Penner, vice president of sales for custom luxury travel provider Roadtrips, which specializes in sports travel.

“These tend to be fairly good deals and certainly not luxury packages,” said Penner, “But you’ll be able to travel with other face-painted hard-core fans.”

For a more upscale Super Bowl experience, Roadtrips is offering three-night game weekend packages that include Super Bowl tickets, admission to the NFL Fan Experience, event transfers and stays at top Miami hotels, such as the Mandarin Oriental. Rates start at $7,450 per person, based on double occupancy.

But even packages topping out at $35,000 person from the National Football League’s hospitality company, On Location Experiences, are selling out quickly.

No ticket? No problem.

If you don’t score a ticket to the Super Bowl game itself, there are plenty of reasons to head to Miami before and during Super Bowl weekend.

From Jan. 25 to Feb. 1, Miami’s Bayfront Park will host a free Super Bowl fan festival called Super Bowl Live. In addition to live music, dance and visual arts performances, the festival will have myriad football-themed selfie opportunities; a Tailgate Town with live cooking demonstrations and exhibits; stunt-filled water shows; evening parades and weekend fireworks.

The ticketed Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center also runs Jan. 25 to Feb. 1 and offers games, youth football clinics, autograph sessions with NFL players, a virtual reality experience, Super Bowl rings display and opportunities to snap photos with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Single day tickets: $50

Airports and TSA ready for football fans

Most out-of-town fans will arrive and depart through Miami International Airport (MIA), which is planning for an above average number of passengers in the three days prior to the game and a record-breaking 90,000 departing passengers on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

There are two 24-hour security checkpoints at the airport year-round, but to keep things moving, Transportation Security Administration will add a third 24-hour checkpoint for Feb 3.

TSA is also asking Super Bowl fans traveling through Miami and other area airports, including Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), to put their souvenir game programs in their carry-ons and then place them in the bins at the checkpoints, where TSA’s transportation security officers can easily see them.

“Depending on the composition and thickness of this year’s program, they might – as they have done in previous years – prevent our machines and humans from seeing under them,” said TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, “When that happens in checked bags, the bag will alarm and be sent to a room to be opened for inspection by an officer and assurance that there are no hidden threats in the bag. With thousands of fans’ bags possibly alarming, a passenger’s bag might not make it to the homebound plane.”

Back at Miami airport, Super Bowl prep includes a beefed up MIA Airport Official mobile app and a tip-filled Countdown to Takeoff Playbook.

In the terminals, MIA’s Gate D29 is being transformed into a weekend Tailgate Party passenger zone, with a viewing party scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday. Artist Duane Hanson’s iconic, hyperrealist “Football Player” sculpture is on view between Gates D47 and D48 and a set of flight monitors on Concourse F is showing archive video from past Super Bowls and Miami Dolphins history, courtesy of the Wolfson Archives at Miami Dade College.



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