The summer of 2014 might feel some way off to most of us, but football fans have already kicked off their search for cheap accommodation during the mighty World Cup.
Until the draw on December 6, nobody yet knows where the England team will play their key matches among the 12 host cities in Brazil, starting on June 12, but that isn’t putting people off booking up now.
Claire Chamberlain, Latin America product manager at tour operator DialAFlight, adds: “The best priced flights sold more or less the first week after England qualified, but some do remain and it’s best to book sooner rather than later.
“In Rio, all hotels are selling minimum five-night but mostly seven or eight-night packages with set check-in dates, no flexibility, and full non-refundable payment at time of booking. Our best buy is currently eight nights from June 11 or 18 at the three-star Atlantis Copacabana from £2,250 per room, though prices rise slightly in the final two weeks.”
Thomas Cook Sport is also currently offering return British Airways flights to Rio, ex-Heathrow on June 12 and back on June 30, from £999.
While this might seem inaccessibly pricey, fans who have not yet secured accommodation and transport should not lose heart.
“Most Rio hotels are only bookable via the FIFA website with even average ones at inflated prices. It’s probably easier to see matches in the Northeast, at Salvador or Fortaleza, although we don’t know where England will play until the draw,” says Richard Laker, South American expert at tour operator Bailey Robinson.
Opting for a cruise around the area is another way of dodging sky-high prices. Cruise Nation, for example, offers an 18-night voyage from Miami on MSC Divina, with flights ex-Heathrow on May 22 and three free nights’ room-only in Rio in packages from £1,899, saving £800, if booked by November 4. Regional departures are available at a supplement. Ports of call also include a number of Caribbean islands, plus two World Cup host cities – Fortaleza, and Salvador.
Or, bearing the glorious Brazilian climate in mind, why not try camping? Real Holidays, a North London travel agent, offers week-long stays at three camp sites: one in Rio with pitches for up to 3,000 people and two in the north-east of the country, in Salvador and Pipa, near Natal. Seven-day camping packages from £895 include daily beach transfers and transfers to the matches, with flights extra.
Another brilliant option for bargain-hunters is holiday rentals website HouseTrip.com, listing over 250,000 addresses worldwide. It claims its apartments in Brazil in the World Cup are up to 30% cheaper than equivalent quality hotel rooms. One possible Housetrip stay is a three-bedroom house, sleeping eight, in the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, including whirlpool bath, balcony and roof terrace, from £181 per night. Another slightly less luxurious apartment in downtown Rio, sleeping up to four, starts at only £48 per night – leaving no reason why you can’t support the boys, and stay safely on-side with the bank manager.
:: INFORMATION: Dial A Flight (0844 556 6060 and www.dialaflight.com); Cruise Nation (0800 408 0758 and www.cruisenation.com); Bailey Robinson (01488 689700 and www.baileyrobinson.com); Housetrip.com (0203 463 0087 and www.housetrip.com); Real Holidays (0207 359 3938 and www.realholidays.co.uk).
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