How Much Would You Have to Budget to Go to the World Cup in 2018?

Thomas Müller

He’s a World Cup winner. No repeat in 2018!

Are you looking forward to 2022’s World Cup (when, hopefully, Team USA will again be a participant!) and want to budget for it? Check out my analysis of how much it would cost to go to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We’ve prepared the best we can. We’re ready for it. It’s not about talking. It’s about getting out there and showing by our actions.”
–Clint Dempsey

I’ve been a soccer fan all of my life. My wife and I went to the World Cup in 2010. We didn’t go in 2014; instead, I spent nearly every day at the local bar watching games. We don’t have cable, and I had to watch somewhere. Oh, the joys of being an entrepreneur…

I suspect that 2018 will see me in some bar somewhere watching the World Cup as well. Russia isn’t high on the travel bucket list, but for many fans, particularly devout American Outlaws, the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be on the bucket list.

If you’re one of those who wants to take the trip there to watch the 2018 World Cup, you might be wondering what it would take to get yourself over there for a couple of weeks.

There are two ways of accomplishing the trip. The first is to go with a tour package and let them handle everything for you. This will give you at least a baseline for comparison with a do it yourself option.

I’m going to assume a 13 night stay with a game in Moscow, then a game in St. Petersburg, and, finally, a game in Kazan and staying in 4 star accommodations. Since the schedules don’t come out until December, 2017, this may not be realistic, but it should at least give us enough information to come up with a reasonable budget. I tried to book the geographically most distant (aside from Katerinburg) travel to mimic the U.S.’s horrible travel schedule in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Since flights aren’t yet available that far out, I’m going to assume flying out of DFW on a Friday and back on a Thursday more than six months out with a total one-way travel time of less than 24 hours to get a reasonable estimate of pricing.

I’m also going to assume a 50% increase off of current published hotel prices, since there will be a tourist markup. We saw it in South Africa; I see no reason not to expect the same in Russia.

Ticket prices, as of the time of writing this article, have not been released. I will assume a $197.65 price (I’ll explain my pricing methodology below).

Given that, as of the time of me writing this article, we’re still four years out from the 2018 World Cup, I’m going to assume that prices will increase 10% per year over the next four years from whatever prices I find now. This will help account for spikes due to the event itself as well as potential currency fluctuations between the Russian ruble and the U.S. dollar. If you wind up saving too much, then you can always invest the difference!

First, let’s look at a group package. The American Outlaws had a package in 2014 that would have cost $5,400.

The package did include a flight to Brazil, but it did not include lunch or dinner. It did include:

  • Travel
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Hotel
  • Airport Transfers
  • Chartered Air between Host Cities
  • On-site & Brazilian Support Staff
  • Ground Match Transfers
  • Pre-Game Parties (woo hoo!)

Given that 2 meals a day are not included, I’ll assume that you’re eating one meal in an inexpensive restaurant and one meal in a mid-range restaurant.

I also assumed that there would be no charter flight to Moscow. They will probably have a charter flight, but better safe than sorry.

Therefore, going from DFW to Russia in a package should cost roughly $10,500. Given that there are 48 months until the big event, you’ll need to set aside about $219 per month between now and July 2018 to pay cash for a package World Cup adventure.

Number Current Cost per Total (After Inflation) Source
Round trip flight from DFW – SVO 1 $882.00 $1,291.34 Source
Travel package 1 $5,400.00 $7,906.14 Source
Lunch in Moscow 2 14.54 $42.58 Source
Dinner in Moscow 2 68.32 $200.05 Source
Lunch in St. Petersburg 4 10.17 $59.56 Source
Dinner in St. Petersburg 4 43.61 $255.40 Source
Lunch in Kazan 4 11.63 $68.11 Source
Dinner in Kazan 4 43.61 $255.40 Source
Souvenir spending 1 $300.00 $439.23  
    Total $10,517.80  
    Per month to save $219.12

What if you did the trip without a package? Would it cost you more or less?

According to my calculations and the estimates I made, a do-it-yourself trip would cost about $9,322, meaning you’d need to save up $194 per month.

Number Current Cost per Total (After Inflation) Source
Round trip flight from DFW – SVO – LED – KZN – DFW 1 $2,253.00 $3,298.62 Source
World Cup tickets 3 $135.00 $592.96  
Breakfast in Moscow 2 $14.54 $42.58 Source
Lunch in Moscow 2 $14.54 $42.58 Source
Dinner in Moscow 2 $68.32 $200.05 Source
Hotel in Moscow 2 $135.00 $592.96 Source
Breakfast in St. Petersburg 4 $10.17 $59.56 Source
Lunch in St. Petersburg 4 $10.17 $59.56 Source
Dinner in St. Petersburg 4 $43.61 $255.40 Source
Hotel in St. Petersburg 4 $180.00 $1,581.23 Source
Breakfast in Kazan 4 $11.63 $68.11 Source
Lunch in Kazan 4 $11.63 $68.11 Source
Dinner in Kazan 4 $43.61 $255.40 Source
Hotel in Kazan 4 $101.00 $887.24 Source
Taxis, airport transport 6 $100.00 $878.46  
Souvenir spending 1 $300.00 $439.23  
    Total $9,322.04  
    Per month to save $194.21

Naturally, your results may vary, and it’s wise to budget an extra thousand dollars for either trip just in case you want to upgrade games or go out on the town or do sightseeing, but based on my travel experiences, these seem like reasonable per person expenses. If you travel with someone else and you’re in DIY mode, you could always split a room, reducing those costs (my estimate is approximately $750 per person).

Are you thinking about going to the World Cup in Russia? How much are you budgeting to spend?

Comments

  1. Thankfully Putin said visas would be waived over that period, otherwise you can easily add $200 in visa fees and applications.
    It is not much of an effort to set aside the money for any big ticket item you really want, as your calculations show, for under $200 a month, you can make it to the World Cup!

    • I remember the visa fee from our trip to Chile. What a pain. I’m glad he’s waving the visa requirements for the tournament.

      Yes, you can definitely apply the same logic to any big ticket item; it’s just a matter of choosing your priorities and then making it happen!

      I figure for you in Guatemala, the only difference would be the cost of travel, and it’s probably not that much of a difference.

  2. We are planning on going to the World Cup in Russia in four years, and were just talking about it yesterday after the final. So, great timing! It’s much more expensive that I thought it would be though. I am hoping to at least get the flights and some of the hotel nights covered with points. (Though per your podcast comment, maybe that’s a net loss to play the rewards game).

    • That’s awesome that you’re going! You’ll have a ton of fun! Are you going independently or will you try to go on the travel package with the American Outlaws?

      Yeah, it’s not cheap, but it seems like $200 a month is a much more palatable number. I realize a lot of it is supply and demand. Merchants know that soccer fans are going to descend in droves upon them, so they raise the prices to account for the increased demand. I read somewhere this morning that tickets for the final game yesterday were being scalped for $2,500 a piece. That’s like Super Bowl scalping prices!

      If you were already spending the money (e.g., the electricity bill), then the rewards game is fine!

  3. You giggled the whole time you were writing this article, weren’t you? You were just planning your own holiday and using your findings as a blog post. Multi-tasking genius!

    • Plus, research and write up of the trip is a tax write off, no?

      Eventually, MLS, CONCACAF, or FIFA will recognize my genius and ask me to help them.

  4. After reading this, I don’t think I will ever be to the World Cup 2018. It just cost too much. Maybe the next World Cup, or the World Cup after that. 🙂

  5. While I don’t have a huge desire to go World Cup, especially since it’s in Russia (blah), I would like to go to the summer Olympics at some point. I also want to do a 3-week vacation in New Zealand. Both the Olympics and NZ would be vacations that would probably cost about $10k. It’s nice to see that I don’t have to sacrifice too much to save for either of those trips, I just have to plan a little in advance. =)

  6. Me and a few friends are planning on going in 2018! (We’ll see if we all keep our promises 4 years from now) but for now all we can really do is save, save, save $$$$

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