What Does It Cost to Go to the 2012 Olympics?

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Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to go to the Olympics? I did. So I researched how much it would cost a family of four to go to the Olympics in London this summer from my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

2012 London Olympic Rings

Credit Image: Watt_Dabney on Flickr

As this is a purely academic peek, I should point out I didn't do a ton of research. I'm sure there are all sorts of tricks and discount codes to go on the cheap as well as fabulously luxe options for the landed gentry. I basically went for "cheapest without risking your life" options on all counts.

Cost to Go to the Olympics By Category

Travel prices sourced at Kayak.com

Cheapest airfare Kansas City to London, leaving July 27 and returning August 13, as of May 24, 2012 = $4,110 for four people

Reasonable Hotel -- 3 stars, Holiday Inn in London, one double bed with a fold-out couch (sorry kids) = $5,777

Tickets -- the system for ticket lottery is so complicated it made my eyes cross. It doesn't look like it would be possible to get tickets to every event, so let's pretend just for yucks you wanted to go to one session of some of the popular events: opening & closing ceremonies, swimming, tennis, volleyball, basketball, diving and biking. To even get your hands on a ticket, you have to go to the official Olympics 2012 website, which is totally clunky and hard to use, then search by your country for an authorized reseller. Then you have to create an account to even browse. The prices below are the lowest in U.S. dollars for one session of each event named above -- most of the events happen over several days and these prices don't include the medal ceremonies.

  • Opening ceremonies: Lowest price $327 x 4 = $1,308

  • Swimming: Lowest price $44 x 4 = $176

  • Tennis: Lowest price $65 (singles) x 4 = $260

  • Volleyball: Lowest price $44 x 4 = $176

  • Basketball: Lowest price $44 x 4 = $176

  • Diving: Lowest price $44 x 4 = $176

  • Biking: Lowest price $44 x 4 = $176

  • Closing ceremonies: Lowest price $327 x 4 = $1,308

Food: Let's pretend you could get by with $40/meal x two meals a day (we'll pretend you eat granola for breakfast and are able to eat for $10/each per meal, which I'm guessing would be sort of hard, but again with the estimating). $80/day x 17 days = $1,360

Transportation: This is where I REALLY had to guess, having never visited London and knowing nothing of its geography. Still, based on the official Olympics website, it appears public transportation passes can be had for somewhere around $25/day x 4 people x 17 days = $1,700.

So, the grand total for this trip (that is totally on the cheap) is $16,703.

Other Things You Can Buy for $16 Large

Do wish you could go to the Olympics?

Rita Arens authors Surrender, Dorothy and is the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep is for the Weak. She is the senior editor for BlogHer.com.

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