The good news is that it's not too late to plan a trip to this year's soccer World Cup in South Africa. The bad news? The experience won't come cheap. Here's a quick guide to where things stand on the travel-planning front if you haven't already booked your tickets for the big quadrennial soccer fiesta. We'll be posting updates here on the Away.com Travel Blog as we receive them in the run-up to the World Cup's kickoff in June. (The tournament is scheduled to run from June 11 to July 11 in nine host cities throughout South Africa.)
Tickets to individual games are currently being sold through the tournament organizer, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Now in the fourth and final phase of worldwide public ticketing, you can apply for tickets to individual games (up to seven choices available) or a bundle of team-specific tickets. Tickets are allocated based on availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application window for the fourth phase closes on April 7, after which the remaining tickets will only be made available through FIFA's official in-country kiosks. Given the late date, tickets to see the tournament's more popular teams and more competitive group-stage games, as well as games during the final knockout phases, are all sold out. However, there are still tickets available to watch matches in the qualifying stages that will be once-in-a-lifetime experiences nonetheless. Your other option for following the team of your choice or to attend the later-stage games is to buy an all-inclusive vacation package that will include tickets along with accommodation and travel. If you're a U.S. soccer fan, you can purchase tickets for group-stage games involving the United States national team via the U.S. Soccer Federation's website.
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December 18, 2009
With some reports indicating that there may be a shortage of accommodation for fans attending the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, entrepreneurial websites like iStopOver.com are getting into the mix by offering non-traditional listings from locals who own apartments and houses in and around the World Cup venues. iStopOver.com’s World Cup site, which launched at the beginning of October, currently has over 800 listings submitted directly by local property owners. Fans can browse photos and other amenities, plus contact the owner directly with more questions. iStopOver.com takes a small cut on the final booking fee, which is not due until you complete your stay. On booking, payment goes directly to iStopOver.com via secure third-party, and is then held for release to the owner until after the stay is complete. Like other vacation-rental sites and community-oriented sites like CouchSurfing.org, there is an element of uncertainty to actual levels of comfort, cleanliness, and convenience, but iStopOver.com’s role as facilitator between guest and host means you assume more direct control over the trip-planning process. Beyond the World Cup, look for these types of sites to keep growing as more and more small businesses and individuals cut into a space normally dominated by the large hotel aggregators and portals.
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