Now we know the England team are going to be there in 2014, Emily Dicicco presents her top travel tips
1. Tickets – how and when shall I book?
Tickets are available on FIFA.com and will be sold in three phases. The first two phases consist of both a random draw period and a first-come-first-served (FCFS) period. The first draw period closed on 10 October. Ticket sales will re-open on 5 November on a FCFS basis. If you miss out again, the second phase begins on 8 December (random draw) and lasts through 1 April FCFS. For last minute tickets, the final phase opens on 15 April, FCFS. To purchase tickets, you must have an account with FIFA.com. You can apply for a maximum of seven matches per household as long as they are not on the same day. Note: you cannot choose specific seats.
2. How likely is it that I will get tickets? Costs?
During the first random draw period, a total of 6,164,682 requests were made, with about 70 per cent of those requests from Brazil. Almost 10,000 requests were made from within England. For the entire series, they are only 3.3m tickets available. That’s almost three times more than the total amount of tickets available. Don’t let the numbers dissuade you – because of the South American location and high cost of Brazilian cities, fewer Europeans are thought to travel than normal, meaning tickets may be less difficult to come by. Ticket prices vary greatly depending on how you want to book. You can select tickets by team or by stadium. You can also purchase tickets for individual matches, which range from £90 for the high seating at a typical game to £900 for one of the best seats for the final.
3. When will we know who and where England is playing?
England fans will have to wait until 6 December to find out what teams Roy Hodgson’s boys will be playing and in what stadiums they will be playing in. The draw will take place in Costa do Sauipe in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Despite making the massive leap from 17th to 10th, England was placed in Pot 2, just missing out on Pot 1. The eight seeds for the Cup are set; the top seven teams, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay, and Switzerland, will join Brazil in Pot 1. The only change that could still take place is the Netherlands (almost tied at number 8 with Italy but just barely leading) can steal Uruguay’s spot if the South American team were to lose in their intercontinental playoff against Jordan.
In all, 20 teams have qualified for the World Cup in addition to hosts Brazil: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Germany, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.
4. Getting to Brazil
England fans won’t know which stadiums their team will be playing in until December so booking a flight will be a bit tricky. However, waiting until December to book a flight almost guarantees paying more. The price of flights from London to Brazil can range from £100 to £2,000, depending on the city. Thomson Sport is offering a package which guarantees travel accommodation to the first three games for £7,000. The package provides flights from the UK to Brazil, 13 day hotel stay and all domestic flights to game cities. However, if you’re interested in catching the opening ceremony in São Paul, a plane ticket alone could leave you £2,000 out of pocket.
5. Brazil’s a big country – where shall I go to see the most action?
At 3.3m square miles, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, nearly 60 times the size of England. The opening ceremony will be held at the New Corinthians Stadium in São Paulo. Other host cities Curitiba, Rio (which has the largest football stadium in Brazil), and Porto Alegre, all complete with new or upgraded stadiums, are also located in the southern end of the country. However, don’t be fooled by their apparent proximity on a map – Curitiba is almost 850km away from Rio.
6. Where should you go if you want to catch England?
If you’re set on watching England progress through the World Cup, you can purchase “follow my team” tickets which are valid for three to seven matches. However, who and where they are playing will not be determined until December, which makes booking hotel and travel accommodations difficult. Best case scenario: England is selected to be in Group G, which includes Salvador, Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, all of which are relatively close to one another in the north east. However, if England is placed into Group E, which includes cities scattered from Salvador to Rio, getting to each of the games will be more difficult.
7. Is it possible to move around when you’re there?
If so, how? Distance is going to the most difficult factor for fans hoping to travel with their teams. The cost of domestic flights in Brazil, usually affordable at around £160 for a one-way trip from Rio to Salvador, will rise during the tournament. TAM airlines offers an Airpass (available to purchase in any city in Brazil) and provides discounted rates for additional air travel within the country. However, it is not yet known whether this will still be offered during the Cup. Brazil’s domestic bus system is an inexpensive option. Keep in mind if England were to land in Group A, the total journey between host cities would cover thousands of kilometres, which means whole days travelling from each location.
8. Accommodation – where are best places to stay? Does anywhere offer a world cup package?
Brazil is opening 109 new hotels, resorts and hostels in the 12 host cities for the matches. The cost of a hotel in Rio, already one the most expensive in the world (higher than New York or Paris at an average of £161 a night,) is sure to skyrocket during the Cup. Sports ticket and hospitality provider Global Event Forum is offering a variety of package accommodations, including team as well as city-specific deals. For example, the Rio de Janeiro World Cup Package includes hotel stay, breakfast and tours. The price ranges from $2,000 (£1,235) to $6,000, depending on the length of your stay.
9. Where will England be based?
The team’s original plan was to stay in the Windsor Atlantica on Copacabana beach. After it was discovered that there was a huge fanzone planned just outside the hotel, they moved to the five-star Royal Tulip Hotel in Rio de Janeiro. The lavish accommodation includes 418 rooms spread across 17 floors, with views of Sao Conrado Beach or Gavea Stone. Hodgson and the team will head to Miami in May for an eight-day training camp. During the training period, Hodgson is set to select his final 23-man squad for the tournament. Under FIFA rules, the team must be in Brazil by 7 June.
10. England have crashed out at the group stage... What shall I do now?
Believe it or not, aside from football, they are lots of reasons to travel to Brazil, especially for nature lovers. The unmissable attraction is the Christ the Redeemer statue, which sits on top of Corcovado Mountain, overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
Even for the non-religious, the statue is a sight to behold, making the list of the Seven New Wonders of the World in 2007. Brazil’s other major claim to fame is the Amazon River. You can catch a boat ride from Manaus, a colonial city, deep into the heart of the jungle. Additionally, Brazil is known for its mountains and beaches. Sugar Loaf Mountain, in Rio, is probably the the most famous. Located opposite Rio in southwest Brazil but worth the trip, Iguazu Falls is also an unforgettable site. Apart from nature, the futuristic-style architecture in Braslia and the historic city of Olinda are also well worth a visit.