Is it too late to book a trip to enjoy the London 2012 Olympic Games? Not if you have the time and money to spend.
Ask the Expert: There's still time to book an Olympic holiday
I'm going to be in London for the Olympic Games but I've yet to sort out any tickets or book accommodation. Have I left it all too late?
There are still some tickets left for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, which open on July 27 and run until September 9, but you have to be willing to spend time searching out what's available and need money to spend on what is already an expensive holiday destination.
If you have a credit card registered to an address in the UK or EU, you can buy a short break through the tour operator Thomas Cook (www.thomascooklondon2012.com) that includes tickets for a range of different Olympic sports at different venues plus accommodation at different price points. Among the cheapest is £99 (Dh579) per person for a one-night stay at the Ibis London Heathrow with tickets to a preliminary round of the women's volleyball competition. One of the most expensive is a three-night stay at the Waldorf Hilton near Covent Garden in the West End, with tickets to the closing ceremony and the men's hockey and volleyball finals for £5,899 (Dh34,522) per person.
MMI Travel has been appointed to sell Olympic Games travel packages (including economy airfare, hotel accommodation, event tickets, transfers and insurance) in the UAE and it reports some availability for athletic and equestrian events. Sample prices include a three-night Olympic equestrian package (August 6 to 9) from Dh12,593 per person.
If you decide not to join the scramble for tickets and simply go to soak up the atmosphere, flights are more expensive than usual. For example, Etihad Airways (www.etihad.com) has just released early summer flights to the UK capital for travel from April 10 to May 31 for Dh3,330 but a return economy fare for the period of July to early September is Dh4,370. The Dubai-based Emirates (www.emirates.com) is no cheaper at Dh4,890 for an economy return, just over Dh1,000 more than if you flew next week. Flying indirectly via Doha with Qatar Airways (www.qatarairways.com) is more affordable at Dh2,960 return, but less convenient.
Once you do land there are a plethora of rooms still available but why not base yourself in East London, one of the UK capital's trendiest neighbourhoods near the Olympic Park? The smart Town Hall Hotel (www.townhall.com) in Bethnal Green has double rooms from £420 (Dh2,457) per night, including breakfast and taxes, for a minimum five-night stay. Just down the road, a double room at the comfortable but more basic RE Hotel (www.hotelshoreditch.com) costs a reasonable £119 (Dh696) per night, including taxes. Whatever you decide to do, it's worth visiting www.London2012.com to get the most up-to-date information.
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