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Originally published Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 8:44 PM

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Thinking of a Super Bowl trip? You might want to book now

Are you really serious about your bet that the Seahawks will make it to the Super Bowl? Then pay up and book a hotel and airfare to the New York area — even today. If the Seahawks win Saturday’s playoff game, more fans will be taking the plunge and booking trips for the Feb. 2 game.


Seattle Times travel writer

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Are you really serious about your bet that the Seahawks will make it to the Super Bowl? Then pay up and book a hotel and airfare to the New York area.

Flights from Seattle are going fast; hotel rooms less quickly since the area has so many. But it could be good to book quickly — even Friday. If the Seahawks win Saturday’s playoff game, more fans will be taking the plunge and booking trips for the Feb. 2 game.

Here are some tips and strategies on finding hotel rooms and flights.

Hotels

Manhattan is always expensive, and a hotel room on Super Bowl weekend will average $418 a night, according to a TripAdvisor survey Thursday.

The heart of Manhattan is roughly 16 miles from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey where the game will be played.

Start your hotel comparison shopping, and research neighborhoods, at the official New York tourism website, www.nycgo.com. It also has info on Super Bowl events; places to eat, drink and watch the game; and attractions, including the 14-block Super Bowl Boulevard that will be created in Manhattan.

TripAdvisor.com is another good comparison-shopping source, with useful user reviews of individual hotels.

Ideally, you want rooms that can be canceled. Many hotels have tough cancellation policies for Super Bowl weekend.

Also keep an eye out for hotel sales — now and closer to the game. For example Affinia, a boutique hotel company, is having a flash sale (use promo code JAN3DY, sale ends Friday). As of Thursday afternoon, rooms were available on Feb. 1-2 for about $374 a night (for a refundable room) at the Affinia Manhattan.

Too rich for your budget? Hostelling International’s big New York Hostel, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has vacancies. For $59 a night on the Super Bowl weekend, you’ll get a room in a shared dorm with a bathroom down the hall.

Don’t overlook alternatives such as Airbnb.com, where people offer short-term extra-room rentals in their homes, or CouchSurfing.com for more basic accommodations — i.e. a couch in someone’s living room. Or check Craigslist.com. But always beware of scams (and never wire money in payment; use a credit card as you’ll have protection under credit laws).

Flights

• Southwest Airlines could be your friend. Southwest doesn’t charge for changing or canceling flights. So if the Hawks don’t make it to the Super Bowl and you want to cancel your trip, you won’t be a financial loser.

A drawback: Southwest has no nonstop flights from Seattle to New York airports or Newark, N.J.

• Alaska Airlines has nonstop flights between Seattle and Newark. But they already are sold out on a few days just before the Super Bowl, with just a scattering of cheap tickets ($159 one way) left on Jan. 29 or Feb. 1. The next ticket level up costs more than $600 one way, although at that price it’s fully refundable.

An Alaska drawback: If you buy one of the lower-fare Alaska tickets and don’t go, you’ll have to pay a $125 cancellation/change fee. Other airlines have similar fees.

• You could consider flying to Philadelphia, about an hour from Newark by Amtrak train.

• Shop around: Comparison shop at Expedia.com, kayak.com or other websites. Then book directly on the airline’s website as it makes it easier if you need to cancel/change a flight or run into problems. (But be aware that Southwest’s flights aren’t listed on airfare websites.)

Kristin Jackson: kjackson@seattletimes.com



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