World Cup Lodging Tips

The biggest stressor (according to our own research that is completely biased and involved no surveys) when attending a World Cup is answering the question “Where am I going to stay?!”  

Why? Because the price gouging is OUT OF CONTROL. Want to jump on the fear mongering train, check out these articles:

Couple the prices with the increased scams and the uncertainty of finding a real, clean, affordable place to stay that’s near the action and convenient to games and it is enough to stop many people from continuing their dreams to attend a tournament.  Over the last 4 tournaments, we’ve learned some tricks and trades and as we look for ideas, we’ll post our knowledge for Qatar 2022.

You’re a road warrior and have <insert snooty status> and you want to use your points to stay for free during the World Cup? HA! Nope.

– The world cup guide staff –

Standard Resources

  • MATCH Hospitality
    • This is FIFA’s official platform for reservations.  
    • Pro: This rids all concerns above except…
    • Con: Price – my goodness, these options are expensive
    • Hopefully they’ve cleaned up their act after the 2014 Brazil Scandal
  • Booking.com
    • This isn’t unoriginal but for Russia 2018, this was one of the best ways to make an online reservation without emailing a copy of your government ID + credit card (disclosure: we did this…and thank the heavens it worked out!)
  • Airbnb
    • In Brazil 2014, this was VERY popular, but also prone to massive scams.  
    • Will Qatar have options? In March 2020, there were a few hundred places available in Doha
  • Brand Name Hotels (e.g. Hilton, Marriott, etc)
    • You’ll have to likely book with MATCH or some other vendors that sell official packages…and that’ll cost a pretty penny.
    • You’re a frequent traveler and are the highest membership level and you want to you use points?  HA! No.  
  • Tripadvisor
    • This site is probably your #1 go-to for verifying claims and ratings already, but that’s because there’s nothing better.
  • Roadtrips
    • Another great vendor that offers luxury accommodations
  • Strangers / Personal Connections
    • One of the best experiences of the World Cup is the human connections and kindness of strangers or those you don’t really know all that well. We have used this MANY times.
    • After visiting Russia, we met people we grew to trust who knew about rooms for $10 a night
    • For example, we’ve stayed:
      • on the apartment floor of former college teammates in downtown Munich
      • at a room of an internet blogger we met in Rio
      • at a hotel in a town under 3,000 people to visit a loose family connection knew

FIFA’s Official Hotels

FIFA publishes a list of “official” hotels and then charges an exorbitant amount to do so. I’ve seen prices 5 to 10 times higher than the rest of the market and often, these hotels are NOT 5 to 10 times nicer or more convenient. 

HOWEVER – the massive pro here is peace of mind…which can be invaluable at times.

My Approach 

I recommend looking at bed & breakfasts, Airbnb, hotels, etc on your own. The key is to ensure the location you’re evaluating exists with verifiable reviews. (Moment of honesty – I have booked non-verified places and am still alive!).

I scour all sorts of sites for standard information as well as try to uncover the intel that only exists for a local.  I personally prefer small hotels or B&Bs but as long as my lodging is in a safe location, clean and I can get around via public transportation, I’m ok.  My budget is typically $100 USD/night and I’ve spent less than that and 3x more than that depending on the city, inventory, lodging details, etc.  I lock in my hotel as soon as I can if I found a place that’s suitable which is between 3 to 6 months from the opening match.

Personal Anectdote 

South Africa 2010, the FIFA ‘official’ hotels listed a standard “Holiday Inn” at $400 per night and the location of the hotel was awful and didn’t include meals. With a little research, I found many amazing Bed & Breakfasts for under $100 that were within walking distance of the main city action and/or stadium, included breakfast and provided a more personal experience with the owners and other fans. FIFA was close to scaring me into staying at their ‘official’ hotel but I am very glad I steered clear. 

Outside the Box

Well, we can’t provide all of our tips and tricks because we still need a place of our own and don’t want to compete.  That said, as we learn new information, we’ll post. Keep checking back for our latest articles and search (top right) by tag or category as well.

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