A tradition that stretches back nearly 2,800 years and one that in its modern form has existed since 1896, the Olympic games represent some of humanity’s most dearly held ideals: meritocracy, historical continuity, transnational solidarity, peace. Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors evaluate the smartest strategies for securing tickets to the next Olympic games and revisit past Olympic host cities for great deals and travel opportunities.
The first Olympic games took place in 776 B.C.E. on the plains of Greece’s Peloponnesus. After nearly 12 centuries of games, the Christian emperor of Rome, Theodosius, banned the worship of pagan cults—including the Olympics—in 393 C.E. It would be another 15 centuries before Greek philanthropist Evangelos Zappas revived them in 1896.
When looking to arrange Olympics travel—regardless of whether they are the winter games or summer games—it is imperative to book as early as possible. For the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, over 1.2 million Brazilians signed up for the first round ticket lottery within its first week alone. About 7.5 million tickets were available overall, distributed via two lotteries and then general sale, of which 70 percent were reserved for Brazilians. For residents of other countries, the remaining 30 present were divided up and sold by a single, nationally approved ticketing agency in the United States. Check what the ticket policies are at the next Olympic games far in advance and, if possible, sign up for the approved ticketing agency’s email alert system.
If you can’t make it to the next Olympic games, return to one of its former host cities. In recent winter Olympics locations—places such as Salt Lake City, Lake Placid, and Sapporo, Japan—visitors can ski the same world-class slopes as well as explore vibrant downtowns. In former summer Olympics locations, civic infrastructure, monuments, and public transportation often benefited from Olympic investment. Barcelona, Mexico City, Athens, and Sydney are prime examples.
Whether you are looking to score tickets to the next Olympic games or to revisit a former Olympic host city, T+L has you covered. Check in again for the latest news, information, and tips.