Here's how to get the most bang for your buck.

levis stadium
Credit: Alamy

This Sunday, four teams will fight for their spot in Super Bowl 50. For the lucky fans who find themselves celebrating at the end of the day, listen up! Many of you will decide to join your team in California, and quickly rush to secure flights, tickets, and hotel rooms. But smart travelers will have already booked their trip before the conference champions are crowned. It sounds odd, but the gamble could end up saving you tons of money. Here’s how to do it.

Book Your Flight Now

It may seem obvious that airfare to the Bay Area will increase the closer we get to Super Bowl Sunday, but how much of a difference are we talking about? According to Hipmunk data, last year’s Super Bowl, which featured the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, saw flight prices to the host city increase more than 230 percent in the week leading to the game. To give you an idea of what that would look like this year, here is the average airfare from each of the remaining team’s respective cities to the Bay Area’s major airports increased by 230 percent.

  • Patriots (BOS) $421 $1,053
  • Broncos (DEN) $256 $640
  • Cardinals (PHX) $194 $485
  • Panthers (CLT) $511 $1,278

Pretty significant, right? It’s also important to note that flights to San Francisco and San Jose are going to cost a bit more. Instead, fly into Oakland, which tends to be about 15 percent cheaper and less crowded.

Stay Outside of Santa Clara

Unfortunately, the date of the big game has been known for quite some time, and hotel rates reflect that. In Santa Clara and San Jose, rates during the weekend of February 7 are 317 percent more than average. Surprisingly, however, hotel rates in San Francisco have not increased quite as significantly. While rooms there are still much more expensive during the days surrounding the game, you’ll end up paying around $400 per night compared to $600 near the stadium.

Skip the Game

At the time of publication, the lowest price we found for a ticket to the game on the secondary market was about $3200. Not to mention, the teams competing haven’t even been decided yet! That’s more than a month’s rent in NYC. So, you’ll have to ask yourself if being in the stadium is really worth it. If you decide that it isn’t, don’t let that deter you from making a trip out west. From the fan village to interactive theme parks, there are tons of events and activities throughout the Bay Area that are convenient, free, and loaded with Super Bowl fun.