Official Dublin Tour Outprices Most Students
As the news became official yesterday that Penn State was heading to Ireland to kick off the 2014 season, many students had already started plotting the best way to proposition their parents for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to watch the Nittany Lions in Dublin at historic Croke Park.
It’s the first time Penn State football will play an international game and the only time the team will get a “bowl experience” for the next three years. Naturally, fans are making it a priority to save up enough cash to make the jump over the pond and cheer on the Nittany Lions against Central Florida.
Penn State is offering a number of “special” travel packages through the Alumni Association and Anthony Travel. But don’t be bamboozled! As some students noted on Twitter, the prices for the Official Penn State Tour are exorbitantly high and you should not pay them. There are much cheaper options that you can book yourself with little hassle. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Penn State packages don’t include airfare, which is, well, necessary in this case.
Let’s just take a look at the most basic package. Here’s what Penn State is offering for $1,879 for a single traveler:
- 3 nights in a 4-star hotel
- Daily Irish breakfast
- “Priority” seating
- Party at the Guinness Storehouse
- Dublin Hop-on, Hop-off Tour ticket
- Gameday transportation
- A “souvenir”
- Someone to tell you where to go/make sure you don’t mess anything up
Here’s what I came up with in five minutes on my couch:
- 3 nights in a 4-star hotel: $318 (hotels.com)
- A few potatoes and a glass of orange juice: $3 (but seriously, we’ll value the three breakfasts at $15 each for argument’s sake)
- Lower level ticket: 40 Euros or $52 (Ticketmaster)
- Case of Guinness Pub Draught: $32 (Shopper’s Vineyard)
- …and a nice pint glass to go with it: $8 (World Soccer Shop)
- Ahh, hell, you can go to the Guinness Storehouse, too: $21 (Guiness-Storehouse.com)
- Dublin Hop-on, Hop-off Tour ticket: 16 Euros or $20 (Dublin Sightseeing)
- Taxi to and from 4-star hotel: 18 Euros or $24 (Taxi Fare Finder)
- A cardboard Joe Paterno (the souvenir of all souvenirs): $49.95 (eBay)
Using my similar amenities, the total cost comes out to $569.95, or $1,309.05 cheaper than Penn State wants you to pay. And if you give up the case of Guinness and replace it with Natty, or take the cardboard Joe and replace it with a Penn State shot glass, you can save even more.
It’s still too early to book flights, but roundtrip airfare nonstop from Newark reserved 11 months in advance comes in at $879 on Hotwire. Prices range from $900-1,000 from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
So, if you book your trip well in advance, you’ll be able to buy airfare and still have hundeds of dollars left over compared to the official Penn State packages. While the convenience of a travel agency is nice, it’s certainly not worth the incredible amount of money you will save by rolling up your sleeves and clicking a few buttons.
If you book early enough, it’s quite possible you’ll be able to root on Penn State to victory in Ireland for under $1,500 — still cheaper than the airfare-less “Official Penn State package.”