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Thinking about a trip to the Final Four? Be ready to pay up

Duke plays North Carolina in the men's NCAA basketball tournament this weekend, and fans are looking for ways to watch in person.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's a history-making match no matter who wins: Duke vs. the University of North Carolina in the Final Four of the men's NCAA basketball tournament.

New Orleans is the host city for the final stop of the tournament, and fans are flocking to get a front-row seat to history.

Here's what to expect if you plan to travel from Charlotte to New Orleans.


Airline tickets are selling quickly and are already expensive. On Monday evening, the best flight out on Friday before the game is well over $1,000 for a direct flight. 

Flying out Thursday isn't much better, with a ticket costing about $920, and it's not a direct flight.

Angela Pope with Dream Vacations in Charlotte said not only are people buying last-minute tickets to a popular destination, but the pandemic has impacted every flight this time of year.

"It's not like the airlines are gearing up just because North Carolina and Duke are in the final floor, unfortunately," Pope said. "But in Charlotte in particular, we were already short, a lot of direct flights."

Pope suggested flying out of another location, such as Atlanta, to get more options and at a cheaper price.


It's about an 11-hour drive from Charlotte to New Orleans. Based on current gas mileage and the average gas mileage of a typical car, it'll cost you around $115 to drive down to New Orleans.


Of course, when you arrive in New Orleans for the game, you'll have to find somewhere to stay. Pope said it's smart to book multiple nights to get a better price and consider staying outside of the downtown area.

"Elmwood and Kenner would be great options to explore," Pope said. "But at the center of the city, you're kind of looking at the Marriott Autograph Collection, which is thousands of dollars a night."

Some hotel rooms in New Orleans this weekend are going between $300 to $600 a night.

Airbnb and Vrbo options are better-priced, but also are going quickly.

Bottom Line

"I would say if you're looking to go to the Final Four, try to get out of town tomorrow, if not the next day because your price is gonna go up," Pope said Monday.

Pope also suggested considering making a multi-day vacation out of the trip, instead of just going for the weekend. That will bring more affordable options.

Before You Leave, Check This Out