Yes, the next summer is an Olympic one!
Maybe you follow Twitter-like accounts that have something to do with the Olympic Games in Tokyo2020. The tweets range from infectious enthusiasm to complete panic. This is not strange. Preparing for a trip to the Olympic Games is one with highs and (many) lows! You can undoubtedly have a say about that. But, just as with the preparation of athletes, it is about following two basic rules; Rule nr 1) keep focusing on the goal – see the Games! And rule nr 2) keep believing in it and continue!
This blog gives a short update about the / my preparation for Tokyo and helps you again with concrete advice.
News update Tokyo2020
During my preparations for London’12 I became a “Twitter follower” (via my account @ssalut, you can see who I am following). It helped me with a lot of practical information at the time. In a later phase it also helped in the Tickethunting (more about that in more detail). You read about the preparations for the Games themselves, the construction of the stadiums, the athletes who prepare and you read stories from other fans. In addition to the tips I pick up, I also get a lot of positive vibes.
We have also past the “One Year to Go” moment! The countdown has really begun. That is why various so-called “test events” have been organized in recent months. These are general rehearsals in which both the sports facilities and the organization of the events are tested. As expected, with Japanese precision. The construction of the stadiums is ahead of the fastest schedule. And the events are well organized. However, the heat at some events (such as the Triathlon) was a negative element. Tokyo2020 will probably be the hottest Games ever and both athletes and supporters will have to take this into account. I will write more about this later in a separate blog.
Another hot item is the qualification for Tokyo202. Particularly for the team sports, many tickets are handed out to countries already. The Dutch hockey women with their European title are assured of Tokyo. Just like the football ladies earlier this summer. Others, like water polo teams & the volleyball teams still must qualify via so-called OKTs (Olympic qualification tournament). These OKTs usually take place between January and May 2020.
The third hot item is be a common thread in the coming months; Tickets, Flights & Hotels. A lot of twitter anxiety is about the extremely high prices. An article that went viral mentioned that you can ‘easily’ go to Tokyo. If you have 60,000 dollars to spend (a package holiday for Japanese people). Well, if that doesn’t scare you off? I stick with it; it is possible for less, much less 😊.
Preparations – Update flight
So, I mentioned that we have passed the point of “1 year to go”. That is a beautiful symbolic moment, but it is also a very concrete moment. Booking your flight is possible. In general, you could say that it is advantageous to book either early or very late. I am usually for the second solution but for the Games I take less risks.
For the past few weeks, therefore, I was busy as an addict on various airplane ticket sites; skyscanner, Kayak, googleflights etc. The prices vary enormously and mainly depend on the length of the person. flight and # change. If you are flexible when it comes to location of departure, that also helps in your search for a cheap flight. I searched for Amsterdam, Brussels, Düsseldorf and even Paris & London. Flight prices fluctuate as if you are already on the plane with turbulence. And that’s how my heart goes. Waiting is difficult 😊. I have already booked. From Düsseldorf with 1 stop both way and back. For a total of 950 euros. That is less than I expected (for Rio’16 I lost 1100 euros and for Beijing’08 even 1500 euros). In short; not bad. I thought. I saw somewhat later cheaper and direct flights. Well. It is just like in real life; sometimes you just must be (very) satisfied with what you do have! And that is the flight to the Games for me!
Advice; book now if you want certainty. Waiting can always pay, but that will not result in more than a maximum 300-euro difference (all flights from around my home country The Netherlands). Another tip; I have subscribed (around 40 euros / year for a premium membership) to Jacks Flightclub. Many inexpensive flights that you then receive by email. Especially useful if you fly regularly.
Preparations – Update hotel
For hotels, too, the same truth applies; either to book early or very late. Fortunately, I myself do not have this problem since I can spend the night at the place of Japanese friends. Really very happy with it. But there are a few things to mention. If I now look for a hotel for my 12 nights via booking.com, the cheapest “offer” is 3000 euros. Almost 300 euros per night. Pff. That is 3x as much as I paid in Rio and Beijing. In short; very high prices. Now the prices for Rio’16 a year before the Games were also high. Often many hotel rooms (and B & B) are released in the run-up to the Opening because they have not yet been purchased. My experience read my blog “Olympic nights”, is that there will definitely be opportunities. If you do not want to take that risk, you could decide to book now.
Advice: Try to book something with flexible cancellation. Then at least you have something, and you can keep looking for something better / cheaper. Continue to search for alternatives to hotels; Airbnb and similar sites where individuals rent out their home / room.
Preparations – Update Tickets
In addition to the high hotel prices, there is also an Olympic trending item on Twitter; Ticket hunting. It is already clear that Tokyo2020 is/will be the most sought-after sports event of all time. Experienced ATRs (the organizations that sell tickets in countries outside of Japan) mention record requests. Even up to 30x higher than for London’12, which was seen always as the benchmark. I do not know if that is true or if these are arguments to direct supporters mainly to their expensive all-inclusive packages. I think that Tokyo2020 indeed has a very high demand, but I think mainly from Japan (7.5 million applications!) And Asia & Australia. I do wonder if record numbers of supporters will travel from Europe. That is why I expect that there will still be many opportunities for Europeans when it comes to ticket sales.
There are roughly several phases in ticket sales (for every Games I visited from 2004 onwards):
1-Sale Tickets (exclusive) to people from organizing country. Via IOC central organization. May’19-Mar’20
2-Sale Tickets to people from other countries via the so-called ATRs (see list). June 19 and even during Games.
The strategy of these ATRs is unfortunately often to sell as many expensive packages as possible. Because the amount of tickets in individual sales is limited, many people have yet ended up with nothing or just a few tickets. But what happens then is that they then choose to either drop out or choose an expensive package holiday. Understand me well; as far as I’m concerned you can certainly purchase such an all-inclusive trip. Certainly, if you do not want stress and want to have everything organized. Fine. But if you have a more limited budget you will still have to (and can!) purchase tickets through individual ticket sales. Just read on …
3-More individual sales. Now until the Games
I know from (my) previous Games (Beijing’08, London’12, Sochi’14, Rio’16) that more tickets will go on sale as the Games get closer (especially from Q1 2020). For example, the packages that were not sold, but also additional tickets that will be released from the central Tokyo2020 organization. Tickets are also coming back from regions where sales were disappointing. These individual tickets are then released in a kind of incidental “market squares”, mainly via the ATRs but in the case of Rio also via the central IOC organization. In short; there are still many opportunities to buy tickets for Tokyo2020. What you need is the Tickettracker, see below. Crucial!
I have already managed to score tickets for 11 events, mostly via the tracker. I will certainly find the remaining 5 that I am still looking for!
Advice: Subscribe to the Tickettracker; read all about it via the specific Tickettracker blog.
The tracker is a piece of software that tracks changes on the sales sites of the ATRs and sends an email to the registered members at exactly those moments! Timing is everything in Tickethunting! Costs are only (once) 15 euros.
So, this ends up your Olympic dose of Tokyo2020. The upcoming blogs will contain stories from people who know Japan & Tokyo well and their tips will help us further. I will also give you updates again about the ticket tuning; the hunting season will continue! 😉