A football lover’s biggest dream is to watch a FIFA World Cup match live from the stadium. However, one of the major things that hold us back is the financial constraints. You must be thinking that it costs a hell lot of money and only millionaires can afford to watch FIFA WC from the gallery.
Take it from me… it is possible for regular middle-class people like us to fulfill this dream.
We recently visited Russia to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018. We watched 4 matches. Two of them were group matches, one pre-quarterfinal and one quarter-final. We were two of us, we met at Delhi and started our journey from there onwards. So whatever information we will provide you in this article is from our experience in Russia.
So, let’s cut the chase. The total cost (all inclusive) of our trip (Delhi to Delhi) is ₹ 1,05,847.00 per person. Yes, that’s it, guys. Not a penny more. This included match tickets, accommodations, flight tickets, local transport, food, and visa. If you live in a different city than Delhi, just add your transport cost to this. Read on to see the exact breakdown of the total cost. As we give you the breakdown of the cost of our trip, we will try to predict the cost of the trip to Qatar FIFA World Cup. We will try to keep the itinerary as similar possible to Russia 2018.
Matches We Watched and Cities we visited During the FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia
One of the things that we focused on was watching every match in a different stadium and watching different teams. This is because we wanted to make the most out of our trip to Russia. So here are the four matches that we watched.
- France VS Denmark (Group Match)
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. This is where the final match was played between France and Croatia. We watched the eventual champions play at the Final Venue. Pretty cool eh!!
Enjoying the Match at Luzhniki
- England VS Belgium (Group Match)
Venue: Arena Baltika, Kaliningrad. We made a mistake while booking tickets for this match. It increased our total spent considerably. Here is why. The Kaliningrad city is quite far from mainland Russia. You have to go across Belarus and Lithuania to reach Kaliningrad from Moscow. As an Indian citizen, it is required to have a transit VISA for Belarus and Lithuania. Belarus had waived of the visa for the FIFA event. But Lithuania couldn’t as it follows the European Union visa regulations. Therefore, the options for us were either to get a transit Schengen Visa which costs approximately 70 Euros, or book to and fro flight tickets. We opted the later to avoid the hassle of going through a visa application (Cost in intercity travel section). Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay in Kaliningrad.
Enjoying the Match at Kaliningrad
- Sweden VS Switzerland (Round of 16)
Venue: Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg. We expected Germany to play this match. But the poor performance by the German team led to their elimination in the group stage. This stadium is also one of the venues for the upcoming Euro Cup in 2020. We got to see the beautiful city of St Petersburg that negated the disappointment of early elimination of Germany.
At St Petersburg
- Belgium VS Brazil (Quarter Final)
Venue: Kazan Arena, Kazan. We were looking forward to this match from the beginning of our journey. The match lived up to its expectation. It was one of the best matches of the tournament. We absolutely enjoyed our stay in Kazan too.
At Kazan Arena
How much did we spend on FIFA World Cup 2018 Match Tickets?
Okay, so there were three categories of tickets available for non-Russians. Category 1,2 and 3. The category 1 being the most expensive (view of the whole pitch like the TV camera). Category 2 was near the corners with a limited view of the pitch. Category 3 was behind the goal post. We had aimed for category 3 for all the matches. But unfortunately, we couldn’t get any, so we bought the category 2. The entire FIFA price list is given below.
The total amount we paid was:
|Two group matches (165 x 2)||$330|
|One round of 16||$185|
|Total Per Head||$845|
Therefore, at mid-March 2018, this came to approximately ₹ 52500 ($1 = ₹62.15).
If you buy the same tickets today on the date of publishing this article (6 months after we had bought the tickets) it will cost, you ₹10,000 more because of the constant decrease in value of Indian Rupee. So, for Qatar please consider this factor. Exchange rates in March 2014 (2nd Phase of Tickets on Sale for Brazil World Cup) were 1USD = 60.5 INR.
A FIFA World Cup Match Ticket
We had initially budgeted ₹ 60,000 for three match tickets. We aimed for the final and two semi-finals (category 3). So, the key is to be flexible with the matches you want to watch. While you are on the ticket booking portal, keep ready the second choice of matches that you want to watch.
Qatar – How much will the same matches cost in FIFA World Cup 2022?
You can expect a 10% increase in prize tickets (see the prize list for FIFA World Cup 2014 below). But the main thing to watch out is the exchange rates. If we watched the same matches, the expected prices in Qatar 2022 will be (10% of 845) + 845 = 929.5 USD. Rounded to $ 930.
2014 FIFA World Cup Price List
We have looked at various websites for the projected exchange rates of INR to USD in April 2022 (that is when tickets are expected to go on sales). The predictions range from 75 INR to 87 INR equals 1 USD in April 2022. For the purpose of this calculation let’s consider $1= ₹ 80.
Therefore, the expected ticket prices in INR is 930 x 80 = ₹ 74400. That is significantly higher than what we spent in Russia. But the good news is we can expect the flight tickets cheaper.
How much does it cost for Flight Tickets?
While we were researching on flight tickets, we realised that it would be cheapest if we flew from Delhi to Moscow. Hence, we booked separate tickets from our hometown to Delhi (Not included in the total cost mentioned above) and then Delhi to Moscow. We also realised that the cheapest and best flight service from Moscow to Delhi is Aeroflot (the flag bearer airlines of Russia). The cost of flight tickets can be as low as ₹22000. It is a 6 hours direct flight to Moscow. The next cheapest flight option was Air Astana which remains approximately 28K INR most of the year. After the second phase of ticket sales were over Aeroflot tickets skyrocketed to ₹ 44000K – ₹ 48000K approx. Luckily, we got Air Astana Flight tickets at a discounted rate of ₹ 26000 approx. One thing we realised is that when you are booking international tickets it is best to book a flight to and from big international airports.
During Layover at Astana Airport
Let’s focus on Qatar now. From what we found from our research so far, it is best to fly to Doha from Mumbai. Indigo Airlines offers flight tickets as cheap as ₹16000. It is a 3 hours 45 mins direct flight. The cost of your travel to Mumbai from your home city will be extra. Though flight fares are very unpredictable lets us consider ₹ 20000 approximately. Also, check flight options from other big cities or your home city you might find a cheaper option as flights from Mumbai will be in demand during the World Cup.
Note: All prices mentioned here are for Return tickets to the mentioned Indian City.
How much does it cost for the Visa?
All fans were required to have a FAN ID to enter the stadium. The FAN ID also allowed visa-free entry into Russia. The FAN ID did not have any separate cost.
We are pretty much sure visa will be free of cost if you buy a match ticket. Even if FAN ID is not issued, the visa fees will be waived off. This was the case in Brazil 2014.
What will be the Accommodation cost?
We stayed in Russia for 15 nights. Out of those, we spent three nights on trains and two nights at the airport during intercity travels. So, we paid for 10 night of accommodation in total. The cost of the accommodations per head ranged from 250 Roubles to 800 Roubles per head per night. You would get a very good hostel bed in Russia for 500 Roubles per night. We spend a total of ₹ 6582 on accommodation per head.
Our Accommodation at Kazan
Qatar is an expensive country to live in. We had done some research on accommodation booking websites like booking.com and Airbnb. You can expect an average cost of 1200 INR per night of stay in Qatar. That is the minimum. It will be hard to find cheaper accommodation unless you go couch surfing or you have a friend who lives in Doha.
We plan to stay approximately 7 to 8 days in Qatar because it is expensive and doesn’t have a lot of tourist attractions. So, an 8-day stay would be approximately 8 x 1200 = ₹ 9600.
Check out this article where we share our tips on booking the best and cheapest accommodation.
How much it will cost for Local Travel?
Local transport in Russia is quite cheap considering the standard of service they provide. A single local ride can range from 25 Roubles (Smaller city: Kaliningrad & Kazan) to 55 Roubles (Big city: Moscow & St Petersburg). A day pass in Moscow costs approximately 250 Roubles. This includes an unlimited number of rides in any form of public transport, i.e. Metro, Local Train, and Ferry etc. So, it is practically impossible for you to spend more than 250 Roubles or ₹ 275 on daily transport. We bought this in Moscow twice. On the day of the match, rides were free for ticket holders. Since we love to walk around a new city so we most of the time avoided short rides and just walked. We cannot give you the exact amount (Since we did not keep track of each individual rides) we spend on local transport. But we will share with you our total cash spent that will give you a fair idea in the end.
Traveling in a local train in Moscow
From what we know so far, Doha is a small city. So you can pretty much cover the main areas on foot. We learned from lonelyplanet.com that bus fares can range from QR3 to QR10 i.e. ₹ 60 to ₹ 200. Taxi is not as expensive as in Europe since gasoline is cheap.
Russia has set some standards that the next host will try to keep up. That’s why we think on match days you will get free rides. Nevertheless, if you spend on average 250 INR on transport total for 8 days will be 250 x 8 = ₹ 2000.
How much it will cost for Intercity travel?
Earlier in this article, we had mentioned the problem we faced traveling to Kaliningrad. We had to take avail a flight to Kaliningrad and then another flight to St Petersburg from Kaliningrad. The total cost of these two flights were ₹ 12765. Apart from this, we did not spend a penny on intercity travels. We booked the special free FIFA trains to travel between cities. Like we said we wanted to make the most out of the trip to Russia. 😊 We took three of these rides. They were St Petersburg to Moscow, Moscow to Kazan and Kazan to Moscow.
Ready to board the FIFA train from St Petersburg to Moscow
Qatar is not a big country and all the major cities are well connected. Out of the 8 Stadiums that will host the matches, 4 are in Doha. The other cities are less than one-hour ride. Public transport to these cities should cost around QR10 or 200 INR (Source: lonelyplanent.com). So, I am guessing if you make around 3 such return trips to Doha your total cost will be QR 30 or ₹ 600.
How much it will cost for food and drinks?
Having a store-bought or restaurant meal is unhealthy for your tummy as well as your pockets. That’s why as budget travellers, we like to cook most of our meals when we are travelling. Local markets and supermarkets offer quality ingredients in Russia. The cost is not very different from what it is in India. If you spend 500 roubles / ₹ 550 on your ingredients you can easily cook food for 2-3 meals for two. A cheeseburger can cost as less 100 Roubles/110 INR in Russia. Eating out is also not very expensive a sumptuous meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will cost you approximately 1800 Roubles/ ₹ 2000.
One of our meals in St Petersburg
We did not buy any hard drinks in Russia except beer. Beer is very cheap in Russia. A 500 ml of Hoegaarden costs 92 roubles/₹ 100. In Kolkata, we get 330 ml of Hoegaarden for ₹ 350.
Yes, we will be cooking most of our meals in Qatar as well. Even though Qatar is expensive if you cook some of your meal you will save significantly. According to numbeo.com raw meat, rice, onions, cheese are quite inexpensive. If you spend 1000 INR on buying your ingredients it should be enough for 3-4 meals for two. According to numbeo.com, meals are inexpensive restaurants are 20-25 QR i.e approximately ₹ 400. We will probably budget an average of 800 INR for food per day per head. That brings the total cost of food to 800 x 8 = ₹ 6400.
Beer in Qatar is expensive in the world according to numbeo.com. 330 ml beer would cost approximately QR 40 i.e. ₹ 800. This price is at a licensed alcohol shop. Imagine what will be the price n a restaurant or in the stadium (If they allow beer at the stadium). We will probably have to go “dry” on this trip.
How much cash should be withdrawn?
In Russia, we withdrew 10000 Roubles (11000 INR) of cash per head. We paid for food transport and part of our accommodation (some of it was paid online from India) from this cash. We had to pay approximately 3000 INR worth for accommodation in cash on arrival. That left us with 11000 INR – 3000 INR = ₹ 8000. We spend that on food, local transport, beer, sightseeing, and other miscellaneous expenses for 15 days in Russia. We did not spend the entire money, brought back a hundred roubles note as souvenirs. 😊
Arindam Withdrawing Cash From ATM in Moscow
Since we have already accounted for food local travel etc. Here let us consider cash for miscellaneous cost only. We assume this should be QR250 or ₹ 5000.
Let’s look at the total cost at a glance.
|Sl No||Items||Actual expenditure in Russia 2018||Predicted expenditure in Qatar 2022||Remarks|
|1||Four Match Tickets||₹ 52,500.00||₹ 74,400.00|
|2||Flights to Host country||₹ 26,000.00||₹ 20,000.00|
|3||Accommodation||₹ 6,582.00||₹ 9,600.00|
|4||Intercity Travel||₹ 12,765.00||₹ 600.00|
|5||Food||₹ 8,000.00||₹ 6,400.00|
|6||Local Transport||₹ 2,000.00|
|8||Travel Insurance||₹ 0.00||₹ 5,000.00||Highly recommended|
|9||Total||₹ 1,05,847.00||₹ 1,23,000.00|
|10||15% Contingency Added||₹ 1,41,450.00||Russia trip is over so not included.|
|11||Grand Total||₹ 1,51,601.52||Inflation-adjusted @ 2% per for 3.5 years|
We did not buy a travel insurance for our trip to Russia. That was a mistake we made. We highly recommend you buy a travel insurance while you travel abroad. To wrap up we predict that you can complete the trip within the budget of ₹ 1,51,601.52. There you go …You have your budget ready. As a next step go ahead and read our post on saving money to travel to the FIFA World Cup. Do let us know is the comment section if you have any queries, we would be glad to answer them.
Since you have read this far I assume you are genuinely interested in travelling to Qatar in 2022. So there is an announcement. Due to popular request we have started a Whatsapp group for people who want to visit Qatar for 2022 WC. This group has been created so that fellow travellers can help each other and share information. If you wish to be part of this group please send a whatsapp message to this number 0091 8240565291.