If you want to catch the action live at the upcoming London 2012 Olympics (July 27-Aug. 12) and Paralympic Games (Aug. 29-Sept. 9), you have to act fast. And be prepared to pay handsomely.
There aren't many deals, but there is availability. Fares on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, American, United and Delta begin at around $1,050 round-trip for economy. Besides common travel sites like Orbitz or Expedia, check with specific airline websites for possible last-minute deals, particularly in Business Class.
Rates are usually high in London but are now exorbitant. Be prepared to pay $300-plus for even the most Spartan accommodations.
Tickets are available, and some are not as expensive as one would imagine. Prices vary widely, beginning around $44 a ticket. See the rather wonky official Olympic ticket website (tickets.london2012.com). Americans also can buy tickets through Cosport, an authorized agent in the United States. Cosport's website, for example, lists $44-$207 tickets available for Men's and Women's Beach Volleyball on July 28 (877-457-4647, cosport.com).
The city offers an excellent public transportation system including the Tube (subway), an extensive bus system and train service to outlying areas. Visitors can purchase a variety of transportation passes, and numerous River Thames ferries and boat transportation options will be running during the Olympics. Taxis are readily available but expensive.
See getaheadofthegames.com for additional details.
Venues will have restrictions on backpacks, alcohol and excessive liquids, like any large modern event. Patience and common sense are key. Of course, you can always pop into any London pub, enjoy a pint and watch the Olympic action on the telly.