GREENSBORO, N.C. — Some are preparing to make the 800-mile trip to see Duke and UNC face off in the Final Four but it won't be easy or cheap.
Travel agent Shane Lawrence at Imagine Travel in Greensboro said the never before seen March Madness matchup makes for one of the most difficult bookings he's ever seen, even compared to the Panther's most recent Super Bowl appearance.
He said it's not just because of the game itself. It's because it comes at the same time high gas prices are pushing plane ticket prices up and as travel demand picks up for the first time since the pandemic began.
"I've had better options to get people to the Super Bowl over this. I've seen hotels as high as almost Super Bowl tickets. I can't imagine waiting much longer," Lawrence said.
Ticketmaster prices started around $400 for a single ticket in the nosebleeds Monday. The most expensive seat was more than $29,000 for a seat 18 rows back from the court.
Many hotels close to the Superdome were full and those nearby were in the $500 a night range.
That's why Lawrence is advising clients to make the drive to New Orleans if they're serious about going. Most are opting to stay here and he said that will be a big economic boost in our state.
"This game is going to be big. It's big business for all our local bars and restaurants. It's going to be incredible," Lawrence said.
Many are expected to drive to Durham or Chapel Hill to watch the game near campus.
Duke and UNC both said they're still making plans for fan watch parties and events.
Chapel Hill police said they're finalizing plans that will include more police presence on game night.
Lawrence is a Tarheel fan and said it will be a game to remember no matter who you cheer for.
"Just get behind your teams. Make this Saturday the best Saturday ever," Lawrence said. "It's going to be incredible so it's going to be a great day for the state of North Carolina no matter what happens."
Driving to New Orleans costs about $250 but you'll be in the car for more than 23 hours round trip.