SwimSwam Travel: Have You Booked Your Trip To The NCAA Championships?

The 2015 NCAA D1 Championships are expected to be two of the most exciting championship meets of the year. With NCAA titles and American records on the line, both meets will be crazy fast. There is nothing that compares to physically being in the building during the meet. Watching the meet via the live stream is convenient, but you don’t get to feel the raw emotion in the building. I will never be able to forget feeling the energy in the IUPUI natatorium after Vlad Morozov broke 18 seconds during the 200 freestyle relay in 2013. Because we feel that going to the NCAA Championships is something every swim fan should say they have done, we went ahead and compiled all the pricing information you may need to sit pool-side without breaking the bank.

After comparing all of the prices for flights and car rentals through hipmunk.com, southwest.com, and expedia.com, we have determined that flying into Greensboro (GSO) is the cheapest option if you want to travel to Greensboro, NC for the Women’s NCAA D1 Championships March 19-21. We pulled together information from five popular regional hubs from around the country. The five hubs we selected were Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Chicago, IL, and Atlanta, GA. To allow for travel time without missing the meet, we compared the prices of flights and car rentals from Wed, Mar 18 to Sun, Mar 22. Our results are summarized below:

Women’sMar. 19-21 Greensboro (GSO) Charlotte (CLT) Raleigh-Durham (RDU)
Houston, TX $560 $631 $714
Los Angeles, CA $632 $765 $712
New York City, NY $466 $488 $556
Chicago, IL $535 $542 $592
Atlanta, GA $484 $616 $516

Greensboro (GSO) will be the cheapest airport to rent a car from at $214 for the trip. Renting from Charlotte (CLT) will cost $289 and renting from Raleigh-Durham (RDU) will cost $338 for the week.

Greensboro (GSO) is also the closest airport to the Greensboro Aquatic Center at 13.1 miles. Raleigh-Durham (RDU) is in the middle at 70.0 miles and Charlotte (CLT) is 96.8 miles away from the pool. Please note that our calculations do not include fuel costs while driving around at the meet.

  • Houston, TX – The cheapest flight from Houston to the women’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Charlotte (CLT). With the higher demand and price of the rental cars at the Charlotte airport, however, flying into Greensboro (GSO) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.
  • Los Angeles, CA – The cheapest flight from Los Angeles to the women’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Raleigh-Durham (RDU). With the higher demand and price of the rental cars at the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport, however, flying into Greensboro (GSO) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.
  • New York City, NY – The cheapest flight from New York City to the women’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Charlotte (CLT). With the higher demand and price of the rental cars at the Charlotte airport, however, flying into Greensboro (GSO) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.
  • Chicago, IL – The cheapest flight from Chicago to the women’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Charlotte (CLT). With the higher demand and price of the rental cars at the Charlotte airport, however, flying into Greensboro (GSO) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.
  • Atlanta, GA – The cheapest flight from Atlanta to the women’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Raleigh-Durham (RDU). With the higher demand and price of the rental cars at the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport, however, flying into Greensboro (GSO) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.

Traveling to Iowa the following week for the Men’s NCAA D1 Championships will be more challenging because Iowa City does not have its own commercial airport. The three closest airports to the University of Iowa are in Cedar Rapids, IA, Moline, IL, and Des Moines, IA.

Men’s

Mar 26-28

Cedar Rapids (CID) Moline (MLI) Des Moines (DSM)
Houston, TX $616 $571 $568
Los Angeles, CA $619 $607 $631
New York City, NY $505 $542 $526
Chicago, IL
Atlanta, GA $608 $600 $539

Cedar Rapids (CID) will be the cheapest airport to rent a car from at $169 for the trip. Renting from Des Moines (DSM) will cost $196 and renting from Moline (MLI) will cost $207 for the week.

Cedar Rapids (CID) is also the closest airport to the University of Iowa at 26.8 miles. Moline (MLI) is in the middle at 65.2 miles and Des Moines (DSM) is 117.0 miles away from the pool.

  • Houston, TX – The cheapest flight from Houston to the men’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Moline (MLI). With the price of the rental cars, however, flying into Des Moines (DSM) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option. After you add in fuel expenses, however, it may not be cheaper to fly into Des Moines (DSM) because it is more than 50 miles further from the pool.
  • Los Angeles, CA – The cheapest flight from Los Angeles to the men’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Moline (MLI). Even though it has the most expensive rental cars of the three airports, flying into Moline (MLI) will still be the cheapest option.
  • New York City, NY – The cheapest flight from New York City to the men’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Des Moines (DSM). With the price of the rental cars, however, flying into Cedar Rapids (CID) and renting a car from that airport will be your cheapest option.
  • Chicago, IL – Because Chicago is only 220 miles away from Iowa City, it would not make sense to fly. If you have your own car, you can make the drive yourself in three hours and 27 minutes, according to Google Maps. If you do not have a car, there are other transportation options available. You can rent a car for $148 or buy a bus ticket online for less than $30.
  • Atlanta, GA – The cheapest flight from Atlanta to the men’s NCAA Championships can be found by flying into Des Moines (DSM). Even though it has the most expensive rental cars of the three airports, flying into Des Moines (DSM) will still be the cheapest option.

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About Tony Carroll

Tony Carroll

The writer formerly known as "Troy Gennaro", better known as Tony Carroll, has been working with SwimSwam since April of 2013. Tony grew up in northern Indiana and started swimming in 2003 when his dad forced him to join the local swim team. Reluctantly, he joined on the condition that …

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