Travel Costs and Tips for Chiefs Fans Heading to AFC Championship Game

AAA Kansas helps fans budget for the road trip and prepare for potential winter weather as the Chiefs face the Patriots this Sunday with a trip to the title game on the line.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Jan. 14, 2019 – With last Saturday’s victory in the NFL’s Divisional Playoff round, the Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time in franchise history. Chiefs fans from across Kansas who are lucky enough to score tickets to the big game will be trekking to KC to enjoy tailgating and the game, which kicks off at 5:40 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20.

AAA Kansas is assisting Chiefs fans with estimated travel costs as well as other tips to ensure their trip goes smoothly and safely.

“This is arguably the biggest game in Chiefs history, and fans will be flocking to Arrowhead to experience it,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “Because this is such a much-awaited event, many people will spare no expense to be there, but AAA Kansas wants to prepare fans to help budget their travel costs and be sure they and their vehicles are ready for an uneventful drive to and from the game.”

Driving Costs
Gas: The average gas price in Kansas today is $1.97/gallon, which is 28 cents less than the national average and 9th cheapest in the country.

Gas expenses will vary greatly, depending on type of vehicle, its gas tank capacity and gas mileage, as well as distance traveled and the gasoline cost where you fill up.

Using the $1.97 average gas price, motorists would pay $23.64 to fill up a 12-gallon tank or $31.52 to fill up a 16-gallon tank. Depending on distance driven to the game, motorists may fill up once before the trip and again for the return trip, doubling these costs.

Turnpike Tolls: Depending on starting point and route, some Chiefs fans may travel the Kansas Turnpike on their way to Kansas City. Travelers save on toll fares by using the turnpike’s K-Tag automated tolling. K-Tags are available at AAA Kansas retail locations in Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka and Wichita. Sample one-way tolls are as follows:

ROUTECASH TOLLK-TAG TOLL
I-35 from East Wichita to Emporia$5.25$4.00
I-70 from Topeka to East Entrance (Bonner Springs)$3.50$2.55
South Terminal (I-35 to Topeka I-70) to East Entrance$15.00$11.15

 

Hotel
Hotels rooms are generally plentiful in the Kansas City area, but this weekend may be more difficult to find accommodations. According to AAA Travel agents, some hotels in some of the most desired locations – such as the Country Club Plaza, Downtown Kansas City or Crown Center, as well as areas around the stadium or in nearby Independence/Blue Springs are already showing limited or no room availability.

AAA Kansas Travel agents are fielding inquiries and booking requests from travelers and report that there are still hotels available for Saturday and Sunday nights in the KC area, although they may be some distance from the stadium, such as near Kansas City International Airport or the Overland Park/Lenexa/Olathe area in Johnson County. Travelers should plan to budget $90-$135 per night for a AAA 3-Diamond hotel, with prices in Downtown Kansas City and the Plaza being higher in many cases, if available. Prices vary from hotel-to-hotel, location and level of service.

Some hotels offer breakfast and/or evening appetizer/beverage receptions included in their price, which can save additional dollars for travelers. Also be sure to determine whether the hotel includes free parking or charges extra for it. Additionally, many hotels offer a special discounted AAA member rate.

Game Tickets
AFC Championship game tickets go on sale today, Monday, Jan. 14th, but Chiefs season ticket holders and Jackson County, Mo. residents get first crack at them. Any remaining tickets became available to the public starting at noon today at www.chiefs.com. Then, tickets will be available through secondary ticket brokers, likely at a higher premium.

Parking
Parking passes for the AFC Championship Game are also on sale through the Chiefs. Fans are encouraged to purchase parking passes in advance to secure the lowest possible price and save time at the tollgate. Prepaid parking passes for the AFC Championship Game purchased through the team are $50, while parking at the tollgates on game day will be $60 cash only. Fans should visit www.chiefs.com/parking to purchase their parking passes in advance and to plan their parking and tailgating experiences.

“Chiefs fans are known for their epic tailgating parties in the parking lots of Arrowhead, creating some of the best pre-game atmosphere in the NFL,” said AAA Kansas’ Steward. “It will be a festive day, but it’s important to remember that driving drunk or impaired can ruin the whole experience and be deadly. If you plan to drink alcohol, whether at the game or at a bar or home party, always have a sober, designated driver or safe ride home.”

Weather Preparedness
Early weather forecasts indicate the potential for more snow this weekend, with temperatures falling through the weekend with highs only in the teens on Sunday in Kansas City. Fans should pay close attention to weather forecasts as the weekend approaches and can check road conditions in Kansas at http://www.kandrive.org or in the Kansas City area at http://www.kcscout.com/.

Last winter (Dec. 2017-March 2018), AAA Kansas Emergency Roadside Service crews assisted more than 26,000 motorists across the state. AAA crews will be ready and available to help if motorists experience any trouble along the route to this weekend’s game. Motorists can take advantage of a special promotion now on new and renewal AAA memberships with the codes SAFETYNEW (new memberships) or SAFETY (existing AAA member renewals) by calling 1-866-MEMBERS (1-866-636-2377) or visiting a local AAA Kansas office in Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka or Wichita.

To reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown, AAA Kansas recommends that motorists have their vehicles checked to ensure key systems are ready for cold and/or snowy weather.

  • Make certain your tires have good tread for adequate traction and are properly inflated. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tires can lose 1 pound of air pressure.
  • Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. When the air temperature is 32 degrees, a battery’s starting power drops 35 percent. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • Ensure that windshield wiper blades are in good condition and the wiper fluid reservoir is full. A winter blend of wiper fluid that resists freezing is recommended.
  • Make sure all lights (headlights, tail and brake lights, turn signals) are working properly so you can see and be seen in bad weather conditions.With the threat of winter weather affecting roadways this weekend, AAA Kansas recommends that drivers prepare and pack a winter emergency kit to keep in their vehicles. The kit should include items such as a fully charged cell phone, cell phone charger, snow brush, de-icer, shovel, kitty litter or other material for traction, bright triangle or reflector, first aid kit, flash light, jumper cables, tool kit, blankets and warm clothing, drinking water and snacks.