December 3, 2023

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Want to See Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour? Fans Say ‘Grab Your Passport and My Hand.’

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Even with traffic on the 405, it probably would have taken at most three hours for Victoria Pardo Uzitas to drive from her home in San Diego to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles to see a performance of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Instead, she and her teenage daughter crossed the border to Tijuana, flew to Mexico City, enjoyed classic tacos al pastor and churros, saw a Frida Kahlo masterpiece at the Museo de Arte Moderno, and yes, saw Taylor Swift.

“Tickets in Los Angeles were $1,900 each,” Ms. Uzitas said of the marked-up prices. “That’s more than we spent on our flights, our hotel and all our food. Our entire trip was less than $1,900.”

Ms. Uzitas is not the only Swiftie turning a concert by her favorite artist into an international getaway. And Mexico is certainly not alone in reaping the economic benefits. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the likely economic impact of the 20 domestic stops of Ms. Swift’s tour has already exceeded $10 billion. In Los Angeles alone, Ms. Swift’s six nights of concerts added 3,300 jobs and earned the city $29 million in sales and hotel room taxes, according to U.S. Travel.

Now with the tour — which began in March and concludes in November of next year — going on to 26 international destinations, the overseas tourism market is cashing in.

Hotel prices across Europe are surging on the nights Ms. Swift comes to town. Contiki, a youth-focused travel agency, is offering five different trips that nod to the singer, including a tour of Paris “for your European love story.” The agency also offers a discount of 13 percent — a reference to Ms. Swift’s self-proclaimed lucky number — on any European trip longer than 14 days. Air New Zealand has already added 2,000 seats to accommodate what it calls the Swift Surge, fans flying to Australia for February dates. (A tip of the hat to whichever executive thought of the flight code NZ1989.)

Traveling to see a beloved performer is nothing new. Fan have flown to see U2, parked R.V.s outside Phish and Grateful Dead shows, and spent top dollar to see Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour. Now for Ms. Swift’s Eras Tour, there is no incentive needed for many fans other than being able to score a more affordable ticket in a vacation-worthy destination.

“I’m so excited to see the differences in another country,” said Lois Alter Mark, a writer who is parlaying her $400 Edinburgh concert ticket into a Scottish sojourn. “I want to see how you translate all that emotion, though I think Taylor Swift is a universal language at this point.”

Evan Chodos, the New York-based vice president for luxury at Condé Nast, is going to Paris to see Ms. Swift less for anthropological reasons and more to right a wrong. He had purchased two resale tickets on StubHub, a total cost of $1,500, for one of Ms. Swift’s Nashville concerts in May, only to be notified 48 hours before showtime that the company could not deliver the tickets. (StubHub guarantees it will try to find a buyer comparably priced tickets, but at that point most tickets were long gone.)

Mr. Chodos and his husband considered shelling out $2,000 per ticket for one of the concerts at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey later that month, but opted against paying the exorbitant markup. When tickets to Ms. Swift’s European concerts went on sale, though, they didn’t think twice about purchasing them for Paris, which then determined spring travel plans. “This is our revenge tour,” Mr. Chodos said.

Compared with what could have been $4,000 or more to attend a New York-area show, Mr. Chodos spent $1,400 for two V.I.P. seats, which included, as he joked, “a lanyard, a book bag and a lock of her hair.” The money they saved on tickets will go toward a French vacation with friends, who will also attend the show. “There’s nothing wrong with going to Paris in the spring,” Mr. Chodos said of this Swift-centric vacation. “We’ll have some wine, have some bread and have some concert.”

Julie Cochran, a marketer in Raleigh, N.C., also let her tickets determine her destination. After three weeks of waking up in the middle of the night to join the ticket-purchasing queue in another time zone, she was able to secure four seats in Milan next summer for $1,700.

The plan is an eight-day trip for her family of four to Milan, Florence and, for the sake of her marriage, Rome.

“We need to go to the Holy City while we are there. That was the only way to convince my husband to get in on it,” she said. “It’s the worst time possible to be in Italy because it’s the tourist season and it’s so hot, but this is a historic tour.”

It’s also presenting a parenting opportunity for Ms. Cochran to talk to her 12- and 16-year-old daughters (who don’t know yet they’re getting these tickets — sorry!) about privilege.

“We try to teach our children about excess,” Ms. Cochran said. “Do you know how many families we can feed with that money?”

“It’s going to be our summer vacation for the next couple of years, and the girls are going to be very surprised by the lack of boxes under the tree at Christmas,” she continued. “We have a year to save up, and we would have spent twice the amount if we had gone in the United States.”

Crystal Orraca from Brooklyn may have been wise enough to take herself to the Eras Tour in Houston in April, but has spent every day since then scouring online ticket resale groups so she can bring her 13-year-old to another show.

“She’s extremely angry and tells everyone I chose to go without her, but you know, put your mask on before you put it on someone else,” Ms. Orraca said. She is holding out for affordable tickets to London or Amsterdam, two cities she has always wanted to visit with her daughter. Then again, even if the tickets come through, it’s not easy to plan a summer vacation around a fickle teenager.

“I’m spending thousands to appease my mom guilt,” Ms. Orraca said. “Come next summer, will she even care about Taylor Swift?”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation.

Jessica Shaw

2023-10-18 09:03:08

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