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Going to the Super Bowl? Book Now

Over 100,000 out-of-state fans are heading to Arizona and searching for deals on airfare and hotels now -- neither of which will be cheap
An American Airlines Boeing 737 airplane as it takes off from a runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images
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The jury's still out on which teams will be heading to Glendale, Arizona, to compete in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.

Yet an estimated 100,000 out-of-state fans will be heading that way soon and are searching for deals on airfare and hotels now. Depending on when you travel and where you stay, the price of the trip can be surprisingly affordable.

"We're at that 21-day advance purchase window where things definitely start to get interesting in terms of air ticket prices," said Jeremy Boore, analytics manager for Expedia.

For flights from cities with teams still in the running, Boore looked at Phoenix-bound flights departing between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1, and returning between Feb. 2 and Feb. 5. He found fares from Boston ($280-$700) and Denver ($100-$600) were unchanged since last week, while those from North Carolina ($375-$765), Baltimore-Washington International ($260-$725) and Seattle ($270-$500) had decreased slightly.

Flights from Green Bay, Wisconsin ($300-$575) and Dallas-Fort Worth ($80-$250) rose modestly, while the range of prices for flights from Indianapolis ($275-$625) jumped sharply.

For ardent fans willing to spend the cash on a trip, Boore suggests the time to act is now.

"At this three-week window, fares start to shoot up about at an average of 2 percent a day," he said, noting that bigger bumps arrive at seven and 14 days out. "So 21 days out is the best bet to find a deal."

Lodging on the cheap

The Phoenix metro area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, encompasses 22 cities, including Glendale, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Mesa, Paradise Valley and Tempe. The area has a hotel inventory of over 55,000 rooms.

But don't let that big number fool you: A big block of those rooms—20,000, to be exact—are reserved by the National Football League and event sponsors. Although some may be released closer to the big dance, only 35,000 rooms at hotels and resorts are available now for general booking.

"This is already the high season for the Valley of the Sun because it's warm here," said Jay Parry, president and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. "Although the Super Bowl is an opportunity to increase prices, we're seeing the majority of properties being reasonable with their rates."

For travelers, time is once again of the essence, as is location. According to Expedia data, average daily rates for the big game in the Phoenix area are in the range of $275-300 per night, but average daily rates in Glendale and Scottsdale are ranging from $350 to $600 per night.

The experts at Hotwire report that the Phoenix metropolitan area still has a good hotel supply. However, fans may need to be a bit flexible and willing to look outside the Phoenix core metro area.

For example, in Tucson—more than an hour from Phoenix—a package for a four-star resort hotel with rental car can currently be booked for a relatively reasonable $427 during Super Bowl weekend. In Flagstaff, a two-hour drive to Phoenix, rates for 3.5 star hotels can be found for the bargain basement price of $109.

Among Hotwire's tips for deep discounts: Adjust your travel dates. If you're not interested in all the pregame hoopla, hotel rates are as low as $94 a night if you book Feb. 1-3, when four star hotel rates are as low as $260 a night.

In addition to traditional hotels and resorts, there's a good inventory of vacation rentals in the Phoenix area.

"In early January, fans are determining whether their team will make the final rounds of playoff," said Jen O'Neal, CEO and founder of, a vacation rental search engine whose database includes properties from Homeaway, VRBO, Flipkey and others.

"Right around the week and a half before the big game is when fans really start aggressively searching for vacation rentals, which are perfect for groups seeking space, comfort and privacy," she said. Those are often more affordable than hotels and come with extras such as private kitchens, swimming pools and backyards.

Super Bowl without the actual game

Even if you don't get a ticket to the Super Bowl game, there will be plenty to do in an around Glendale and Phoenix.

From Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, the league will host the NFL Experience, with games, attractions and player appearances, inside the Phoenix Convention Center. (Tickets are $35 for adults; $20 for children 12 and under.)

From Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 12 blocks of downtown Phoenix will be turned into Verizon Super Bowl Central, a football-themed festival that includes beer gardens, interactive activities and concerts.

For anyone with a sweet tooth, Glendale's annual Chocolate Affaire is taking place during Super Bowl weekend. It features factory tours of Glendale's Cerrata Candy Company as well as a "Super Street" with live music, activities and about 40 places to stop for diet-busting treats.

—Harriet Baskas is the author of seven books, including "Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You," and the Stuck at the Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas. Follow Road Warrior at @CNBCtravel.