Last updated: 10:48 AM ET, Thu September 24 2015

Want To See Pope Francis? Avoid These Mistakes.

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | September 18, 2015

Want To See Pope Francis? Avoid These Mistakes.

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

When Pope Francis travels to the United States later this month, residents and visitors to the cities he will be stopping through will be dealing with major congestion and higher prices everywhere they look.

The Pope will visit Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, and each of the cities is estimating that over one million Catholics and interested onlookers will be filling the streets to witness His Holiness leading mass or speaking to the crowds.

With that many people filling the streets of several huge cities, Sky McCarthy of pointed out the lack of event tickets, scalpers trying to make money off free tickets, congestion on almost every major road and prices for hotels going through the roof might have many tourists reconsidering their journey to the Northeast.

If you want to get out and see the Pope during his time in America, there are a few tips and notes with which travelers must arm themselves.

The first note is about air travel. As TravelPulse’s Rich Thomaselli noted, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Philadelphia International Airport will be on virtual lockdown during the Pope’s visit. If you are flying into the area, arrive well ahead of time in order to avoid the likely shutdowns associated with the Pope’s travel schedule.

Taking rail transportation is an alternative many tourists will attempt to utilize, and Amtrak is preparing for the rush of travelers by adding more coaches to its trains and increasing the number of trains on the Northeast Corridor. Visitors to the cities must be cautious, as scalpers are buying tickets on Amtrak and SEPTA and re-selling them on the secondary market at a higher price.

The money grab goes beyond just public transportation, though, as scalpers are also collecting tickets to free events and selling them to visitors desperate to see the Pope. Local authorities are taking down the tickets on popular websites when discovered, and visitors are encouraged to not buy tickets from secondary sources.

Prices for hotels and other places to sleep during a visit to the cities being visited by the Pope are skyrocketing as well. TravelPulse’s Ryan Rudnansky reported that hotels are seeing jumps in occupancy for those days, and owners of these establishments are preparing for a late surge of domestic travelers looking to find a place to stay at the last moment. The sudden rush will likely cause price increases, and travelers should be wary of potential gouging.

These issues are typical when a figure as internationally prominent as the Pope visits the United States, but it is the responsibility of the residents and visitors to these cities to be cautious about how they spend their money and courteous when navigating the unavoidable traffic.

Remember, His Holiness would want us all to respect our neighbors during his visit.

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