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Super Bowl XLIII is just a matter of days away, and you’re going to miss it.  You promised a co-worker that you’d go to his shitty Super Bowl party with the crappy beer, bad food and undersized TV.  Super Bowl Sunday is looking to be a letdown, and you’re going to be stuck waiting until next year to truly celebrate this holiest of Sundays.  Not so, StyleCrave reader, not so.  If you make a few smart, quick moves today– you could get your cold tail down to sunny Tampa Bay for Super Bowl number 43.  And if you are gonna do it, you might as well do it right– do it the StyleCrave way…

The Flight to Tampa, Florida

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Getting a last minute flight is going to be the easiest part of this entire venture.  While we’ll defer to you to choose your favorite travel site, we’re going to suggest a few as well.  First, try Kayak.com, a meta-travel system that compares prices from all your preferred travel tools.  Enter the destination and dates, you’re good to go.  Before you book, though, we suggest checking Priceline and LastMinuteTravel, as well as the websites of your local 2nd and 3rd tier airports (where you can ocassionally find a deal if you don’t mind hopping aboard a turboprop…).  Find a flight, book it (and book yourself a Monday off to recuperate), and move on to the next step.

Request (Demand) Time Off from Work

Notice that we put this part after the flight details.  Why?  Any self-respecting guy can get out of work at the last minute if he needs to.  Whether it takes brutal honesty, a little white lie or a greater conspiracy, you can get yourself two days off work without too much trouble.  Option one:  tell your boss you got super bowl tickets.  If your boss tries to tell you that you have to stay, you have bigger problems and need to find yourself another gig.  Option two: lie.  There is a stomach flu going around these parts, now is not a bad time to fake it.  Option three: fake a death in the family.  Its not a pretty option, but a little photoshop can turn any funeral card into the notice of your dear Uncle Fake (er, Frank).  Got the boss taken care of?  Good.  Proceeding on…

Rent a Home, Not a Hotel

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Enterprising Floridians are looking to capitalize on the Super Bowl in any way they can– including renting out their own homes and condos.  If you really want to do the Super Bowl right, we suggest you take over a high end home for the weekend.  Where would a StyleCraver go?  We suggest the Hyde Park and Soho neighborhoods of Tampa, where the hip call home amongst fresh, independent cuisine, boutique shopping and excellent bar nightlife.  Expect to spend no less than $800 a night for your a smaller condo, with nicer homes starting around $2,500/night.  If you want to splurge, check out these mansions and penthouse condos going for at least $3,000 per night.  What is the best place to find a good rental for Super Bowl weekend?  Craigslist, of course.

Get Tickets

Unless you splurge on a high end vacation rental, expect this to be the most expensive item for your last minute trip.  Super Bowl ticket scalping is what hobo dreams are made of– the chance to turn a big profit off of a single ticket sale could fill the proverbial crack pipe for months (note: not all ticket scalpers are homeless or drug addicted, just the ones that ripped us off at an early age).  Beyond that, the sheer level of competition between fans who want scalped tickets may be more fierce than the play on the football field after kickoff.  So be ready, get there early and prepare for a fight.  Bring cash into the four figures, and don’t give up if you miss kickoff– this is the time when the scalpers get desperate, and time for you to pounce.

Enjoy Tampa in Style

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Before and after the game, you’re going to want to see what Tampa has to offer.  Having visited the city last month, we were surprised at just how fun Tampa can be.  What would we do if we had an extended weekend to spend in the Tampa Bay?  As we mentioned above, we’d be staying in the old Hyde Park neighborhood– where fresh, international cuisine meets authentic architecture and a young, hip populace.  If American food is your thing, we had the best burger we’d ever tasted at The Bungalow on the corner of Howard and Kennedy.  We suggest you spend an afternoon in the historic cigar district of Tampa, Ybor City.  You can have a cigar handrolled for you right before your eyes by a fourth generation Cigar maker– and smoke it as you walk along Ybor’s bustling bar neighborhood.

If Tampa gets a bit too busy for you this weekend, just hop a cap for a 20 minute ride to Clearwater Beach, set up shop on a sand dune and relax as the bikinis parade by along the horizon.  Since the weather is going to be a bit cooler this weekend, we also suggest you head to downtown St. Petersburg to the Salvadore Dali Museum– the home of the world’s largest collection of Salvadore Dali’s artwork.  If you need a bit more inspiration, take a look at the gallery below to see some more of what is to be had in the Tampa Bay area.

Thanks for reading, StyleCravers.  Whether you make the jump or not, we hope you enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday– and may the best team win.  If you know anyone who has been itching to attend the bowl in person, please send this their way!