Rising interest rates and falling currencies may force some people to cancel their travel plans.
Over a million football fans from all over the world will descend on Qatar for the World Cup, which begins on November 20.
Qatar has been preparing to welcome visitors not only from the 32 participating countries, but also from football fans whose teams did not qualify for the mega-event.
Few will travel further than Costa Rican fans.
The Central American country was the last to secure its place in Qatar 2022 – Costa Rica’s third World Cup in a row – and will compete in the group stage against Spain, Germany, and Japan.
However, getting to the Middle East is expensive for Costa Rica fans, so some are hoping to win their way there through raffles that offer tickets and flights as prizes.
“Winning it would be a dream come true,” said Yetty Ergedas, a fan desperate to board a plane to Qatar.
“Football fascinates me, and in such a spectacular location – but prices are steep, so we can only hope.”
Going to a World Cup is expensive at the best of times, Gareth Leather, a senior economist at Capital Economics in London, told Al Jazeera.
“At the moment, things are especially difficult given the cost of living, rising interest rates and also the strong dollar,” he said. “If you look at Costa Rica’s specific economic situation, you’ve got inflation running at 10 percent and wages aren’t keeping up, so people are getting poorer in real terms.
“You’ve also got a strong Qatari riyal, which is linked to the dollar, which makes it harder for countries whose currencies have depreciated against that.
“You’ve also got higher interest rates, so people who were going to borrow to buy tickets and travel packages are now paying much more than they used to.” Overall, it’s shaping up to be a very costly World Cup for a lot of people.”
Only about 500 Costa Rican fans are expected to travel to Qatar. And, with such formidable opponents, it is a long way to go for what could be a brief campaign.
Costa Rica won its group in 2014, which included England, Italy, and Uruguay.
“The truth is that we enjoy being in a group like this,” said Michael Umaa, Costa Rica’s penalty hero in 2014.
“Compete with the best. That’s what you do in a World Cup, face the best. I feel optimistic. I know our national team shows its best when it faces the world’s most powerful.”