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Bills fans: What you need to know about going to Jacksonville

Let's say you're contemplating a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., to root for the Bills in their playoff game this weekend, and you're not a snow bird.

Here are some things you're going to want to think about first.

Are tickets still available?

Yes. Vivid Seats had 1,407 tickets available Monday afternoon online.

The most expensive was $14,807 to sit in EverBank Stadium's East Suite. The proletariat prices ranged considerably less, though still not necessarily for the weak of heart. They start at $214 for standing room and quickly escalate to $326 and up to sit in lower and upper seats.

The cost of a ticket to sit closer to the field ranged from $559 to $2,992.

There appeared to be even more tickets available at Stub Hub, and at comparable prices. So if there's a will – and enough $$$ in the bank – there could be a way.

The stadium, by the way, has 64,428 seats, but the website indicates expansion to 82,000 is possible.

If sightlines from the ticket you've purchased at inflated prices aren't  great, the two giant screens at either end of the field may help.

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If I decide to go, how am I going to get there?

Driving could be an option. The road trip from Buffalo to Jacksonville is 1,038 miles. Google maps clocks that out to 15 hours and 16 minutes. Parking at the stadium is priced at $49, so factor that in along with meals and a probable one-night hotel stay when adding up the costs.

Not up for that?

Flights on less than a week's notice aren't going to be cheap.

Southwest Airlines – they of the free baggage, though in sunny Florida there's less of a need to pack a lot – is sold out for Friday and Saturday, so they're not going to help unless you're able to make a mini-vacation out of the trip.

Delta has flights from Buffalo, and prices Monday for Saturday departures ranged from $544 to $1,171. But that includes a return trip Monday, since Sunday's return flights were too close to the end of the Bills game to allow getting to the airport on time. And that means absorbing the cost of two hotel nights, not one.

Amtrak goes from Buffalo to Jacksonville. Because there aren't the early check-in requirements, it's possible to traverse the 8 miles from the stadium to the train station for the 5:07 p.m. departure.

But the rest of the story isn't so good. The roundtrip cost of $826 and the sheer amount of travel time – 28 hours, 14 minutes to get there, and 27 hours , 55 minutes to return, not counting delays for the chronically late service –  stacks up as a big deterrent.

Where should I stay?

A check on the Trivago website found a number of hotels available within close distance. The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 1 mile from the Jaguars' home, was asking $138 for a room Monday. The Hilton Garden Inn, 1.2 miles from the stadium, sought $189.

Cut-rate hotels EconoLodge, at $75, and Days Inn, at $64, were available 4 miles from the stadium.

Will I be assaulted if I wear a Bills jersey in Jacksonville?

OK, half-kidding here. The Jaguars ranked 29th in attendance in the NFL last year, and Bleacher Report puts the Jacksonville stadium next to last in atmosphere.

So, the relative apathy at games means there aren't many diehards likely to freak out at the sight of invading fans.

It probably doesn't hurt to know that 3,736 assaults were committed in Jacksonville last year, nearly double the national average based on population. On the other hand, Jacksonville is a big city. Some 880,619 people at last count lived on 874 square miles, making Jacksonville the largest city by total land mass in the contiguous United States.

Besides, Tim Tebow and Ray Charles were born there. How unwelcoming can it be?

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