Money

A room for August's total eclipse could cost you $1,500 a night—or, in one spot, $120

People watch the solar eclipse on march 20, 2015 in Höfn, South Iceland.
Pall Jokull | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
People watch the solar eclipse on march 20, 2015 in Höfn, South Iceland.

There are only a few spots across the U.S. from which you can get an ideal view of the total solar eclipse on August 21. Hotel rooms in some of those places have been booked years in advance, while others are booting customers with existing reservations and jacking up prices. A place to stay for one night could set you back several hundred, or even over a thousand, dollars.

But in one place, rooms are still available — and they're only going for only $120, plus taxes and the cost of parking. That's at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where there will also be plenty of local and community events.

According to the Southern, "Hotels in Casper, Wyoming, are charging five times their usual rates. Rooms at Idaho's Sun Valley Resort have been booked for years." A house in Casper advertising itself as "an eclipse home near all the amenities" is available for $1,500 a night.

KGW.com reports of eclipse-related chaos in Portland, which has led to consumers lodging complaints against nine Oregon hotels with the statewide Department of Justice:

A review of the travel website Expedia shows rooms available at the Liberty Inn on August 20-21, 2017 for $1,000 per night.

KGW tried to speak with employees at the Liberty Inn about cancelations and pricing but was asked to leave the property.

"Everybody is doing it," an employee shouted from the parking lot. "Go on Expedia. Everyone is charging the same amount."

By contrast, Mizzou's pricing has remained stable. In the college equivalent of a side hustle, the university started renting out empty dorm rooms earlier this summer to make some extra cash, and an official at the school has confirmed to CNBC that rooms are still available for August 21 at no extra charge.

Granted, the accommodations are less than luxurious: The school website describes the provided linens as "economy." But each suite, which includes two rooms and four beds, comes with WiFi and towels and, really, for one night, what else do you need?

Especially since, the New York Times reports, "Columbia is lucky to be one of the prime viewing locations where the sun will be completely obscured by the moon."

Enthusiasts predict that August's totality will be "a jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, emotionally-overloading, completely overwhelming spectacle," and say that viewing it from one of the few available vantage points could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, given that this is the first coast-to-coast U.S. solar eclipse in 99 years. Does that make it priceless? Perhaps. It certainly makes it seem like a good bargain at $120.

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