Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving and Christmas Airfare and hotel prices down in U.S.

Holiday travel is just around the corner. To help you plan your trips, the Fareologists at Bing Travel have issued a preliminary forecast for the 2011 holiday travel season.

Good news for travelers flying
home for the holidays
Travelers in the U.S. can expect holiday cheer as airfare and hotel prices are expected to drop slightly. Compared with last year, domestic airfare should be down 1.4 percent overall, with tickets averaging $302, as opposed to $306 last holiday. Holiday hotel costs are staying virtually flat for three- and-four- star hotels, but five-star hotels are down 8 percent from last year—making luxury more affordable this season.While the U.S. forecast is turning up, spending the holidays abroad will come at a premium this year. Overall, holiday flights to Asia have increased 15 percent from last year’s average. Routes to Europe have increased nearly 9 percent. Madrid has the lowest fare at $780, but that’s still a 12 percent increase from last year.  This may be the year to enjoy destinations closer to home.

Celebrate in the sun

Those willing to let the destination and date dictate their holiday travel plans will see the biggest savings, so be flexible and follow the deals. Warm weather destinations are extra cheap this holiday season, with airfares to Ft. Lauderdale down 21 percent from last year and hotels in Las Vegas down almost 16 percent. For travelers willing to skip a white Christmas, here are five low-priced warm-weather routes to consider:
Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale: $185 in 2010; $165 in 2011
Dallas Fort Worth to Houston: $148 in 2010; to 168 in 2011
Arlington to Fort Lauderdale: $232 in 2010; $184 in 2011
New York (LGA) to Fort Lauderdale: $192 in 2010; $194 in 2011
New York (JFK) to Miami: $234 in 2010; $195 in 2011

Affordable hotel stays

The biggest savings were found on luxury hotels in Cancun, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and New York City. Across 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, the best hotel values can be found in the following destinations (average rates quoted):
Las Vegas: $189.65 in 2010; $159.82 in 2011
New York: $489.14 in 2010; $417.98 in 2011
Cancun: $142.66 in 2010; $125.27 in 2011
Washington, DC: $382.10 in 2010; $339.85 in 2011

Bing Travel can help
Bing Travel helps people make smart travel decisions with Price Predictor, a tool that shows whether the lowest fares appear to be rising or dropping, and provides recommendations on whether to buy immediately or wait. The Hotel Rate Indicator helps consumers know quickly if the offered rate is a good deal based on historical rates. Rate Indicator is available for more than 5,000 hotels in 30 major cities across the country for reservations up to 90 days in the future.

Bing’s Flexible Search option helps travelers with some wiggle room, visually laying out the cheapest times and destinations for upcoming travel and allowing you to filter search results based upon your specific preferences. Sometimes, saving money is as simple as adjusting departure dates or flying into an unexpected connection city. For example, Thanksgiving is traditionally a busy travel week, but leaving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and returning the Sunday after could save you 8 percent compared to a Tuesday to Sunday trip.

Information provided by Kari Dilloo, Bing

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