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Good luck on trying to find last-minute deals for any holiday travel this year. Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, says, “This is probably going to be the highest-priced holiday fares we’ve seen in the last decade.”

The average ticket cost for the US and Caribbean is already up 9.4% over last Thanksgiving. Prices for Christmas week are up more than 7% to an average of $337.

What’s the reason behind the airfare hike this year? Travel experts blame it on mergers and consolidated airlines over the past couple years, which has forced some carriers to cut back on flights to many cities. This is the first time that planes are flying at 85% load factor — essentially full — since 1945. And today, more people are competing for fewer seats.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this year’s trend seems to be travel to warm weather destinations. So don’t expect any cuts in airfare prices anytime soon. Flights to Tampa are up more than 15%; Atlanta almost 14%; and South Florida more than 11%. Other high-priced travel destinations include New York City, Chicago, DC, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Travelers should keep these quick travel tips in mind to save money:

- Book now and don’t procrastinate.
- Travel early in the morning on less popular days.
- Travel on Thanksgiving Day and return on Friday or Saturday instead of on Sunday.
- Travel on Christmas morning.
- Pack light and don’t check your bags.
- Travel abroad for Thanksgiving when most flights to Europe are not as full.
- Book travel the week after Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

2 Responses

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Kwin MosbyKwin is Managing Producer of TravelChannel.com. His multimedia career has included working as a TV news reporter/producer and publications editor. What inspires Kwin to travel? It’s relaxing beach locations, vibrant...

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