The Fareologists at Bing Travel have issued their preliminary forecast for the 2011 holiday travel season, predicting some holiday cheer for travelers when they see that domestic airfare and hotel prices are expected to drop slightly this winter.
Compared with last year, domestic airfare is expected to 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.
Although the U.S. forecast is looking steady, international travel is predicted to be at a premium this holiday. Overall, holiday flights to Asia are averaging $1,226 — a 15 percent increase from last year’s average of $1,063. Routes to Europe have also increased nearly 9 percent — from $860 in 2010 to an average of $936 this year.
“Given this summer’s sharp increases, it’s a relief to see travel prices normalize this holiday,” said Kari Dilloo of Bing Travel. “Travelers looking to stay in the U.S. should be able to find some great deals this holiday, but those people planning travel to Europe or Asia will likely face a different story unless they plan ahead.”
While the overall travel forecast is looking relatively merry this season, the biggest savings lie in the hands of those willing to let the destination and date dictate their holiday travel plans, suggests Bing.
Bing Travel offers tools and tips that travelers need to help save time and money on their travel. Bing Travel helps people make smart travel decisions with Price Predictor, an airfare prediction tool that shows whether the lowest fares appear to be rising or dropping and provides recommendations on whether to buy immediately or wait.
By analyzing more than 225 billion airfare observations, Bing Travel can give you a recommendation complete with confidence level and expected price increase or decrease over the next seven days, says the company.
The Bing Travel Hotel Rate Indicator helps consumers know at a glance if the offered rate for a hotel 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.
Travelers also can use the Bing Travel Wish List Facebook app to help fuel their travel dreams and start the planning process. The app allows people to track, share and compare travel ideas with friends through a personal Wish List on Facebook and, simultaneously, get information and images through Bing Travel.
The Bing flexible search option helps travelers with a bit of wiggle room, visually laying out the cheapest times and destinations for your upcoming travel plans and allowing you to filter search results based on your specific preferences. More information is available at http://www.bing.com/travel.