Travel tips for the holiday season

Prices for US travel this holiday season are set to remain as low as last year's according to preliminary predictions from online travel metasearch site Bing Travel.

The site's travel experts said that current airfares within the US over Thanksgiving look slightly cheaper than the same period in 2009 (down three percent) and are 13 percent cheaper than the same period in 2008 - a domestic airfare currently averages $310 (€238).

Over Christmas, domestic airfares are up slightly (by 2 percent) on 2009 to $368 (€282), and are even with the 2008 fare.

The most popular Thanksgiving itinerary (Wednesday departure, Sunday return) averages $397 (€304) this year, although Bing said that those who can be flexible can see good savings.

The most popular Christmas itinerary (Thursday departure, Sunday return) is currently priced at $403 (€309) - traveling back on the Saturday can again yield savings of $84 (€64) per ticket.

For travelers keen to make arrangements, Bing says that the first two weeks of October normally see price drops, making them a cheaper time to book.

Although Bestfares publisher Tom Parsons told the Dallas Morning News that no US airline has offered fare sales over the holiday seasons so far, several non-US carriers have done so.

In particular, Australasian carriers Tiger Airways, Virgin Blue and Jetstar are offering fare reductions in online sales that end simultaneously at midnight on Tuesday, September 21 (or when availability ends).

For those looking to enjoy Germany's famous Christmas markets, European train operator Thalys is offering cut-price tickets for travel to Germany from Belgium and France, on sale to the end of the month.