The holidays are just around the corner, and if you're anything like us, you’re probably hoping you won’t have to pay an arm and a turkey leg to get home to celebrate. Happily, the travel forecast for 2009 is looking much merrier than that of 2008’s “bah humbug” holiday season, when the cost for airline travel soared in the face of the unfolding economic crisis, sky-high fuel costs, severe capacity cuts, and the introduction of a slew of then unheard-of airline fees. With at least jet-fuel prices presently back down to a digestible level, industry experts have analyzed holiday airfare rates to be anywhere from 7 to 20 percent cheaper than they were last year. Perfect timing for the recession-hit, once-reluctant travelers who are slowly edging their way back into the market. Still, don’t expect bargain-basement fares for this premium travel period and, by all means, leave procrastination to only the most coolheaded of gamblers. Savings are slimming as the holidays near, and with the copious number of routes that have been grounded since last year (in response to the recession), there are fewer seats for sale – and less desperation on behalf of the airlines to fill them.
Though finding decent Thanksgiving deals this late in the game won't exactly be a turkey shoot, there’s still hope for those of you who act before October’s end, when things will really get hairy; ditto for travelers who get to booking no later than mid-November for the December holidays. Gobble up some of the best fares out there by referencing these 10 money-saving tips for booking holiday flights, and then compare airline rates online via ShermansTravel's nifty QuickSearch tool. Here's to a merry money-saving holiday!