Fares for Thanksgiving are up 31 percent from 2007, while Christmas and New Year's fares are up 30 percent, according to Live Search Farecast.
"The combination of high fuel prices, airline capacity and route cuts means holiday travelers may easily spend upwards of $100 more per ticket than last year," said Joel Grus, a spokesman for Farecast at farecast.live.com. "There are deals out there for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they're few and far between, and won't last long."
Farecast's data found that nationally, average costs for the most popular Thanksgiving itinerary, a Wednesday departure-Sunday return, is $490, up $66 from last year.
Travelers returning on Monday or Tuesday can save more than $90 per ticket.
The Web site found Christmas and New Year's fares averaging a little less than Thanksgiving fares, at $420.
Grus noted that fees for baggage, food and other extras that used to be free may send your travel costs even higher.
Tips from Farecast for finding bargains:
• Travelers flying to and from major airports may see price drops this fall, but those using smaller regional airports are more affected by airline capacity cuts and should not wait as prices are unlikely to go down.
• If you're staying in a hotel rather than with family, you may be able to offset air fare increases with cheaper hotels. Farecast found some hotels in vacation destinations like Hawaii and Florida are reducing rates so much that the combined cost of air and lodging was no more than last year's.
Floridians skiing in Vail
Florida Ski Adventures will be hitting the slopes in Vail, Colo., in January for the group's annual ski trip.
From Jan. 18-25, skiers will stay at the Vail Cascade Resort, a four-star ski-in, ski-out hotel. Prices vary for the seven-night, six-day skiing trip, topping out at $1,599 for lodging and a direct flight from Tampa to Vail. Cost is $1,399 for lodging and flight from Tampa to Denver with motor coach to Vail. The ground-only package is $1,099.
For more information, go to www.flskiadv.com.
Paddling festival in Lee County
The third annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival is Oct. 25 to Nov. 2 in Lee County's waterfront communities, including Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel and Captiva islands.
Paddlers, competitors, families and outdoor enthusiasts from across the country are expected to attend this eco-event. Acitivities include competitive canoe/kayak races, a pro-am kayak fishing tournament, paddling clinics and demonstrations, seminars, family activities, archaeological and environmental events, guided tours and a speakers' series along the Great Calusa Blueway, a nearly 200-mile marked paddling trail.
For more information, go to www. calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com.
Reducing Grand Canyon traffic
The National Park Service is considering allowing additional passenger trains to the Grand Canyon in an effort to reduce vehicle traffic at the South Rim.
Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which owns the Grand Canyon Railway, currently operates two-day trips from Williams, Ariz., to the Grand Canyon.
Under the proposal, up to 1,046 people could board in Williams for a third round-trip offered by Grand Canyon Railway. The Park Service also wants to add an evening trip from the South Rim that would take up to 322 passengers a short distance outside the park.
Some 4.5-million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. More than 230,000 of them arrived by train last year.
Fall fun in Charleston
If you're visiting Charleston, S.C., this fall, here are a few places to consider visiting to celebrate the harvest season.
The Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch in Mount Pleasant is open throughout October, offering hayrides, kettle corn, pumpkin-picking and Happy Jack, an animated talking pumpkin. Details at www.boonehallplantation.com.
You'll find a corn maze, scarecrow contests, hayrides, apple slingshot contests, a petting zoo and more at West Farm, in Moncks Corner. Details at www.westfarmcornmaze.com.
A little bit later in the season, every Saturday in November, Middleton Place offers "Plantation Days," where craft workers demonstrate the skills practiced by slaves at harvesttime. Details at www.middletonplace.org.
Compiled from Times staff, wires