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oct 25 2009

Video: Thanksgiving travel forecast

Travel trends are easy to spot—in hindsight.

The sour economy was sure to put a damper on summer travel, as consumers cut back their spending. But what's in store for Thanksgiving holiday travel?

Nearly 20 percent of people who traveled last year plan to stay home this year, says a recent survey by American Express.

Fares are about the same as they were last year. But surcharges and fees are higher. If you're traveling the Sunday after Thanksgiving, expect to pay a $10 "holiday travel surcharge" for the privilege.

Another factor: You'll face new and growing fees for checked baggage—which earned the airlines an extra $1 billion so far this year. The typical fee for checking a bag is $15 each way. (See a list of baggage fees by airline at Airfarewatchdog.)

Airlines have cut flights and routes. That's making planes more crowded, with flights being, on average, 81 percent full in August, according to the International Air Transport Association.

I talked about these trends this morning on an MSNBC interview today.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News and News about the Economy

Looking ahead to next year, the price of an economy class ticket in the U.S. and Canada is expected to rise by between 2 and 7 percent, compared with this year's cost. Globally, fares for international travel will rise by 6 percent on average. Yet hotel rates will to continue to fall. Rental car rates will remain outrageous.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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