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Prices for Europe summer travel soar

This year, many Americans' summer vacation fantasies of wine tastings in Burgundy, London pub crawls, and grand tours of Italy may need to be deferred. According to an Associated Press (AP) article, travelers heading across the pond this summer will be confronted with airfare prices two or three times higher than what they are now—in addition to an already weak dollar, higher hotel rates, and soaring fuel costs.

The AP article was prompted by news that American and Northwest would be adding an extra $20 in fuel surcharges to Europe round-trip fares, bringing the total fuel surcharge for most Europe flights to $230. To give you some perspective, consider that in the spring of 2005, travel reporters were bemoaning total fuel surcharges of $60 round-trip for Europe flights.

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Today, the airfare prediction site Farecast published some tips for minimizing the cost of Europe summer airfares. Some of the suggestions include waiting to travel until late August or September, booking now or holding out for mid-summer sales in July, and being flexible about which destination you fly to.

I'd say this summer may be a good time for travelers to get better acquainted with the good old U.S. of A. Or, try Central America, where your dollar will go further and you can take advantage of new low-cost carrier service.

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