By the Numbers: How much will Holiday travel cost you in 2012

It's that time of year when holiday decorations go up and so does the price of travel. According to and American Express Publishing, 68 percent of Americans will travel this holiday season.  It’s estimated they will spend an average of almost $2,500 to get out of town. 

Statistics show that 71 percent think the cost of travel has risen since 2011... and they're right.  Airfare has gone up the most. It’s sky-rocketed 8 percent since last year. If New York is where you're going home for your holiday cheer, expect to pay about 5 percent more. Airfare to the Big Apple over the holidays costs on average $406. 

New York is the second most popular destination on Orbitz, trailing behind the family favorite destination of Orlando.  One reason the mouse-friendly burgh took the top spot is that prices have dipped by about 4 percent for flying and 7 percent for hotels.

Not sure when to travel? The most expensive days are Dec. 22, 23 and 26 so you might want to travel around those dates if you can.  If you have no choice and have to leave Saturday, Dec. 22, and return the following Saturday you can expect to pay 27 percent more. 

But if you can leave later, says you can save up to 21 percent by departing on Christmas day and returning on Friday, Dec. 28,  

The same money-saving rules apply if you're traveling overseas.  You can save at least 20 percent by flying on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

If you're doing highways instead of flyways, be ready for a bump at the pump. The national average for a gallon of gas is about $3.38 a gallon. This is up 10.5 cents or 3 percent from last year. 

Despite all the price increases, only 12 percent of Americans plan to cut back on holiday travel this season.    The Griswald family would be proud!

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