"January is still a question mark," said Fabio Cannavale, chief executive of Bravofly, one of three biggest European online booking agencies, which is selling 2,500 short-distance and 100 long-distance plane tickets a day. "What I expect are very good deals from airlines."

Americans who have yet to book a winter getaway are already benefiting, as hotels, airlines and cruise operators introduce last-minute deals to entice vacationers.

Holidays are the busiest time of year for most travel companies, a season when they command the highest rates for popular winter destinations.

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