Even Johnny Carson's all-knowing Carnac would have had trouble predicting how much travel to Europe could cost next year. But this is the time that travel industry prognosticators like to dust off their crystal balls and issue predictions.

Some experts foresee more expensive air fares and hotel costs, others think more trans-Atlantic flight capacity and the entry of low-fare players will keep costs down, and still others believe that the U.S. dollar, finally somewhat stable after three years of being hammered by the pound and the euro, has room to regain some lost ground.

American Express recently issued its annual business travel forecast. It foresees increases of as much as 6 percent in trans-Atlantic Business-Class fares. Hotel rates, especially in major cities, also are likely to increase. AmEx predicts, for example, that London hotel prices--already so expensive that even the federal government allows $274 per day for lodging--will rise as much as 15 percent.

"It's a combination of occupancy and capacity," says Ruth Philpott, director of hotel procurement for EClipse Advisors, a division of American Express.

Get the full story at the Chicago Tribune