Looking for that sweet holiday travel deal - Curt Yeomans

'Tis the season for cheap holiday travel deals. FaLaLaLaLa, LaLa-La-La.

Want a great holiday gift for someone? From now, until Monday, some European air lines are dishing out sweet deals on air fare for travel to, and from, the U.S.

It's all a part of some airlines' holiday/seasonal/end-of-the-year travel sales. Honestly, the deals can't be beat, because many of the tickets cost less than -- or at least just over -- $500, round trip, AFTER fees are included.

Irish airline, Aer Lingus, for example, has one-way airfare to Europe, beginning at $169 each way. The only catch is the flights only leave the U.S., out of New York City, Chicago, Boston and Orlando, and the prices only apply to flights scheduled between January and March 2011.

Qualifying flights go to London, Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Milan, Dublin (Ireland), Edinburgh (Scotland), Glasgow (Scotland), Manchester (England), Birmingham (England), Cardiff (Wales), Warsaw (Poland), and Krakow (Poland).

The cheapest flight is New York to Dublin, for $169 each way. The most expensive airfare is Orlando to Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, for $259 each way.

Icelandair has some cheap, round-trip fares out of Boston, New York City and Seattle, to Reykjavik (Iceland), London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Glasgow, Manchester, and Oslo (Norway), for as little as $389, and as much as $669. Those prices do not include taxes and fees, though.

Don't worry about getting to those U.S. cities from which these deals are offered. I'll get to the issue of getting there in a bit.

British Airways has got round-trip tickets from Atlanta, to London, for $466 per person, between January and March.

Take it from someone who has traveled to Europe a few times -- you really won't be able to beat those prices. Not in a million years.

Although it is not to Europe, Delta Air Lines does have some deals on flights from Atlanta to destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America, with prices falling in the $189-$449-each-way price range. These tickets must also be purchased by Monday.

But, if you're looking for a way to get to some of those U.S. cities that have great deals to Europe, there are also great deals to get you to those cities. Air Tran Airways has some nice domestic fares, including flights to Orlando for $59, to Chicago for $64, to Boston for $79, to New York for $84, and Seattle for $129. Those prices are for one-way tickets.

Also, keep in mind that you may have to change airports in some of cities to catch your Europe-bound flights, so you need to build plenty of time into your schedule for going from one airport to another. Make sure you check before you buy your tickets to see which airports you'll need for your Europe-bound flights, and which you'll be flying into on Air Tran.

Perhaps, you are looking for a deal on hotels as well. Several European Airlines are offering deals on hotel rooms, and even airfare-hotel packages. If you are planning to stay in the U.S., or the Caribbean, or South America between now and Jan. 3, 2011, check out Hotels.com this weekend, to take advantage of its Winter sale, with hotel prices cut as much as 30 percent. The rooms must be booked by Dec. 27, however.

So, take a little bit of time this weekend and indulge either yourself, or a loved one, with the Christmas present of a cheap vacation.

You'll thank yourself come the start of spring.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.