Nightly News   |  September 16, 2012

Hotel prices, air fares fly up

For the first time in more than five years travelers are paying more on average for their hotel rooms – a possible sign that the economy is rebounding. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> now to a sign of the times and the change of advises from travel experts about booking this year's winter vacation compared with last year. act now or you could end up paying the price. we get more now from nbc's michelle franzen .

>> reporter: emily is already planning her get abouts aways this fall. the lifestyle blogger is used to searching for the best deals, but this year she has noticed a change when it comes to hotels.

>> what i'm finding universally is that they're just really expensive, and they're more expensive than i remember them being in the last few years.

>> reporter: she's right. for the first time in five years travellers are paying more on average for their hotel rooms . globally prices rose 4% the first half of this year. they were up 5% in north america . signs, experts say, the economy is rebounding from the recession and as with higher airfares, demand is driving up room rates.

>> it's the first time that meter has moved in years, and so what we can say is the economy is getting healthier. it's good news.

>> reporter: despite higher prices, travel from business to pleasure is up across the board. in new york city a record 50 million tourists made the big apple their destination last year. hotels are still competing for customers, and adding extra perks during the stay, but gone, say experts, are the days of bargain rates.

>> the deals are still out there, but travel experts say there's been a big shift on how to get them. the best advice now, don't wait until the last minute.

>> right now you want to book as far in advance as possible, so what we're seeing is people are booking two to four months in advance on average. holiday travel, for example, people are booking now.

>> reporter: new rules, emily is starting to realize, as they continues her search for the right hotel at the right price. michelle franzen , nbc news, morning.