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Price of travel increasing following lift of COVID restrictions

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(CBS) - With most COVID restrictions lifted, millions of people are looking to travel again.

Gina Kramer and her daughter Frankie recently flew into southern California to visit family they weren't able to see during the pandemic. "I haven't seen my family that lived here in three years, four years," Kramer says. It's gonna be a family reunion of sorts."

But the Kramers trip is coming at a higher cost because oil prices are making jet fuel more expensive. That has ticket prices soaring.

Hopper reports the average cost for domestic airfares in March is around $311, up 31.8% from the beginning of the year. Gina saw those increases while shopping for her ticket online. "If you missed a window two days later the prices were like $100 more," she says.

Even with the higher prices, a new survey from American Express Travel finds 72% of Americans plan to travel more this year. That rise in demand is pushing up prices for just about everything travel-related.

"Domestic bookings are surging, hotel rates are going up, nearing 2019 levels," says CBS News senior travel adviser Peter Greenberg. He says national park reservations are in high demand, and cruise ships are filling up as people put more importance on travel.

American Express Travel found 65% of people would rather take a dream vacation than purchase a new car. "People are now valuing travel as an experience they want to keep and that's what they're doing," Greenberg says.

Samantha Strobl-Engler, a traveler and a mother, agrees. "We've missed out on so much. I think, you know, being a parent to young kids during this time, it's like you wanna give them that experience again, you wanna show them the world again," she says.

Experts say Americans who plan to travel should book quickly because it's likely rates will continue to go up.

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Mercedes Martinez

Mercedes Martinez joined the KSWT team as anchor/producer in October 2020. You can catch her on 13 On Your Side at 4:00pm.

Reach out to Mercedes at mercedes.martinez@kecytv.com.

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