Jingle the keys, ask the neighbor to pick up the mail, and put the lights on timer -- it seems people have quit cocooning and are getting out and about again.

Today, Marriott International (NYSE:MAR) reported it had reversed last year's fourth-quarter loss to show a profit, and judging by its upbeat predictions for the coming year, the traveler -- both leisure and business -- is packing up and shipping out again. The company reported net income of $169 million, or $0.69 per share, as compared to a loss of $37 million, or $0.15 a share in the year-ago quarter. The hotelier's revenues increased 6.4% to $2.87 billion.

However, Marriott's numbers included a $36 million boost from an insurance payment related to the Sept. 11 loss of its World Trade Center hotel, as well as a $0.12 per share gain from its synthetic fuels business.

Lots of people are expecting the travel industry to heat up, and signs seem to be pointing in that direction. Yesterday, Fool Rex Moore discussedInterActive Corp. (NASDAQ:IACI), which owns Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, and Expedia. That company's travel-related revenues flew 41% higher. Both InterActive and travel-sector rival Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) have been stepping up advertising efforts to lure all that returning business.

Meanwhile, Hilton Hotels (NYSE:HLT) recently reported what seemed to be similarly improving fortunes, although they included a tough first quarter.

When it comes to revenues per available room, or RevPAR, rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts' (NYSE:HOT) forecasts lead the pack. Last week, that company said it sees its RevPAR increasing 5% to 6%, compared to 3% to 4% projections from both Marriott and Hilton.

The good news is that there is more and more proof that the reluctant-traveling mentality of last three years of is over -- something investors have anticipated for months now. As such, shares of all three hotel chains are trading toward the high ends of their 52-week ranges, giving investors some room to doubt that now's the time to buy in.

Have you caught the travel bug? Check out all the resources available in the Fool's Travel Center -- we have clean restrooms!

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. She welcomes your feedback via email.