EXOTIC LOCATIONS FAIL TO SEND MANY VACATIONERS

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When it comes to vacations Americans prefer luxury, convenience and predictability to exotica, according to the sixth Life-scapes online poll through American Dialogue.

Some 87% would rather cruise to nowhere (with three-plus regal meals a day) than camp near a large, clear lake (13%). And 65% would prefer a grandiose buffet breakfast to a continental breakfast in bed (35%). Assuming they'd spend the same amount by a 58% to 42% margin, Lifescapers would prefer an all-inclusive package to doling out expenses as they go.

They'd also prefer to get something for nothing-and sometimes help themselves to it: 57% admit they've taken a robe, ashtray or other item from their hotel room; 13% have put hotel purchases on their expense account.

Americans plan their vacations way ahead and 52% actually enjoy the process; 14% would go anywhere as long as they don't have to make arrangements. Some 15% do no research-preferring to discover the place "on the road." Recommendations from friends or family are the prime influence.

For 34% summer IS vacation season; 26% pick fall, 21% spring and 19% winter. Twelve days is their ideal length of stay. If they had to pay travel agents a fee, only 19% would still use one. By a 60% to 40% margin they prefer a better view to a better room.

Among the most used words to describe their optimal luxurious setting were "lush," "breezy" and "salty air"; and it wouldn't be a vacation without lots of fresh fruit, "light food" and "great soft beds." Also, they say, throw in whirlpools and hot tubs in the room.

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