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How the Rich Are Traveling in 2013

The top domestic travel destinations or dream destinations for this group include Hawaii, New York City and Napa Valley.

While it might seem surprising that New York is among the "dream" travel destinations for such a wealthy segment of the population, Yesawich says there is a distinct reason for this.

"What's happening is, as this population gets older, urban vacations become more popular," Yesawich says. "So when you talk to 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds, they recite beach destinations -- Florida, California. As you get older and your kids are gone, there is more interest in performing arts and those types of vacations."

Another trend captured by the survey is the return to the use of traditional travel agents -- a habit that practically became extinct when sites such as Expedia (EXPE), Travelocity and Orbitz (OWW) became dominant. But about 18% of the wealthy survey participants used travel agents last year. And 23% intend to use travel agents during 2013.

The expertise and insider's knowledge about destinations and accommodations that a travel agent delivers is a large part of this shift in behavior. About 59% of the wealthy survey respondents relied on travel agents to help select lodging, 48% used an agent to book a vacation package, 42% sought an agent for help selecting a destination and 37% used a travel agent to select a cruise line.

"They are happy to pay a [travel agent] fee to someone who has an enlightened perspective," Yesawich explains of the return to such

Still, only one out of four of among the wealthy respondents are using travel agents, Yesawich says.

Multigenerational travel is another strong trend identified by the survey. About 46% of wealthy respondents traveled with their grandchildren on a leisure trip last year. And 63% said the grandchildren's parents came along, for a three-generation trip.

The popularity of cruises is also exploding among this segment of the population, Yesawich says. About 39% said they are "very" or "extremely" interested in taking a cruise in the next two years.

"There's a couple of reasons for this," Yesawich says. "The travel experience is easier on the body. You are catered to from sunup to sundown. The accommodations are superb. The food and beverage out of this world. And you wake up every day in a different place."

It's worth noting however, that when the wealthy talk about going on a cruise, they're not talking about the massive cruise ships that carry thousands of people.

"This crowd is far more interested small ship cruising -- the 400-person cruise ship," Yesawich says.
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