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December 05, 2016

This story originally appeared on Businessinsider.com

When busy people go on vacation, they're often looking to put their feet up, catch up on sleep, and just generally enjoy being somewhere else for a spell. 

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But in addition to the mental break, it seems more and more likely that what well-heeled travelers value is the chance to have a truly authentic experience, wherever they're headed on vacation.

When the rewards-focused travel portal American Express Travel surveyed 1,540 affluent American adults — defined as having an annual household income of at least $100,000 — it found that 81% valued having a personalized experience over anything else in their travel itineraries. 73% of those surveyed said they would be willing to exceed their budget to have a unique local experience when they travel, and more than half said they would splurge to enjoy the cuisine of a particular destination. 

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And when it comes to where affluent travelers want to stay when they vacation, it seems that cookie-cutter hotel rooms are out, and authentic flavors are in. 

"We see lifestyle-inspired, design-focused hotels increasing on the consumer wish list and in fact, are seeing a more than 30% spike in bookings for these type of hotels in the US for 2017," said Claire Bennett, executive vice president of American Express Travel. 

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Travelers want to sample a destination's food, take in its art scene, and go out where the locals do. And with the rise of Airbnb — which launched its travel agent-like Trips feature in November — travelers in the know can do this with ease. Trips offers two services for now: Experiences, like going truffle hunting or driving classic cars, which are led by locals, and Places, which are recommendations from local residents. Airbnb plans to add Flights and Services in the near future.

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