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Essential ingredient for travel: shopping

Adventure vacations have been among the hottest trends in travel. Travel agents seem more apt to trumpet a day hike up an active volcano than a weekend stroll with Mickey at Disney World.

According to a new study, however, Americans might prefer combing through a giant shopping mall to either of the above.

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A Travel Industry Association of America survey indicates more than half of all US travelers who included shopping as an activity on a trip last year said shopping was the primary or secondary purpose of one or more of their trips.

And, for the most part, they aren't buying only trinkets and mementos. Some 77 percent of shopping travelers spent money on clothes or shoes, while 49 percent purchased souvenirs.

Shopping malls, not craft fairs or historic downtown strips, are the preferred venue for making a purchase. Travelers reported spending an average of $333 on their recent trips.

What else Americans bought on vacation:

* 42 percent bought books or music.

* 23 percent, home accessories or furniture.

* 15 percent, artwork.

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* 7 percent, camping equipment.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor