Thousands of Florida-Bound Car Travelers Turn to Cost2Drive.com for Help Planning Trips as Gas Prices Reach Historic Highs
As travelers begin planning their winter vacations in earnest, each week thousands are turning to our popular fuel calculator website and iPhone app for help planning their car trips as gas prices reach historic highs for this time of year. Visits to Cost2Drive.com have doubled as a result and so we decided to examine over 10,000 trips entered on the site during the first week of January to find out where all these travelers are heading in the new year.
The Migration Pattern of the Snowbird
It turns out that over 20% of all the trips entered on Cost2Drive.com in the first week of 2012 have somewhere in Florida as the destination. So where are all these sun worshipers coming from? Most are snowbirds coming from the Midwest and Northeast driving down to Florida to escape the long cold winters up north. New York was the state with the largest volume of routes representing 11% of all Florida-bound trips, followed by Michigan at 7% and Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, all at 6%.
Car travelers from Boston, New Jersey and Texas represented 5% of all Florida-bound routes, followed by road trippers from Wisconsin, Indiana and neighboring state Georgia at 4% each.
Top Florida Destinations
The top Florida destinations being searched on Cost2Drive are pretty much the ones you’d expect, with Orlando (and Walt Disney World) capturing the majority of traveler interest as 40% of all the Florida-bound routes had Orlando, Disney World or Kissimmee as the destination.
The destination rankings break down as follows:
- Orlando/Kissimmee: 40%
- Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 16%
- Tampa/Saint Petersburg/Clearwater: 11%
- The Florida Panhandle (Pensacola/Panama City): 8%
- Northeast Coast (Jacksonville, Daytona Beach): 7%
- Naples/Fort Myers: 7%
- Cape Canaveral/Palm Bay: 4%
- Florida Keys/Key West: 3%
- Sarasota/Bradenton: 3%
- All Others: 1%
The Atlantic versus the Gulf Coast
It’s common knowledge that you can determine the destination of a Florida-bound snowbird by its departure location, with Northeastern snowbirds alighting on the rough Atlantic coast while the Midwestern snowbirds prefer the calmer shores of the Gulf of Mexico. We decided to test this hypothesis to see if the trips entered on Cost2Drive followed this same pattern.
We were delighted to learn that our results validated the hypothesis as the Midwestern Snowbirds were more likely to choose a Gulf Coast destination whereas the Northeastern Snowbirds were more likely to choose the Atlantic Coast. We were surprised, however, to discover that Midwestern Snowbirds were also more likely to choose a Gulf Coast destination over Orlando/Disney World whereas Northeastern Snowbirds prefer Orlando over Atlantic Coast destinations by a fairly wide margin.
What’s your favorite Florida destination?
(no snowbirds were harmed in the undertaking of this study)