71% of Floridians plan fall trip


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The busy summer travel season is over, but Americans are not putting their luggage away just yet, but 71 percent of Floridians are planning an overnight vacation this Fall, according to a recent AAA consumer pulse survey.

"Autumn is a popular time to travel north to enjoy cooler weather and see the leaves change," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. "It can also be a more affordable time to travel as prices tend to be lower, because students are back in school."

Nearly half of consumers polled (46 percent) say they prefer off-season travel. Forty-percent are very likely to take an off-season vacation in the next six months.

Half of travelers surveyed (51 percent) plan to take a vacation October-December.
Most travel plans (84 percent) keep Floridians within the United States, with the common budget (34 percent) being $501-$1,000. 

Forty-three percent of travelers will fly, while almost half (47 percent) will take advantage of low gas prices and drive. Those traveling in the next three months will likely find the cheapest gas prices for this time of year since 2004.

  • Prefer off-season travel (September-October, January-Febrary:  46 percent
  • Prefer peak season travel (March-August, November-December): 9 percent
  • No preference: 45 percent

"Driving may be the most cost-effective option for travelers heading north to see the leaves change," Jenkins said. "Low oil prices have pushed pump prices down, and gasoline could get another 10-20 cents cheaper as supplies rise and demand dips."

When considering a flight, half of Florida travelers say they are more likely to drive now that gasoline is cheaper than last year. However, the cost of gas is not the most important factor in travelers' decision to take a flight.

Top things Florida travelers consider when deciding whether to fly:

  • Cost of airfare: 64 percent
  • Trip distance/length: 62 percent
  • Amount of luggage: 27%)
  • Gas prices: 26 percent
  • Number of travelers: 17 percent
  • Traveling with pets: 13 percent
  • Afraid of flying: 7 percent

  • Flying, however, may be the best option for the 16 percent of Floridians planning to travel internationally in the next three months. When given the choice of two continents

    Floridians want to travel the most, the selections were made in the following order:

  • Europe: 61 percent
  • North America: 52 percent
  • Australia: 24 percent
  • Asia: 15 percent
  • South America: 14 percent
  • Africa: 6 percent
  • Antarctica: 3 percent

  • "Europe remains a top destination, because travelers can experience something new every time they visit," Jenkins said. "Popular cities like Rome and Paris are absolutely beautiful in the autumn months as they are less crowded and temperatures turn cooler. Return travelers and first timers can get expert advice from travel agents like the ones at AAA, who provide first-hand knowledge that will help Floridians travel like a tourist or a local."

    About the Author: