Scarborough Research took an in-depth look at the domestic travel habits of Americans and found that 21 percent in 74 cities are frequent domestic travelers, taking five or more overnight trips, either by air, land or sea, within the continental U.S. during February 2001 to March 2002.

The two U.S. cities with the most frequent domestic travelers, Scarborough found, were Atlanta and Austin, TX, both at 28 percent. Charlotte was a close second, tied at 27 percent with Dallas and Mobile, AL.

Other top cities were Portland, OR, and Washington, DC, with 26 percent and Greensboro, Minneapolis, Boston and San Francisco, all four of which were at 25 percent. Raleigh-Durham and Greenville, SC, both came in with 24 percent, and Charleston, SC, registered 20 percent.

Scarborough, based in New York, reported the national average for the 74 cities at 21 percent.

Those in Buffalo, NY, were the least likely travel, at 14 percent. Other such cities included Louisville, KY, at 16 percent, and Wilkes-Barre,PA and El Paso, TX, both 17 percent.

Metropolitan cities such as New York and Los Angeles also ranked well below the national average, with only 18 percent of consumers in these markets qualifying as frequent domestic travelers.

Scarborough found that frequent travelers are 17 percent more likely then the average adult to be white-collar workers and 12 percent more likely to be men; 38 percent have annual household incomes of $75,000 plus; 25 percent are single; college grads are 29 percent more likely than average adult to make frequent domestic journeys, while those with post-graduate degrees are 50 percent more likely then the norm to do the same.

“Scarborough found that markets with a high percentage of frequent travelers have bigger families and higher household incomes,” Alisa Joseph, vice president and director of sales and advertiser marketing services at Scarborough Research, said in a statement. “Additionally, frequent travelers have a tendency to work for large companies in those markets. Types of professions also seem to be a factor, particularly in the engineering, sales, financial and computer-related industries.”

Scarborough determined that frequent travelers are more likely to visit certain hot spots, such as New York City (more than twice as likely); Los Angeles (79 percent more likely); Orlando (65 percent more likely); and the Las Vegas strip (62 percent more likely).

Furthermore, frequent travelers are 85 percent more likely than the general population to snow ski, 43 percent more likely to go camping, and 29 percent more likely to go bicycling. Almost half (48 percent) have attended a professional sports event in the past 12 months, 34 percent have seen a live theater performance, and 18 percent have attended a rock concert.

“In this challenging economy, gaining insight into consumer activities and travel patterns is especially important because it can help advertisers target domestic travelers more efficiently,” added Joseph. “By building advertising and promotional campaigns around select markets and activities that appeal to frequent travelers, tourist boards, travel agencies and transportation companies can reach high concentrations of people who are already predisposed to taking domestic trips.”

Scarborough: www.scarborough.com