Home & Leisure

Natasha Frost: Vacation destination as home? Think like a resident

Natasha Frost, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

You and your spouse visited Savannah, Ga., for a weekend, fell in love, and it's become your go-to getaway. And why not? The city boasts world class restaurants and culture, Southern charm and bed-and-breakfasts, and boutique hotels and Airbnbs that could grace the cover of a design magazine.

A life transition approaches -- retirement, say, or the luxury of truly working remotely -- and the two of you decide it's time to buy in Savannah and live there full time.

Might be the most brilliant decision ever. Or it might be a big mistake, because being a resident of a popular vacation destination is altogether different from making brief visits. The numbers don't matter so much when you're visiting, but here's how they stack up for Savannah full-timers: 14.5 million visitors a year, according to its tourism board, outnumbering the 150,000 residents nearly 100 to 1. Savannah is the nation's second most visited city per capita, according to my math.

Here are the top 10. And in every one of these cities, some portion of the full-time populace is represented at the final stage of the Doxey Irritation Index, or "irridex," when cranky locals have been over-touristed.

City/Visitors per capita

Orlando, Fla. 262.50


Savannah, Ga. 99.32

St. Louis, Mo. 81.13

Anaheim, Calif. 69.32

Las Vegas, Nev. 65.37


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