These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of 407apartments.com or any of our advertising partners.
Orlando is in Central Florida and no surprise to you is central between the other major destinations of Florida such as Miami, Tampa/St. Pete, Gainesville and Jacksonville. When it comes to Orlando living you may have family and friends out of the area or you may occasionally need to commute to these cities. If so, ease of access to the highways of Orlando can be the difference in hundreds of dollars in tolls a year and up to an hour saved on a trip just by being in the right location.
Ease of access is important in a commuter-heavy city like Orlando where other major cities are within driving distance. Major companies are located between Orlando and Tampa such as Publix and Lockheed. Some Orlando residents commute to Gainesville on weekends for their MBA/Grad school programs. There are even those unfortunate few that drive up and down the coast on a regular basis. Of these commuter scenarios, I'd rather be the group that drives down to Miami every few weeks to party! No matter your choice you need to know the best ways to get down there and the best places to live in Orlando so you can be ready for that commute.
If you find yourself going back and forth between Orlando and the Gulf Coast you should consider looking for an apartment community in the West Orlando or Downtown area. This is where access to the SR408 and I-4 highways are easy. Alternatively if you find yourself stuck in nightmare traffic on those roads (AKA everyone), live further south near Lee Vista and take the SR436 that loops around Orlando.
The most convenient location to those who commute regularly to Gainesville is via the Turnpike North. The difference saved between living in East Orlando and living near the Turnpike in West Orlando can be up to 30-45 minutes! A straight shot from West Orlando to Gainesville on the Turnpike can sometimes be only a little more than an hour (better than my commute in Los Angeles!).
Unlike most other out-of-city routes, the convenient route to Jacksonville is via Sanford on SR 436 North. This route will take you north to where you can on I-4 to the coast and to I-95 right to Jacksonville. You want to live in East Orlando and relatively north to save some major time on this commute. Fighting through Orlando traffic by being over in West Orlando in dead stop I-4 traffic can cost an extra hour of commute!
If you're like me and love a good party or commute or even have family in South Florida then take the routes available in West Orlando. The Turnpike South is the best route that goes right through the state to these major South Florida cities. If you want to avoid the 5 o'clock traffic and tourist traps that are in this area then look for areas in the Southwest area of Orlando (closer to Kissimmee).
Living in Orlando may not have been your first choice. Maybe it is and you just have a job or student obligation to commute out of the city. No matter what it is you want to be on the right side of town. If you choose to live on the wrong side of town and leave town frequently then you may be costing yourself extra toll charges (Orlando highways charge toll), gas and valuable time!