I have a sentence in a book:

During the summers, Noel and the children headed down to Boca Raton, Florida, where Elizabeth’s aunt and uncle owned a condo with a beautiful view of the Intracoastal Waterway

Why this phrasal verb is used here? Why just headed to (without down) is not enough?

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    Depending on context, for most of the east coast of the US, Florida happens to be to the south which means from a map perspective you move down. So I (in DC) might say I headed down to Florida, but headed up to New York or headed west to California. – pboss3010 May 31 '19 at 12:57
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  • @pboss3010, Indeed. “ELIZABETH’S EARLY YEARS were spent in Washington, D.C.. I have a question though. Do I have to use down or up or east, west? I name the place I go to, why should I add that down? My destination is understood. – Green May 31 '19 at 13:27
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    You don’t have to specify a direction, but it’s conventional to do so, maybe to give a sense of how far away something is - I think the use of a direction implies a place is relatively far away. The other linked question has a good answer that points out “go/head over to” is usually used for a place nearby. You could also say “go/head out to” to describe a place that is relatively far away - for some reason I think this is normally used for east/west travel rather than north/south travel - e.g. “Elizabeth headed out to L.A. from Washington, D.C.” – Mixolydian May 31 '19 at 13:41

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