It’s getting cold up north, and many campers on both sides of the 49th Parallel are packing for the annual migration South.
Yet even if you’re a seasoned Snowbird or Winter Texan, there are some useful tips and tricks you need to know before you lock the door and hit the road again.
10 Helpful Reminders for Canadian Snowbirds
- Have a Plan: It sounds obvious, but if you don’t plan ahead, it’s likely even a seasoned winter traveler will forget something obvious. Write down everything you have to do before you leave, and then start mapping out your travels so you don’t miss something cool along the way.
- Take Your Time: The only race you have to run here it to beat the snow. Be sure you take the time to enjoy the journey and leave plenty of time to explore unexpected “finds” as you go.
- Lock Up: Did you shut the water off? Do you have a friend to check the house periodically? Is someone taking in the mail and door flyers? They’re small things, but they can lead to big problems if not done.
- Have Your Paperwork: You don’t want to get to the border without a passport, or find out that medical records you may need were left in the file cabinet at home. It’s also a good idea to notify your bank and your credit card companies that you’ll be away, so those charges from South Florida don’t sound the alarm.
- Take Your Prescriptions: If you’re traveling from Canada to the U.S., be sure you have all of your prescriptions filled. And be sure to check on requirements for bringing your medicines into the U.S. There may be limits on how much of a certain drug you may be able to carry, and remember to carry your medicines in their original drug store containers with the labels.
- Check Your Documents: Speaking of passports and other important documents, be sure your driver’s license and/or passport aren’t set to expire while you’re away.
- Share Your Itinerary: Don’t keep your travel plans a secret with friends and family. And be sure to carry an easily accessible copy of emergency contact information just in case you run into trouble and can’t speak for yourself.
- Pack Light: If this is your first foray South, we guarantee that you are packing too much stuff! KOA campgrounds are all well equipped with RVing and camping essentials, so only pack what you need to get you to your winter destination. The rest, you can get when you arrive.
- How Long Will You Be Gone?: For Canadians heading South for a long stay, be sure you know how long you can reside “out of province” and maintain your healthcare eligibility. Most provinces allow you to live outside the province for up to six months plus a day, but Ontario allows seven months, and Newfoundland allows eight months.
- Know the Rules: If you intend to live in the U.S. for more than 180 days, you may have to file a U.S. tax return.