The leaves have, pretty much, hit the ground. The beautiful fall season in the Northern climates has passed its prime. It’s time to give serious thought to escaping the single-digit whiteness that comes next.
Snowbirds (or Winter Texans, as they’re known in that state) take great pleasure in cashing in on the annual break they’ve earned through years of hard work.
While the rewards of Snowbirding in Florida, the Gulf Coast, Texas, the Southwest and Southern California are pretty obvious, the process of becoming a Snowbird isn’t.
How do you get started in this exciting new lifestyle? What comes along, and what stays home? What are the hard costs of Snowbirding, and what are the pitfalls to watch for?
First, the good news. Forbes.com recently reported that fewer new retirees are planning to permanently move to a different, warmer state. More than 60 percent said they plan to keep their primary homes in the same state, compared to 42 percent in 2010.
That number fits well with data that shows more recent retirees are starting their own businesses, or entering new careers and plan to keep working.
That’s good news because most Snowbirds are seasonal visitors by definition, and will be returning home when the leaves come back.
Also, that desire to work fits right into the New Snowbird lifestyle. Many Snowbirds seek out part time and full time employment when they arrive in the South. In fact, many of our very best KOA Campground winter workers are Snowbirds. KOA Work Kamping is a great way to stay active, and help subsidize the cost of your extended winter vacation. Click here for more info.
Here are 10 tips to consider when planning your Snowbird getaway. And don’t miss the “other resources” links at the bottom of this article.
10 Tips and Resources for 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 – the RoadTrippers App (available at the Apple App Store and for GooglePlay) is also a very handy companion.
- 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 your destination and 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: Be sure you have all of your prescriptions filled. And remember to carry your medicines in their original drug store containers with the labels.
- Don’t Expire: Speaking of 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.
- Make Sure You’re Covered: Check with your insurance agent to make sure everything is up-to-date with your RV insurance, including your tow vehicle.
- Be Alarmed: Even if you have a friend checking on your property, it’s a good idea to have an alarm company contract too. And be sure the friend knows what to do if storms or high wind cause damage that needs immediate attention.
OTHER SNOWBIRDING RESOURCES
- Fox Business (Personal Finance article for Snowbirds)
SNOWBIRDING BOOKS – All Available at www.Amazon.com
- The Official Snowbird’s Guide to Becoming a Florida Resident by Dean Hanewinckel
- The Canadian Snowbird in America: Professional Tax and Financial Insights into a Temporary U.S. Lifestyle by Terry F. Ritchie
- Follow the Sun: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Snowbird (The Snowbird Life series) by D.A. Bask
- Snowbirds Unlimited: Tales from the Restless Traveler by Marilyn Catherine McDonald
- Snowbird Gardening: A Guide for South Florida’s Winter Residents by Chase Landre
- Florida’s Snowbirds [Kindle Edition] Godefroy Desrosiers-Lauzon
- The 40 year old Snowbird: How to live where you want 365 days of the year by Tracey Parnell