For those who don’t know, a snowbird is someone who lives in a cold, northern climate but flies south for some or all of the winter months. Since they will be gone for as many as 6 months, there are a number of things that have to be done beforehand. Planning ahead will ensure that your vacation will be enjoyable and you won’t be coming home to any surprises!
Tips for Organizing Your Winter Getaway
- Start planning early and take care of the large things first. If you are looking for a rental, start the year before as most rentals will already be taken. Take care of passports and all other official documents that you’ll need, including copies of prescriptions. Purchase travel insurance. Many snowbirds are Canadians travelling to the U.S. Your provincial health plan won’t cover much if any of your healthcare costs.
- Winterize your home. You don’t want to be worried about the safety of your home while you are away. Cancel newspaper delivery and forward your mail or arrange with a friend or relative to pick it up daily. Also hire someone to shovel your driveway and walkways. An unattended home is a beacon to thieves. Store any valuables in a safety deposit box and invest in locks that aren’t easy to open.
- Something we see quite often is a good example of what NOT to do. Don’t post your travel plans on any social media sites or update the sites with pictures while you’re away. Many of those on social media also show a GPS location of where they are at the time they post. Leave the updating for when you get home.
- Turn off the water at your home before you leave or leave your heat on a lower setting. No one wants to come home to burst pipes. Unplug computers, televisions and appliances before you leave and do a maintenance check on your home. Remember to check your voicemail from your destination.
Preparing to leave for the winter means organization beforehand. For some tips on finances while you are gone, click here.