It’s snowbird season! That’s right folks, all of you RVers who are done with the cold and ready to take on warmer weather are in luck! Arizona, Florida and California are surely calling your name with their exotic beaches, warm waters, beautiful desert landscapes and cool 70 degree days. From where to go and the 10 things you should know about snowbirding (yes, we’re making it a verb) we have you covered. Check out our list below for your 101 to living that snowbird lifestyle!
1. RESEARCH IS KEY
Before you head south for the winter, you’ll need to come up with an itinerary to ensure you’ll have a spot at the RV campgrounds you plan on staying at. Many RV resorts offer discounted rates for long-term bookings or special rates for their slower months, so take full advantage of the opportunity to save. The last thing you’ll want to do is show up with your rig, only to be turned away from your dream RV campground. Make your reservations ahead of time so that your arrival is met with nothing but a Pina Colada and a smile.
2. IS YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER?
If you’d rather not leave your house unoccupied for months, we suggest looking into options like putting your home up for long-term Airbnb rental or subletting while you’re away. If you’d prefer to leave your space as it is, have a friend or neighbor check in on your property every week. Simple things like bringing in the mail and making sure the doors are locked can keep unwanted ‘visitors’ from making their way to your home. If safety is of concern, install an alarm system while you’re away for added peace of mind. Don’t forget to empty your fridge and take out all the trash before you hit the road.
3. PAPERWORK IS YOUR FRIEND
Before you head off into that sunny Florida sunset, double check that you have all the paperwork you might need while away. That includes your RV insurance, medical records, up to date drivers license, passports and prescriptions. Opt to have your bills sent via email and set up e-paying to ensure you don’t miss a payment. When traveling for an extended period of time, it is always wise to call your bank and let them know where you’ll be, so they are aware you will be making out of state purchases.
4. UTILITIES, UTILITIES, UTILITIES
Are there any utilities that are set up in your permanent residence that you won’t need while you’re away? If you are on a month to month payment plan for your cable, internet, phone and trash, look into your options to stop those services while you’re away. Each provider is different so check with yours to see if this is an easy option for your home. It can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run and who doesn’t love saving?
5. SERVICE TIME!
Get your motorhome serviced before you hit the road. This will ensure you have a safe, easy and fun travel experience. Any maintenance questions you might have regarding your rig should be addressed and fixed BEFORE you make your way to warmer waters. We promise, this will save you a ton of heartbreak in the long run. There is nothing more disappointing then waiting on the side of the road for AAA when you’re supposed to be enjoying the vacation of your dreams.
6. MAKE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
Living on the road for months can really add up. Being a snowbird is a lifestyle, a really great one in fact, and there’s no reason to run through all your savings in one season. We suggest developing a budget that works for you and sticking to it. Map out how much you can spend on gas, accommodations, groceries, meals out, activities and don’t forget to include the bills and mortgage you might have at home. Leave a little room for the unexpected flat tire or a museum you just have to see.
7. FIND A DOCTOR AHEAD OF TIME
If you’re traveling south and have a medical condition that might need addressing while you’re away, go ahead and find yourself a doctor that takes your insurance before you start your trip. Finding the right physician for your needs can take time (and energy) so square away those potential flare ups before you’re relaxing in your swimwear on a beach in south Florida.
8. SAME GOES FOR YOUR PETS
Will you be traveling with your furry friends? If so, you’re going to want to find a vet before you make your way to your winter home. Don’t forget to bring any medications, special foods and vaccination records with you. Most RV campgrounds allow pets, but that doesn’t mean all do. Make sure your campground is pet friendly and always keep their medical records with you. If you opt to put your buddy in doggy daycare while you spend the day exploring, the facility will need to see a handful of records before they can take in your four legged friend.
9. PACK LIGHT
What’s one thing that all snowbirds have in common? Limited storage space. Make sure you’re bringing what you need and not overwhelming your space with a bunch of gear that won’t be used. If you’re an avid biker, bring your ride but if you know you’ll only use a bike on special occasions, opt to rent one instead. Same goes for any kayaks, paddle boards or other water based activities you might participate in. Remember that many RV parks have washer and dryer options, so if you’re rig isn’t equipped with these luxuries, no worries! Most cities have laundry mats as well, so you don’t have to over pack for your trip.
10. ENJOY YOURSELF
This really is the time of your life. Enjoy the slower pace of the south and allow yourself the privilege of leaving your stresses at home. Take a walk on a beach you’ve never been to, eat a cuisine you’ve never tried and soak up the warm, winter weather.
Looking for a place to camp this winter? Check out our recent post that features The Best RV Parks to Stay at This Christmas. If you’re a snowbird, we want to hear from you! Leave us a comment sharing where you’ll be going this winter for a chance to be featured on our blog!