Winter is a time for boots, snow shovels, and icy roads… unless you’re a snowbird who RVs to the Sun Belt.
As Neil Young once sang, “the summer ends and the winter winds begin to holler all around the bend…”
The cooler temperatures have us thinking about the coming winter: snow, ice, and bone-chilling cold. You’re familiar with the drill: dig out the snow shovel, take the snow blower on a test run, and pull out the warm winter sweaters, parkas, mitts, and snow boots. Such are the joys of a northern winter!
The entire history of the human race is largely a search for comfort. Warm southern winters certainly rate high on my comfort scale.
How about snowbirding?
Snowbirds are typically retired seniors who have the desire and financial ability to be away from home for extended periods of time.
The snowbird lifestyle is to our liking since we can take our home with us when the cold weather arrives and snow begins to falls. For us the snowbird lifestyle is the best of both worlds.
Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.
Before heading south, snowbirds need to take steps to secure and winterize their homes.
Creating a customized checklists is one way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.
Consider the following tips as a starting point when creating your winter-ready checklist.
Check expiry dates for travel documents, insurance, and credit cards.
Check with your insurance to determine how extended absences may affect coverage.
You are escaping the snow, but your home is not. Arrange with a neighbor, relative, friend, or snow removal service to keep sidewalks clear and your home secure.
Ask a friend, trustworthy neighbor, or relative to be the contact person for your home. It’s important to have someone check your home on a regular basis, remove sales flyers, and be available in emergency situations. Your home should look like someone is living there.
Provide the contact person and other neighbors, relatives, and friends with pertinent information including smart phone and email address, vehicle and home insurance, security system, furnace repair, description of RV and toad or tow truck and trailer with plate numbers.
Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.
Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for Snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mail forwarding address. Trusted and reliable mail forwarding services include Good Sam, Escapees, and Dakota Post.
Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances—microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster oven, TVs, audio equipment, radios, and lamps.
Reduce costs and save energy consumption by turning the thermostat down to 45-50 degrees F (7-10 C).
Empty the refrigerator and turn it off. Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances.
Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries.
Adjust the water heater thermostat to “pilot” or turn it off. Turn off the water supply at the main valve.
This list is a good place to start, but you may take additional steps to secure your home.
Be careful what you post on social media. Burglars have started crawling social media websites to find times when a house will be empty.
It started out a dream
A simple someday soon
But we worked hard
and made it real
This snowbird life
behind the wheel.