The end of fall signals the start of an annual migration of thousands of RVers to the Sunbelt.
As the snow flies, so do the snowbirds who flock to the southern climates for months at a time.
With the cooler weather the south has strong appeal. Snowbirds desire the best weather wherever they are.
When it’s snowing and blowing with freezing temperatures in Canada and the northern U.S. states, snowbirds want to be somewhere where it’s sunny and a pleasant 75 degrees. When Arizona hits 120 degrees in the summer or Florida’s low temperature for the day will be a muggy 95 they want to be in the north country where it’s a pleasant 75 degrees.
Like other snowbirds our goal is to avoid the winter slush and cold.
But to accomplish snowbird status you really need to do some serious planning.
If you want to be a snowbird there truly is more to it than just pointing the RV southward. It is hard to pack it up and leave for 6 months or more. Some travelers have trouble with a 2 week vacation.
Do you only want to leave Minnesota during the worst of the winter? Maybe only January and February? Some snowbirds stick it out through the holidays and leave the first of the year to return in April.
Others, like us, head out as soon as the first frost hits the pumpkins in October coming back when the ground begins to thaw.
But first, there are so many decisions to make.
Secure Your Home Base
Leaving means more than packing and locking up your home. It takes planning to secure your home base and belongings and to make sure your abode is as welcoming upon your return as it was before you left.
Snowbirds should make copies of all documents in case of an emergency or if papers are lost or stolen. Leave a copy with a friend or relative at home and carry the other copy, stored separately from originals.
Also make copies of passport ID pages, planned itinerary, campground confirmations, driver’s license, insurance, and credit cards.
Check the expiry dates of all personal identification, travel documents, RV insurance, passports, and credit cards.
Before you leave, contact your home insurance provider to determine how your absence will affect coverage, and whether semi-regular check-ins are required. If you don’t meet the policy requirements, you may find difficulty obtaining compensation should something happen.
Inform neighbors of your trip, how long you’ll be away, where you’ll be traveling, and how to contact you in the event of an emergency.
Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to regularly check the perimeter of your house, keep your sidewalks and driveway shoveled, and ensure that your doors and windows are securely fastened.
Disconnect all appliances and electrical devices, including microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, televisions, entertainment centers, and lamps.
Make sure all smoke alarms are properly installed, in working order, and are equipped with fresh batteries.
Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery, and arrange with your local postal office to have your mail forwarded to a reliable mail forwarding service.
Don’t leave a message on the answering machine that tells callers you’re out-of-town. Instead, say you’re away from the phone and you’ll get back to them.
Unplug your automatic garage-door opener and install a lock on the garage door track, so thieves can’t use a crowbar to pry it open.
Turn down thermostats to 50 degrees. Low heat will prevent a freeze-up.
Now, pack up the rig and head south.
As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:
“Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day…
So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”