Every fall and winter, folks in the northern regions of North America pack their bags and head south for warmer weather and relaxation. These groups of sunshine seekers, commonly referred to as Snowbirds, descend into the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico to find their personal paradise, returning home once the snow has melted. There are many things to consider when selecting a destination for a getaway spanning several months. Our top five tips for snowbirds can help you be better prepared.
1. Research Your Destination
Depending on your individual needs and when you plan to travel, different areas will have different concerns. Many snowbirds return to the same area every year, but if it is your first “migration” or if you’re choosing a new city, do thorough research prior to your arrival. Ask questions like:
- What is the weather like in the months I will be there?
- Are there any safety concerns in the area where I am staying?
- How is accessibility for people with mobility limitations?
- Is there a social community of snowbirds or seniors?
- Are there healthcare facilities nearby, just in case?
2. Schedule a Doctor Visit & Check Prescriptions
Prior to leaving, it is a good idea to schedule a visit with your general practitioner at home to make sure you are fit to travel and don’t have any new or unaddressed health concerns. You can also refill any prescriptions you will need while you are away. Many pharmacies will also let you get extra refills for your vacation to ensure that you will have enough medication for the duration of your trip. Always make sure to pack more medication than you think you will need, just in case your stay gets extended.
3. Create a Pre-Departure Checklist
Is there a chance your pipes will freeze while you are away? Have you notified the Postal Service of your absence and suspended your newspaper delivery? Making a comprehensive checklist of all the things—both big and small—that you have to do before you leave will help to organize your thoughts and ensure you don’t forget anything. And, in case you do happen to forget something, make sure you give a trusted neighbor or family member a key to your house in addition to your new address and reliable contact information to reach out if needed.
4. Sort Out Travel Details and Plan Your Stay
Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, if you are crossing international borders, you will need your passport. Make sure to double-check that it is up to date and doesn’t need renewing. For snowbirds traveling by RV, chart your driving route ahead of time and plan your stops in places of historical interest or natural beauty to get in some extra sightseeing.
Before you arrive, do some research on local goings-on like festivals, concerts and other nearby attractions that you may not have explored yet. Even if you’re returning to a familiar destination, a new experience could be a good opportunity to meet some new friends!
5. Get a Comprehensive Travel Medical Insurance Plan
If you’re traveling internationally from Canada to the United States or Mexico, your Canadian health insurance will not provide much, if any, medical coverage should you need to visit a doctor or hospital while away from home. A comprehensive travel medical insurance plan will help to ensure you are covered and give you peace of mind to enjoy your warm-weather winter getaway.