As you plan your trip, write everything down. I have a designated notebook so that all my notes are in one place. I also keep a calendar handy so that I can keep track of deadlines.
I purchased a file container like this to store all my important paperwork. I sort through all my paperwork and file all items that I may need for the next six months in this container. If you’re tech savvy, it may be easier for you to scan your documents and go paper free.
Items To File
- Medical Records
- Medication List
- Insurance Cards/Policies
- Social Security Cards
- Address Book/Contacts
- Pet Records
- Pet Medications
- Pet Licenses
- Pet Immunizations
- Emergency Vet Numbers
- Tax Documents
- Car Warranty/Service
- Recent bills
- Checkbook/Bank Info
To Do List
- Internet, Phone, Cable – place each service on hold until you return and you’ll be responsible for a small monthly fee.
- Newspaper Delivery – put on hold until you return.
- Mail Forwarding – standard mail forwarding allows for a temporary address change. You will be charged a one time fee of $1.05, while forwarding is free. Remember to change magazine subscription addresses on your own as United States Postal Service will only forward for 60 days. You can purchase a Premium Forwarding Package for $21.60/week and all your mail will be forwarded in one big package weekly.
- Home – if you live up north, you will need to winterize your home. We have a plumbing service turn off our water, drain the pipes, and pour a non-toxic antifreeze in the pipes and plumbing fixtures to protect them from freezing. We clean our home thoroughly to discourage any mice or other critters from moving in while we are gone. Also remember to put the toaster and other small appliances behind closed cabinet doors. We have found dispersing moth balls throughout the house and basement keep the mice out as they do not like the smell. Plan to have someone keep your driveway and walkways clear of snow as you want your house to look like it is lived in.
- Security – ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or relative to keep an eye on your home while you are away. Store valuables in a safe deposit box or other off site safe place. Many snowbirds use a home monitoring system while away as they can view live video remotely from their phones. In this case, you will need to continue with your internet service.
Last Minute Items
- Turn off standby generator
- unplug all small appliances
- remove canned and glass goods to prevent freezing and cracking
- leave houseplants with a friend or pack up for trip
- remove batteries from ATV’s, snowmobiles, or boat
- lock all windows
- unplug fridge and leave doors ajar
- turn LP gas off to oven
- turn furnace and hot water heater off (may need to leave furnace on until plumber arrives)
- close flue to chimney
These are some of the major items you may will need to prepare for your trip south. Please feel free to add more tips in a comment below. Have a wonderful and safe trip south for the winter!!!