Snowbirds have many options to pick from when deciding to make their journey south. There are many states that welcome the snowbirds as they provide an increased revenue. Some snowbirds start out visiting potential areas for a short winter vacation and make their decision on where they would like to settle. Others, follow neighbors or relatives.
When we made out decision to become snowbirds, we selected St. Petersburg, Florida as it was close to my husband’s family in Tampa. We scoped the area during our visits looking at apartments, condo’s, monthly home rentals and settled on a 55+ RV park. The Park offered a monthly rent which included our water, trash, and all amenities such as pool, clubhouse, and activities. We were responsible for setting up our own monthly electric, cable, and internet. So, we upgraded to a larger 5th Wheel, loaded it up with everything we thought we could possibly need for 7 months, and off we went. This set up was great, but with three cats and a dog, we knew we needed more room.
Before our next season in the south, we were able to find a year round one bedroom apartment rental close to downtown. Rent was reasonable and we could move our “stuff” in and leave it there when we were up north. Finally, after a couple seasons, and with the definite knowledge that we wanted to continue being snowbirds, we found and purchased a condominium farther away from downtown.
I have met other snowbirds who have gone through similar experiences before finally settling in a specific area. I have listed several links in “Resources,” so that you can find your snowbird destination. Florida is not the only popular snowbird destination. Thousands of snowbirds head to Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, California, and Costa Rica, among others. There are also many Canadians who flock to southern climates. They have their own magazine called, “CSA News Magazine.” I enjoy reading the “Snowbirds Gulf Coast Magazine,” which is a resource for Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. There is also a great website to bookmark called, “Snowbirds and RV Travelers,” which includes multiple feature articles and travel tips.
I find making decisions on how to get to our destination and packing everything we might need in the next several months to be two of the more difficult things to do in our planning stages. Granted we have been making this trip for five seasons now, we should feel like pro’s at it. But, I always worry that we’re going to forget something important. Therefore the crammed notebook and calendar of things to do and things to pack. Since we bring our RV and car, we do have several areas to store items and paperwork. For the last five seasons, my husband and I have driven from Maine to Florida and back, but, there are other alternatives. Some people fly and have someone drive their car. Or they may already have a car at their permanent southern location. There is also the Amtrak train which will take you and your car from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida for a fee as low as $89.00. We keep track of our route each year and where we like to stay for future reference. For each trip, we plan a special vacation spot to stop on our travels. However you decide to travel, start early in your planning so that you can be flexible if anything comes up. Good luck and enjoy!