When you were in school, you might have learned about the phenomenon of bird migration, where flocks of birds wing their way north in the spring, nest during the summer, and fly south to warmer climates in the fall. Floridians are familiar with another type of migration in the fall and winter months, the arrival of the “snowbirds”!
Like their avian namesakes, snowbirds generally are retirees who travel to the Sunshine State to avoid the chill of winter back home. Most snowbirds either rent or own two separate homes, their permanent residence up north and their vacation home down south. Because owning or renting a second brick-and-mortar home may be cost-prohibitive, a common solution for the snowbird community is to own a recreational vehicle or mobile home. In fact, about a million RVers head south every year!
While snowbird season technically runs from fall, when the temperatures begin to drop in northern states, to the spring thaw. But many snowbirds start their travels south in January, so that they can spend the holidays with their families. The common goal among these seasonal residents to escape harsh and snowy winter conditions. Locals joke that you know it is snowbird season when you see more license plates from New York, New Jersey, or Canada on the road than those from Florida!
If you are interested in joining the flock and trading your northern winter for Florida’s snow-white beaches, here are some tips to make the most of your extended stay in the Sunshine State:
1. Know What Type of Florida Experience You Want
Are you interested in RVing throughout the state, renting a vacation home, or staying with a friend or family member? Do you want to relax at the beach alone or socialize with other retirees? Decide in advance what you want from your snowbird experience, so you can plan for it! To help you plan, check out the properties available for rent at Kong Vacation Homes or amenities for RVers at The Oaks at Zephyrhills. The Tampa Bay area and the South Florida beaches are popular spots for snowbirds, and just where Kong’s properties are located!
2. If You Plan to RV, Make Sure You Are Prepared
Before you hit the road heading south, make sure to inspect your RV’s tires, brakes, axel bearings, and air conditioning. Do the same for your tow vehicle, if you are traveling with one! Nothing will ruin your trip faster than your vehicle breaking down!
3. Pack for Florida
In addition to packing appropriate clothes – no padded winter jackets or snowsuits needed – and personal toiletries, there are some essentials to bring with you. Make sure to travel with your medical records, prescription information, and a first aid kit. If you are driving an RV, bring a backup paper map with copies of your planned route, vehicle insurance, and an emergency roadside kit. Also, make sure you have extra batteries or chargers for all devices. A tool kit is good to have on hand, too!
4. Make Sure Your Permanent Home Is Winterized
If you’re planning to be gone all winter long, consider shutting off your plumbing, turning down your heat, forwarding your mail, and unplugging the electronics you are leaving behind. Have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your home while you’re away. If your home is in a particularly snowy area, think about hiring a plow service!
5. Get Connected
Through resources like Facebook, you can find snowbird discussion groups. You also can connect with us on Facebook!
If you’re curious about the snowbird lifestyle, Kong Management Group can help you find the right accommodation for you. Contact us at 866-499-9026 or check out our website for more information. Vacation (or winter!) to the fullest with Kong Vacation Homes!