The Snowbird Lifestyle: Is it really the Best of Both Worlds?
Your friends do it, some members of your family have done it, and even the neighbor down the street is doing it. Now you think it might be time to try it yourself, the snowbird lifestyle. While much of this lifestyle is very enjoyable, there are many things to consider before you decide if the seasonal change is right for you.
- Escaping a colder climate in the winter helps you avoid the hardships that come with snow and ice. In warmer climate, you won't have to face slips and falls on ice, driving in harsh conditions, or plowing or shoveling snow
- You can continue outdoor sports at your leisure. If you are a golf or tennis enthusiast, enjoy running or biking, or just love being outside all the time, becoming a snowbird will give you the opportunity to continue doing what you love all year round. Of course the medical benefits of staying active all year round are tremendous compared to sitting inside during winter weather.
- A change of pace is an advantage of moving around. Some people spend winter in the same place every year, and others decide to travel and change place each winter by using RVs and rentals. Using online tools and websites, it's easy to find rentals. Renting is also a nice option as it doesn't leave you responsible for taxes or maintenance, especially in the months when you are out-of-state and something vital breaks down. There are lots of great destinations and rentals available for you.
- Snowbirds get a taste of both climates without fully committing to either. Everyone loves that beach vacation but eventually the novelty might wear off. As a snowbird, you have the freedom to turn around and head home whenever you choose. If you are renting you can try something new the next time you head to warmer climes.
- Enjoying different communities and lifestyles is a wonderful benefit. In your summer home, you may have a larger house and the maintenance that goes with a large house, or a lot of social commitments and responsibilities. In your winter home, you will likely have fewer responsibilities and more relaxation and down-time to enjoy the activities that many snowbird neighborhoods have to offer.
- With every pleasurable vacation there is a lot of work to get ready for it. You will have to forward your mail, cancel your newspaper, notify your prescription services of your new address, and change auto deliveries from online shopping.
- You will need to check with your insurance to ensure that if you need medical attention over the winter, that they will consider doctors in your winter locations in network to avoid distressful and unnecessary bills.
- There is a lot to do to prepare your home for being away. You will have to set the thermostat and humidifier to avoid coming home to a mildew mess, your vacuum bag should be changed in case it has moisture in it. Garbage cans have to be emptied and cleaned, not to mention often forgotten storage items like potatoes and onions have to be accounted for as well. Don't forget all of this will have to be done when you leave your winter home to come back to your summer home too! There are great checklists you can use.
- Then there is what may be the hardest thing to figure out. Who will be able to do periodic checks on your house and hold the key while you are gone? You will also need to find a neighbor to check your house often enough that any newspapers left in error, door flyers from utility companies, handouts from door to door religious groups, etc. get taken off your house daily. Failure to do this could grab unwanted attention to your empty house by burglars. Next you need someone willing to stick their head in your house often enough to make sure the heat is working and there are no leaks or other disastrous things happening while you are gone. If you are lucky enough you might be able to get the same person to do all of it.
While both the Pros and Cons list are pretty lengthy the benefits far outweigh the cons for many people. Before diving in, ask around, use online resources, find books with tips and hints on the snowbird lifestyle, and make your own pros and cons list to decide if the lifestyle is right for you. After you've done your own research, the right answer for you will become clear.