Embracing the Snowbird Lifestyle

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So, what about this “Snow Bird” thing?  Is it a lifestyle that you could embrace?  What would you need to make it your reality?  If you are considering “joining the flock”  I would like to share some of the things that we have learned from friends and customers about spending a third of the year or more in a travel trailer on a mission to avoid that good ol’ Canadian winter.
Having the right travel trailer or motorhome is going to be the most important consideration.  That little 19 footer that has served you well for weekends and maybe a summer vacation or two might feel a little claustrophobic around week four. And the longer you are going to be on the road the more stuff you might be compelled to take with you.  When deciding on the next travel trailer for your Snow Bird experience you need to think about what you will be travelling with, and if there will be enough storage space in your trailer.  When visiting Can-Am or any RV dealership I would actually recommend that you bring a list of all the stuff you will be taking with you on your travels.  That’s right, a great long list of pots, pans, tools, chairs, entertainment needs, camping gear and such with you on your shopping trip.  Look at that list while walking through the trailer or 5th wheel or motorhome you are considering and mentally visualize where your stuff will go.  It is quite easy to be caught up in the fresh new designs, beautiful surfaces and wonderful options and not notice that there is actually very little cupboard space in some RVs.  Floor plans are critical and may meet one family’s needs but not the next.  Our friends travelled for many years in a vintage 25 foot Airstream.  It was such a great dependable, easy to tow trailer that they thought they would never part with it.  However when they got to the point in time that they were considering spending four months in it they knew that having a pull out gaucho bed that had to be made up each night and folded up each morning was not going to work for them anymore.  They also needed a dinette table that was full time and not set up just for meals.  They ended up replacing that beautiful vintage Airstream with another, modern Airstream of the same length but with a completely different floor plan.  Now they have the bed, the dinette, the shower and storage that they wanted and  have an easy to tow trailer that is still 25 feet long.  Considering an Airstream? We have lots of choices in both new and pre-owned. https://www.canamrv.ca/rv-inventory/travel-trailer/?manufacturer=Airstream&page=6
Your winter travel plan will also have a lot to do with determining which RV and floorplan is best for you.  Some folks will be on the road moving from place to place exploring as they go and others will have a single destination in mind.  With a single destination possibly a larger and heavier trailer will make the most sense.  A lighter, more compact RV would suit a multi-destination plan.  Having a trailer with slide outs makes a smaller trailer instantly spacious and a larger trailer gigantic.  The newest technology in slide outs make them dependable, quiet and easy to operate.  If you are going to be on the road a lot then check to see what the trailer looks like inside when the slides are retracted.  In some RVs the slides will block your access to the bathroom, the refrigerator and bedroom.  This is a problem when touring and you would like to stop for a bathroom break or to get lunch and a change of clothes.  It is not so much of an issue if you are just going to one location, setting up and staying until spring.  We have an awesome selection of fifth wheel trailers that are so spacious that you will feel like you have a complete cottage on wheels, right down to washers and dryers in the master suite.  Take a peek at our current inventory to see what I mean.  https://www.canamrv.ca/rv-inventory/new/fifth-wheels/
When you pack for a winter away, take the time to edit what is in the cupboards and closets.  If there are items that will only get used once or twice, they should likely stay home.  Yes, you may want to take your big portable turkey cooker to do Christmas in the desert of New Mexico, but that appliance is taking up space that could be used for some pots and pans that will get used every week.  Choose wisely!  Similarly, the amount of clothing you need for a quarter of a year might seem like a challenge, but if you pick items that can co-ordinate or be worn together in various combinations and will wash easily you can have more that enough clothing for the season.  Most people find that they take far more clothes than they need.  The issue is often that you need to be ready for basically three seasons of weather.  It will be winter when you leave and fall and spring conditions for some of the winter months. If the destination is Florida, it will feel surely like summer in the new year.
One of the most challenging aspects of the Snowbird lifestyle is getting things in order at home before you can go.  If you live in a townhouse or condo it might be easier to get ready to go, but as a home owner there are a number of things to consider.
Mail delivery needs to be cancelled or forwarded to another address.  Canada Post charges for both of these options. https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/personal/receiving.page?
Snow removal is most likely something a homeowner will need to arrange.  A driveway and sidewalk will need to be kept clear for safety and security and it is a lot to ask for a neighbor to take that on for a whole winter.  The best bet is to contact a snow removal or landscape company and arrange a plan to suit your needs.  Your insurance company will want to know that your home is being checked on a regular basis.  Some companies will actually want it checked daily.  A monitored security system will often let you push those home checks to once a week with many insurance companies.  Extended health insurance is of course a must for those out of the country and it make good sense to shop around for that.  There are many companies that offer this service and there are many variables that are dependent on age and health.  For some people this item alone may determine how long their winter exodus lasts.
US currency is usually a concern and having a US credit card and bank account can be a great help.  Most likely, the bank you already use will help you setting up some kind of cross border banking. 
It might be a good idea to cancel your cable subscription, put your telephone on seasonal suspension and turn down your hot water heater and thermostat.  If you are leaving a car at home that is not going to be driven, change the insurance coverage on it to fire/theft only and save the premium on liability.  By doing these things you may find that you will save enough money to pay for other travel expenses like gasoline and a US temporary phone.
One of the most useful organizations that will help you get the most out of your winter away is the Canadian Snowbird Association or CSA.  This could be your one stop shop for travel insurance, currency exchange, travel advice, US phone sim cards and more.  It is only $25.00 a year and offers a wealth of information (and a glossy magazine) for the Canadian traveler.  https://www.snowbirds.org/
For many Canadians leaving winter behind and heading West or South, an RV trip is the perfect remedy for the Winter Blues.  At Can-Am it is not too late to get you set up in the perfect RV for you and your existing tow vehicle and have you ready to migrate this winter. A couple of extra months of sunshine is certainly an attractive alternative to snow storms and shovels.
Check out our inventory for your perfect winter get away RV.  https://www.canamrv.ca/rv-inventory/