Canadian Snowbirds: What To Know As A First Timer

When the winter comes to Canada, a lot of people head south to destinations like Florida, Arizona, or California to avoid the worst that winter has to offer. Those people are also called – Canadian snowbirds. So, if you are inexperienced and you are doing this for the first time, we have gathered all the best tips and tricks. Those tips and tricks will help you to move to a warmer location as smoothly as possible. Leaving your home for a long period of time can be quite demanding since you have to do a lot of preparation. So, read on, and you will be able to go to some warmer place with no worries on your mind!

Tips & Tricks For A First Time Canadian Snowbird

Canada sunset in winter.
Although winter is great, it is better to be somewhere warmer!

Take care of your car

Yes, this is one of the most important things since you will be needing your car when you get back in case you are not traveling with it. Make sure that all of your vehicles have been serviced. They need to have current licenses that won’t expire before you return. And, in case you are going to travel in it, that the car is ready for the trip south. Also, there are specialized companies that help Canadian snowbirds to tow their car wherever they need. Be sure to check all the options!

car on a road
Make sure to take good care of your car before you leave

Things to do before you leave the house

  • Recruit someone you trust to check in on things at home while you’re away. A friend or relative can make sure everything is fine with a quick stop once a week. And remember, even if you have your mail forwarded or use a mail service, it’s important to have someone check for junk mail and flyers. You want to be sure that everything is in perfect order once you get back.
  • Also, you can make a call to temporarily suspend all the services you won’t be needing while you are away. For example, you can suspend your cable, telephone, internet. You don’t need to spend money on things you actually won’t be using for a long period of time.
  • You should unplug unnecessary electronics and appliances. You need to avoid the possibility of something breaking or may be causing some serious malfunction. Also, it is a pretty good idea to use timers on some indoor and outdoor lights. This way you will be giving the appearance that someone is home. Also, consider hiring a snow removal company to keep the sidewalks and driveways cleared.
  • You should consider storing some important things into a storage unit to avoid any damage. For example, you should store your tools in safe storage until you need them again. This way you will avoid rust and similar things that might harm your precious belongings. Also, if you want to be sure they are protected – you can store some of your favorite furniture pieces and similar. Having a storage unit while you are away is one of the safest ways to keep your belongings intact.
storage box
Storing some of your belongings might be a great solution while you are away

Preparing for the move

As a new Canadian snowbird, you should know that you should rent your winter place well in advance. This way, you will end up paying a smaller amount of money, and you will get exactly what you wanted.
One of the essential things is to get medical insurance. This is a very important thing when you are preparing for a big trip. None of us expect anything bad to happen while we are on the road, but it is never a bad idea to be extra cautious. There are many companies offering travel insurance for Canadian snowbirds, especially since this a very unique move. In case you feel that you need help with moving your belongings, you can hire a company, like Zippy Shell Columbus, that can assist you. Or at least you can talk with them and rent a storage unit, as we mentioned before.

Travel insurance icon
It is better to get insurance and be on the safe side

Get organized before the move

So, when you are traveling or, in this case, moving for a couple of months, there are some things that you need to do and prepare so you can be stress-free.

  • Travel documents – Make sure your passport and/or Nexus card don’t expire until well after you return. While the U.S. has waived the “valid for 6 months after you return rule” many other countries require this, so if you are thinking of taking a cruise while you are away, make sure your passport has sufficient validity. This is one of the most important things that you need to do before the move.
  • Medications– in case you use any medications, make sure that you order enough of the prescription medication. Make sure all of your medication is clearly identified with its original labels and keep your receipts to ensure you don’t run into trouble at the border. This is also very important since different countries have different rules. But one rule is always the same – if you are flying, never put your medications in checked luggage.
  • Protect your belongings – while you are traveling, make sure that you protect all of you valuable items. You don’t want them to get damaged or anything similar. After all, you will need them when you return, as well as when you arrive at your destination.
  • Bank – yes, this is also an important thing to organize before the big day. You need to make sure that none of your cards expire while you are away. Set up online banking and bill payment, and arrange to receive your bills electronically. This way, you can stay up to date and pay them online while you’re away. Nobody likes to think about bills while they are somewhere warm exploring new surroundings.
hand holding a credit card
Make sure that your credit cards won't expire while you are away

Traveling as Canadian snowbirds

Traveling is the exciting part. If you could have some company – family, friends or similar – while traveling, that would be great. But also, one of the important things is that you should let some of your family members or friends know about your planned route for the move. The most important thing is to be flexible. You are traveling, so you should enjoy yourself and have a nice time. So, explore, seek for adventure and enjoy your time away as a Canadian Snowbird.

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