Avoiding cold temps, slippery ice, inches and inches of snow—there’s something to be said for being a snowbird.
Heading to warmer climates during harsh northern winters is no new thing. Nomads have been doing it for thousands of years. Now, we have the beauty of taking our homes with us as we go.
Want to be a snowbird? There are a few things to consider before you fly south for the winter.
1. Snowbird Friendly Zones
Many RV parks in southern states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and even places in Mexico, make most of their money by renting to RVers during the winter months.
These places usually list themselves as “Snowbird Friendly.” That often means that their monthly rates are discounted (sometimes drastically) compared to their daily or weekly rates. Some even encourage you to rent for the entire season—and many take advantage of this option.
You can check out a few on Good Sam’s Camping list of Snowbird Destinations.
2. Costs and Restrictions
As mentioned above, there will be rates for any RV park you choose to stay in. If you’re more about boondocking, you can find cheaper (or even free) places to set up if you’re interested in a little more space and a little less social time.
If you’re not already an RV owner, there’s the initial cost of finding the one that’s right for you. You may be perfect for a pop-up camper, though for real snowbirding you may be more interested in a fifth wheel or motorhome—more of a home-away-from-home. There will also be travel costs associated with getting there and getting around.
RV parks fill up fast, especially snowbird friendly spots. With hundreds of return visitors and new ones every year, it’s smart to plan ahead. Your RV park may also have pet breed restrictions, so make sure Fido is welcome before you bring him along. If you have a private healthcare provider, you’ll want to check their networks for doctors or other means for medical care around your destination as well.
3. House and Home
As a snowbird, there’s nothing worse than coming back after four to six months in a warmer climate to a home that’s suffered busted pipes—or worse, a busted door. Making sure your home is taken care of can go a long way in helping you enjoy yourself in the southern US.
Many areas in the north get particularly cold, and even at a slightly reduced temperature water pipes can freeze and burst. If you can find and afford someone to housesit, that’s a good option. Or you can have a plumber drain the water from your pipes and turn it off at the source.
If you don’t have a house sitter, find ways to make yourselves appear as though you’re home occasionally so no one knows your house is sitting empty. Halt your mail. Have someone shovel snow and salt your walk and driveways. Set timers on lamps inside the house to give the appearance of activity. Give a house key to a trusted neighbor or friend and have them check in on the house once a week or so.
4. Outfitting Your RV
Despite the general reprieve from snow and ice, temperatures in warm areas can still dip at night, and you may find a wide range of weather on your trip to and from your winter home. Deserts can drop to the 50s or lower, and that’s not even talking about random cold snaps throughout the country.
When you pack for your excursion south, plan on some clothes for cooler weather—it may not be all shorts and tank tops.
Of course, you’ve also got to consider what these wild swings in temperature can do to your rig. Adding foam insulation around your water supply lines and hoses to prevent freezing or overheating can help your comfort level enormously.
5. A Second Family
Aside from the obvious perks of warmer temperatures and less inclement weather, being a snowbird comes with one other benefit.
When most snowbirds find a place they love, they continue to go back year after year—and so do the people around them. It’s like a giant reunion every winter and usually comes to feel like a second family. In fact, many snowbirds find themselves traveling in packs both to the destination, and exploring while there.
Most snowbirds in RV parks tend to be more naturally social. And rightfully so: if you’re living in one of these places for several months, you’re going to come across hundreds of new neighbors. And hopefully, come away with a lot more friends.
Are you itching to get away from the frosty winds and mounds of snow? Camping World can help you find the RV that is exactly right for you—and for all of your snowbirding needs.