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Travel Preparation Tips for Snowbirds - A Quick Checklist

Updated on February 5, 2017
Use the information and checklist in these travel preparation tips for snowbirds
Use the information and checklist in these travel preparation tips for snowbirds

Snowbird Envy

The reason I write travel tips hubs is because I enjoy traveling very much, although I have not been able to go on trips as much as I used to. I've long held the dream of becoming a Snowbird to escape the cold, dreary Canadian winters like others do. In fact, it is a fervent wish of mine and I can't help feeling jealous occasionally.

Since I'm not yet at the age of retirement, or at the savings and investment level to finance my Snowbird-ship, I live vicariously through those who are. I read the exciting accounts of others who are already wintering in other climes and living my dream life.

Also, I write travel tips. When my turn comes, I'll know what I need in order to enjoy stress-free winters in the sun.

Quick Checklist for Snowbirds

Okay, here, in no particular order, is a quick rundown of things you'll want to take care of before leaving home. To make it easier, you may want to print off this reminder list and add little check marks or stroke items off as you complete them.

[ ] Secure Your Permanent Residence

You don't want to return home to find that you've been burglarized or that a water pipe has burst. Arrange for a trusted friend, family member or neighbour to keep an eye on your house and property, bring in flyers, etc. You may want to turn off the water, as well.

If you don't know of anyone you feel comfortable enough with to leave this responsibility with, you can hire a bonded, reputable service for the job.

[ ] Share Your Itinerary

Pass along your travel plans, phone numbers, etc. to at least one other person. That way, if there is an emergency, you can be contacted.

[ ] Don't Make Your Absence Obvious

This is a no-brainer but don't tip off would-be robbers that you home is vacant. Stop your newspaper delivery, have the post office hold or forward your mail. Again, have whoever is taking care of your property bring in any hand-delivered flyers.

[ ] Take Precautionary Measures

Remember that trusted person in the first tip? Give them copies of your important personal and travel documents, and a contact list for your next of kin. Just in case. I always recommend adding your country's embassy or consulate address and phone numbers, so you and your contact back home have them handy if you run into trouble.

[ ] Notify Your Financial Institutions

It's a good idea to inform your bank and credit card companies that you'll be away, otherwise activity on your accounts may seem suspicious and result in a very inconvenient disruption of your services.

Purchase All the Travel Insurance You Need Before Leaving

Don't forget to ensure enough coverage for your car or RV, if driving to your destination
Don't forget to ensure enough coverage for your car or RV, if driving to your destination

[ ] Make Sure You're Covered

Purchase your travel insurance, including extended medical and check with your agent to find out if you should have additional car coverage, in the event you're driving to your destination.

[ ] Prepare Medically

Are you due for any new or booster shots? Make sure to take care of any health follow-up appointments or checkups that you've been putting off, before leaving home.

Also, don't forget about filling your prescriptions, especially if you're going to a foreign country where you may not be able to access the meds you need. It's a good idea to check with each country's requirements for bringing in and carrying prescription medications. In some places, you are only allowed to take as many as you need for the trip and they must remain in their original container with the drugstore's label.

Double-Check Your Important Travel Documents

Don't forget about your passport, driver's license and other important documents that have the potential to expire before you return home
Don't forget about your passport, driver's license and other important documents that have the potential to expire before you return home

[ ] Double Check Your Travel Documents

Maybe this one should have been first.

Will your driver's license or passport expire while you're gone? Do you need specific documentation to enter and enjoy an extended stay in the country you're traveling to? How about financial records to prove to customs officials that you can finance your winter visit? Find out what you need well in advance, so you have time to prepare the necessary paperwork.

Bon Voyage!
Bon Voyage!

Enjoy Your Winter Away From the Snow and Cold!

I hope these eight travel tips for Snowbirds and other seniors escaping the cold, help you prepare well for a fantastic trip. For me, this checklist is another tool waiting for me to use once I'm free to follow the sun and fun, all winter long. Meantime, it just gets me excited about the day that I'll be able to count myself as one of you.

Something Else to Consider....

Important Information for U.S. Residents

© 2010 Herald Daily


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    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      8 years ago from A Beach Online

      Husky, thank-you for the comments and the additional tips! I agree with you re the online billing, makes it easier to stay on top of things, even when thousands of miles away from home.

      I really like your comment about locating hotels ahead of time, I think that's a terrific idea! Where there are hotels, there are probably gas stations, too. Both are very welcome when driving to a destination that is a considerable distance away.

      Being Canadian, I'm not familiar with the AAA tickets but I imagine they award some extra protection and information.

      Thanks again, Husky. Appreciate your visit and insight.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have been snowbirding for 5 years. You sound like an expert. Thank God for online bill paying. I also will always very carefully plan my driving itinerary with multiple options for stopping overnight. I completely avoid driving at night. So, having hotel numbers in various exit locations has always come in very handy. AAA trip tickets are quite valuable as well.

    • Herald Daily profile imageAUTHOR

      Herald Daily 

      8 years ago from A Beach Online

      Thanks, Happyboomernurse!

      Thank-you, RMR. You're always very welcome in Northern Canada. A little cold in the Yukon and Territories for me but Northern Ontario is spectacularly beautiful, for the most part, anyway.

      Should we call you a sun bird?

    • rmr profile image


      9 years ago from Livonia, MI

      Great tips! Especially that last one, now the WHTI is in effect.

      Personally, I like to go the other direction. I'd love to move to Alaska or Northern Canada.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Good advice.

      Thanks for sharing.


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