Birds of a Common Feather:
Tips For Flying South for the Winter
When people hear the term “Snowbird” they often envision shuffleboard, early bird specials, Canasta, white shoes and ubiquitous and endless games of Bingo. Images of George Costanza’s vociferous and vituperative parents kvetching about their cantankerous neighbours at Del Boca Vista, the fictitious retirement community in Florida also comes to mind.
The truth is that “snowbirding” is a lot cooler than it used to be! Baby Boomers are a youthful bunch and are changing the idea of what it means to head south for the winter! About 1.3 million lucky Canadians head south for the winter, avoiding the pitfalls of our rather harsh Canadian winters–trading in snow, sleet and freezing temperatures for sun, warmth, and relaxation, and this number is on the rise as more Canadians reach retirement age.
Whether you are a seasoned snowbird or thinking about joining the great Canadian migration, the following snowbirding Tips will help you reside successfully down south!
Healthy Enough to Travel?
The most important thing to determine before you plan on traveling south for the winter is your level of health and health care needs. Before embarking on a lengthy trip, be sure to consult your doctor for a checkup, and be sure to keep all of your medical records, and prescriptions. You’ll also want to do a little research and make sure that you know the locations of hospitals and medical centers near you.
It’s also a very good idea to book a pre-travel consultation with TravelSafe, to determine if the location(s) you are traveling to requires you to have a vaccination or immunization.
When you have booked your trip, you’ll want to secure a travel insurance policy, as medical treatment could cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have a snowbird travel insurance policy. Make sure to spend some time researching insurance policies that are right for you and don’t be afraid to shop around.
Show Me the Money!
Before you head south, make sure that you have access to your finances. The easiest way to ensure you can manage your finances and pay bills is to set up an online banking account. Your local bank branch can help you set one up if you are unsure of how to do it. Another good idea is to set up pre-authorized bill payments so that you don’t have to worry about missing any payments while you are away from Canada. It’s also one less thing to think about!
Securing your Home
When you are away from your home for an extended period of time, it’s imperative that you secure it! Here are some helpful hints:
- Ask a close friend, relative or trusted neighbour to check in on your home while you are away.
- Put a hold on your mail. Click on the link to access the Canada Post website to manage your mail.
- Check that all windows and doors are securely locked and that your home security system is armed.
High Tech Options
These days there are many easy and relatively inexpensive ways to keep an eye on your home while you are away, giving you peace of mind while soaking up the rays! Check out the following wireless options:
Blink cameras detect motion in your home and send alerts with HD video and audio right to your smartphone.
The Nest Cam Indoor security camera is designed to help you look after your home and family – even when you’re away. With 24/7 live streaming, a versatile magnetic stand, person alerts with Nest Aware and one app for all your Nest products, Nest Cam Indoor helps you keep an eye on what matters. From anywhere. With Nest products, you can even control your thermostat, doorbell and smoke and CO alarm!
Canadian Snowbird Association
For extensive and comprehensive resources for all things snowbird related, including important tax and travel insurance information, visit http://www.snowbirds.org.
Congratulations to all new and veteran snowbirds! Enjoy your time down south!