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Moving Tips for Snowbirds

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The term "snowbirds" is an endearing nickname given to people who have a summer home up north during the warm months, but fly down south during the winter to escape the harsh cold of northern climates. Much like birds that fly south for the winter, snowbirds are always migrating in search of beautiful, sunny warm weather to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle.

Of course, getting used to migrating back and forth each season takes some time, but after awhile you'll be a professional. With a few pieces of advice, you'll know how to pack and move down south for the winter, and be better prepared for your snowbird lifestyle.

Packing up your summer home

Ocean side TreesWhen you close your summer home to head down south, there are several things that you'll have to prepare as you lock up for the winter.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Bring all necessary documents and forms of ID. Remember to bring all necessary documents that you may need to travel, including your identification. If you're flying down south, don't forget your boarding passes and reservations. Keep your driver's license, identification or passport in a safe place where you know you won't forget it. These documents are extremely important, and they're often a pain to replace.


  • Invest in a storage unit. Since you'll only be living in each home for roughly six months at a time, it's usually a good idea to invest in a storage unit to keep your belongings safe and secure while you're gone, especially if you're only renting one of the homes.


  • Lock up your summer house and shut off all utilities. In your absence, it's good practice to shut off your water so that your pipes don't freeze and burst, potentially costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs when you return. Also, turn down your thermostat before you leave to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the winter. The optimal temperature is anywhere from 55 to 60 degrees to keep your pipes from freezing. This will also keep your heating costs fairly low while you're away.


  • Entrust a close friend, family member or neighbor to check on the house while you're gone. You should have a close friend or family member periodically check on the house while you're gone to make sure that everything is OK, and let you know if anything is wrong. Leave them a key to the house and any security codes that are necessary to get in, and also provide them with your contact information so they can reach you.

Preparing for your winter home

Sunrise TreesOnce you have everything squared away with your summer home up north, here are a few important things you should take care of before that final move down south:

  • Pack all the clothes you'll need for the next six months. Sure, you're going down south for the winter to escape the cold weather, but that doesn't mean you won't encounter a chilly night or two wherever you end up. Pack a few pieces of heavier clothing just in case, and also remember to bring all of the outfits you'll need while you're down there, including both formal and recreational.


  • Check to see if you'll need to register for a driver's license in the state you'll be moving to. Some states will require you to register for a driver's license if you'll be living there for longer than a month. So if you're planning on staying down there for the winter, or even longer, you should contact the local DMV and inquire about the laws regarding driver's licenses.


  • Book your car transport well in advance. If you are planning on having your car down south and you'll be shipping it with an auto mover rather than driving it yourself, you should book the date a few months in advance to get the cheapest rates and to make sure the company can ship your car on your desired date. This way, your car will be down there and ready when you arrive.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on August 12, 2013

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