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Our best tips for travelling down south during winter.

Jordan August 19, 2013
Seniors vacationing on a beach
Unwilling to endure the frigid temperatures that come standard with Canadian winters, seniors all over the country have been escaping the Great White North to the warm, welcoming embrace of the southern USA. Referred to as ‘snowbirds’ for their desire to ‘fly south for the winter,’ they most often leave in two waves: the first leave in late November/early December and stays for 3 to 6 months, and the second waits until after Christmas and typically stays until spring. Regardless of when they fly the coop, there are many things to consider when leaving a Canadian home vacant for several months. This post will go over some of the most important points to consider before relocating when the snow starts to fall.

Prepping for your departure.

Preparing a home for extended vacancy should always be step number one – despite what many may think, it’s not as simple as locking up and heading out. When homes are left vacant, a number of things need to happen:

  • asking apartment or home insurance brokers about their policy on extended absences
  • having a reliable person or service keep up with maintenance (such as shoveling the sidewalk)
  • storing your valuable belongings somewhere safe
  • contacting your home security provider and more!

We recommend searching the web for snowbird organizations that specialize in prepping newcomers to the annual migration to find out what else should be done. There’s a wealth of information out there and it isn’t hard to find, so get searching!

Protect your wallet.

Many people only think of travel insurance when they zip off for their yearly getaways, but if you’re out of the country for several months, you’ll want to purchase a plan to stay protected. OHIP may not cover you, so one slip, fall or accident – especially for older folks – could mean big trouble if you’re uninsured.

Because snowbirds already have a million things on their plates, CAA has made it easy to maintain long-term protection with an Annual Plan. With one purchase, you can have access to comprehensive emergency medical insurance for trips up to 30 days. Top-ups for longer durations are as easy as making a single phonecall.

CAA offers comprehensive travel insurance in both annual and daily packages, meaning no matter how long you’re gone, staying protected can be easy, affordable and fast. Snowbirds only have to top-up their existing annual plan in order to feel secure all winter long*!

Hitting the open road.

Despite the ‘flying south for the winter’ image that one may attach to the term ‘snowbirds,’ many seniors actually drive south instead of flying down in order to retain possession of a vehicle; from Ontario, that drive could be anywhere from 18-25 hours in length! Since these trips often take place in the dead of winter, getting a seasonal inspection and tune-up is considered, by most experienced travelers, to be an absolute necessity.

CAA-Approved Auto Repair Facilities can always help with vehicle prep! Stop by your closest location to find out more.

A CAA Membership will come in handy across the border as well since Members are provided the same Roadside Assistance benefits under CAA’s American affiliate, the American Automotive Association (AAA).

CAA’s discounts and savings follow you across the border as well, so smart snowbirds should take advantage of Member-exclusive offers on hotels, outlet stores and attraction tickets when they make their way down.

Interested in becoming a Member? Join CAA today!

*Always check with your current annual plan insurer to ensure you can add coverage to the plan without losing coverage from your current plan.