7 Must-read tips to secure your home this winter before traveling South

Each year, millions of people from the United States and Canada head south to spend anywhere from a few days to several months in warm weather. While this is a common tradition for many people, it may seem a daunting task if it’s your first time trying the Snowbird life. Make sure you’ve secured your property and belongings back home safely so you can have a stress-free vacation in the sun. Read on to see what 7 tips we’ve learned from our readers on how to prepare leaving your house.

  1. Health insurance and medications: make sure you’re stocked up on any medications you take back home and assume that you won’t be able to get them down South, especially if you’re traveling internationally. Additionally, talk with you doctor about your travel plans and ask what recommendations they have for traveling in terms of finding medical care or getting more prescriptions. Make sure to call your health insurance company too to see what’s covered and what’s not.
  2. Visa requirements: This is a tricky one for those traveling internationally–legally, Canadians may stay in the U.S. for up to four months (or 120 days) per year, even if that time is not consecutive. While Canadians may fill out additional paperwork to stay longer, make sure you have a schedule for your four-month trip.
  3. House watcher/plant waterer: Give yourself peace of mind by having a trusted friend or family member over to look after your house, water any plants and take in mail. If you’re gone for an extended period of time, contact the post office and let them know to hold your mail for you.
  4. Light timer: It helps to have somebody look after your house, but adding a light timer gives extra protection. Set it up so that your house isn’t completely dark during your absence.
  5. Home detection service: These services are becoming much more affordable and allow you to check on your house via video even while thousands of miles away. If you see anything suspicious or catch something on video, you can even call police remotely and they’ll come check it out.

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  6. Inviting a family member or trusted friend to stay: You never know who in your circle might need a place to stay for a while. If there’s somebody you trust to be in your home for several weeks or months, offer them your place to stay–they get free or reduced rent, and you have a reliable house-sitter that you can call at anytime for updates.
  7. Get social: After all the hassle of preparing your home and traveling south, make sure you have a plan to enjoy your vacation! If you’ll be living there for some time, look into joining a Snowbird club! Also, consider joining meetups as a way to learn new hobby, keep up old ones, and make new friends while traveling.
  8. Obviously, we want to give you this bonus trip: book a boat rental trip with us! Whether you want to cruise around with your friends or have a professional wine tasting or cooking class on your boat, if you book before New Year’s, we’ll provide 10% of your entire booking, just use the code “SNOWBIRD” at checkout on the Boatsetter website.

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