July 11, 2020 — Normally by this time many retired folks from the Northeast and Midwest have found a rental in Florida, the Carolinas, Arizona, or some other warm weather state. Or, if they own a place, they are making plans to fly or drive south in the fall. This year is different, to say the least. While many snowbirds left their winter places when Covid cases were light in those states and the disease was just starting to abate in the Northeast. The opposite is happening now. Arizona, Florida and the Carolinas are raging out of control, with ICU beds starting to reach capacity.
All of that said, we would love to know how your snowbird plans for next winter are coming along. Are you planning on leaving at your normal time, delay, or not go at all? Have you locked in a rental, or are you waiting to see what happens? Will you travel down there by the usual means – car, airplane, or cartrain? What would the situation have to be at your destination for you to decide to go in terms of the number of cases, hospital capacity, etc.? Would we have to have a vaccine in place? What else would go into your decision to be a snowbird next winter?
Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. This has the makings of being a fascinating and helpful topic. Thanks!
Editor’s note: Our thanks to Frank for sending over a detailed dispatch on what he and Caroline just went through. As Connecticut residents who visit their grandchildren in California for a few winter months each year, they had a lot of important decisions to make when their CA rental expired.
April 4, 2020 —Just a few thoughts from our perspective, having recently gone through the “when to leave” conundrum when we were still in California. The debate as “to go or stay” was driving us nuts – this was in the early days of the virus hitting California. Unfortunately that also coincided with a diagnosis of bronchitis and an emergency room visit for me (more about that later). Of course the decision input included words of wisdom ( and I might add some panic) from our kids! After days and days of all consuming debate we finally said “today’s the day “ and made a decision to fly home.
That decision was based on the following “best guesses”:
Update May 21, 2020 – Your editor just returned to CT from FL after agonizing about when and if to return. Part of the journey was by car (to Tallahassee) and the second part by air, which included a stopover in Charlotte). Car traffic in much of Florida is lighter than usual but with far more cars on the road than in April. In parts of FL along the Gulf Coast very few people wear masks, even in the supermarkets. In Miami the drivers are just as crazy and aggressive as ever, there are just fewer of them. The Tallahassee Airport was empty at 5:30 AM, and the Charlotte Airport jammed at 9:00 AM (see photos below). The planes were both full except for middle seats. We are glad to be up north again, our opinion is the situation is Florida is going to get crazy with everyone thinking the pandemic is over.
March 30, 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc in just about every corner of our lives. Now it is presenting snowbirds with another dilemma – when and how to return from their warm winter escapes. Those with a lease ending on March 31 or April 30 have an even more difficult situation.
But the problem of when to return is just one decision to make. There is also the issue of how – drive, fly, or train. They might have existing reservations for both themselves and their vehicles – if those haven’t been cancelled yet. Let’s explore the issues via a few examples.
February 19, 2020 — This could happen to you next fall: you hand your license to airport security and she hands it back. Sorry sir, this is not REAL ID – you cannot board the plane. That’s right, starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of identification (such as a US Passport, US Passport Card, US military card, or a DHS Trusted Traveller Card) for domestic air travel.
The Real ID Act of 2005 sets forth requirements for state driver licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, which are activities defined as boarding commercially operated airline flights, and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants.
June 22, 2019 – We have been posting on Facebook about some of the most likely places to retire as we continue our tour of Scotland and a little bit of Ireland. These posts will give you a little hint of what it might be like to retire there, mostly because of the photos.
Very soon we will have a summary feature that covers places to retire in Scotland, how possible it is for non-Brits, cost of living, and more. But in the meantime, follow us on Facebook where you will find posts not only about Scotland, but links to all of our newsletters and other interesting retirement news as well. See our Mini-Retirement Guide to Scotland as well.
February 17, 2019 — A potential solution to one of the biggest problems facing older retirees is on the road in The Villages, the world’s largest retirement community. Voyage, an automated taxi service, is testing driverless cars within parts of that community’s road system. If successful, the project will help older residents enjoy the freedom and mobility that comes with a car – even if they are not behind the wheel of that vehicle.
To begin with a certain number of “pioneers’ are able to use these taxis at no charge. The pioneers can call up a driverless car to go shopping, doctor’s appointments, recreation, visit friends – whatever they can reach within the neighborhoods involved in the test. The cars have a backup “driver” and a top speed of 25 m.p.h.
August 29, 2018 — Key West is a great place to go on vacation, or better yet, retire. Certainly your Topretirements editor enjoys the latter. One of its attractions is its multiple heritages coming from being an island far from the mainland. It was only accessible by boat until 1912, when the Overseas Railroad from Miami was completed (the Overseas Highway opened all the way in 1938). Closer to Cuba than Miami, the island has also had close ties with and many residents from that island nation.
That brings us to a new book that provides an interesting armchair tour of the Key West vibe, along with a good yarn that ties in to the Cuban heritage. Lucy’s Burdette’s newest novel, Death on the Menu, the 8th in her Key West Food Critic mystery series, has just been published by Crooked Lane Books. In it Hayley Snow is thrilled to be working at a three-day international conference at the Harry S. Truman Little White House (one of Key West’s (more…)
July 27, 2018 — There are some folks who decide the best place to retire is — everywhere! That’s right, there are people how so love adventure and travel that they sell everything and go on the road. Some do it for a few years, while others hope to do it as long as they can. While not for everyone, it is guaranteed to be an interesting strategy.
After we saw a recent NY Times article about a couple who have retired to become modern day nomads, we knew we had to share their story. But as we got into it we realized that there are many different ways to retire on the road. You can live on a cruise ship, buy a boat, travel about in a RV or van, or work as a floating (more…)
April 7, 2018 — The majority of people say they would like to do some traveling once they retire. There are plenty of destinations that immediately come to mind. Paris, the Grand Canyon, London, New York City – these are on many people’s lists. Beyond that, evaluating and planning exciting places to visit can be a really fun part of the process. To help stimulate your thinking this article will give you some creative and offbeat ideas that will, hopefully, get your travel juices really going.
Out of the box travel ideas
Not that it is a competition, but who ever said you had to go to the same places that everybody else has. So consider these travel themes, which in many cases involve exploring all (or many) of the locations in certain categories.
Detail from The Temple of Bulguksa (built in 774) South Korea. World Heritage site
1. UNESCO – World Heritage sites – Worldwide there are 1,073 World Heritage sites, so it is improbable anyone could visit more than a few hundred or so. According to Wikipedia, “To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an (more…)
March 27, 2018 — When we decided to visit India, one of the places on both of our bucket lists, my wife and I got one of two very opposite reactions. The first was incredulous, as in “why would you want to visit a place like that?” The second was either, “I have always wanted to go there”, or “I can’t wait to go back”.
One reason we wanted to visit India came from what we heard from fellow travelers. They spoke of the strange and awesome sights, the friendly people so different from us, and the wonderful food. For my wife, an avid reader captivated by the many (more…)