March 22, 2021 — Covid has caused so many terrible tragedies. One that is not so serious, but nevertheless painful, has been the effect on the many snowbirds who were not able to come south this winter. That includes many people from the U.S., and especially the almost 1 million Canadians who normally migrate south to places like Arizona, Florida, or Mexico for some of the winter months. It also affects the U.S. economy, as snowbirds are important contributors to warm weather economies.
Fly Yes, Drive No
Canadian citizens can fly to the U.S., if they have a negative Covid-19 viral test within three days of their departure, or documentation that they have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 90 days. Land crossings, however, are banned for non-essential travel. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature, which would cover snowbirds. Additionally, some states require or recommend people coming in from other states or countries to quarantine for up to two weeks. Since many Canadians travel either in motor homes or RVs, the non-essential restriction meant they didn’t go south this year. Others who like to drive south so they can take more of their belongings with them, stayed home too (although it is possible to fly to the U.S. and have your car shipped separately).
December 30, 2020 – A new survey from SnowbirdAdvisor.ca estimates that only 31% of Canadian snowbirds will make the trip south this winter. Problems crossing the U.S. border for non-essential travel, quarantines, and concerns about catching Covid are some of the reasons. Besides the impact on Canadians who will have to spend a winter in the cold, the communities that rely on them to support their winter economies will also suffer. According to the website about 1 million Canadians ordinarily spend the winter in the U.S. or some other warm climate.
December 2, 2020 — While up north there has already been plenty of snow and ice, that doesn’t mean that all the snowbirds have taken flight to warmer climes. The Covid pandemic seems to have clipped the wings of a significant number of people in the northeast, midwest, and Canada, as reported in the South Florida Sentinel, which recently published an article interviewing officials in communities and the tourist industry. Although precise figures are hard to come by, it is clear that not everyone is going to come south. The article’s conclusions line up with results from the Topretirements Blog article on snowbirding this winter, which generated 29 comments.
October 6, 2020 — Tens of thousands of retirement-age Americans will be migrant laborers next year, even if the economy recovers quickly. Laid off from their jobs before they wanted to, bored, or finding that their meager savings plus Social Security aren’t providing enough for a comfortable retirement, many are hitting the road, driven by economic necessity and wanderlust.
Workcampers (also workampers and workvampers), as these nomads are often called, represent a growing niche of the retirement world. They have even spawned an industry, van customizers, who can’t keep up with the demand for converting delivery vans and the like into rolling homes with every necessity included. In addition to making a living, devotees of the lifestyle enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with living on the road.
September 9, 2020 – Bermuda is one of those countries where it is really hard to live for a period longer than a brief vacation stay. But the pandemic has changed that, at least temporarily. Now, if you are still working, you can live there for one year for just a $263 application fee. The move is one to bolster the tourist based economy, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Work from Bermuda website, the program is for people who are currently employed and working from home or enrolled in tertiary education and studying remotely. Instead of working or studying remotely in your home country, you can work or study remotely from Bermuda.
August 11, 2020 – Someday this whole wretched Covid experience is going to be behind us. Just when – nobody knows – dependent on when we start to take it seriously, get an effective vaccine, a cure, or heaven help us, herd immunity. So when that happy day comes, we want to know – where are you going to go on your first trip!
Perhaps it will be family related. Your editor is going to get on a plane and visit his grandchildren in California. After that, it might be somewhere far away that is high on our bucket list. New Zealand, Scandinavia, Ireland – they are all possibilities. A cruise – probably not right away.
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.