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Are You Still Planning to Snowbird Next Winter?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

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.

Photo by Tina Nord from Pexels

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!

Posted by Admin on July 10th, 2020

16 Comments »

  1. Regarding at our Winter plans, at this point all I can say is It Depends. The main consideration will be how mild the winter is here is southeast Pa. When we lived in north Jersey there were Winters during which we were able to golf every month – chilly but the course wasnt snow covered, if the season is mild like that we will probably just take a short road trip to visit friends in some southern states but wont stay long. If the long term (3 month) forecasts that come out in Dec. suggest brutal weather then we will plan to be south for longer. Last minute rentals arent hard to find in the Grand Strand area in the Winter and for Florida we have had success booking suite type hotels which works out well since we like to spend time visiting family and friends who are spread out along both coasts. Of course we will also keep an eye on what’s happening with the virus, wouldnt want to go someplace and find the restaurants closed.

    by Jean — July 11, 2020

  2. Though we’ve thought about snowbirding or it’s reverse, I can’t imagine that anymore. That makes a permanent retirement destination all the more important.

    by Staci — July 11, 2020

  3. RichPB, you’re on the mark, thanks.

    by DLJ — July 11, 2020

  4. We were planning to travel down to our place in FL in Nov. Now playing wait and see as it feels much safer here in MA.

    by Debbie — July 11, 2020

  5. We usually travel to our FL condo in early November and return mid-May. If, as it gets closer,
    it looks like a COVID vaccine will be ready in Dec we will likely stay north so we can get the shot and travel down late December. Vaccine or not we will definitely not spend winter in MD.

    by carol kokinda — July 12, 2020

  6. We usually travel to our FL condo on Nov lst, returning mid-May. If it looks like they will have
    a COVID vaccine in Dec we will stay in MD to get the shot and travel down around New Years Eve.
    Vaccine or not we will not spend the winter in MD. Much happier quarantined in the sun versus winter
    grey days.

    by cak — July 12, 2020

  7. I’m in Tucson area and a year round resident. It has been so odd, many of our snowbirds didn’t head out in April/May because we were doing so good. Decided to stay right through the summer this year as it seemed safe here and weren’t sure what the travel back might entail. Now in the last 2 weeks they are getting “out of dodge” as we are in serious trouble!

    by ljtucson — July 12, 2020

  8. Although we have never been”snowbirds”, we have taken a 1-2 week vacation in FL for many years at the peak of winter. Since deciding to permanently stay in our home in central NC a year or so back (rather than sell and move south), we were planning this year to snowbird (rent) for 1-3 months somewhere way south like FL, the Gulf Coast, Tucson, etc — wherever we felt like spending the time relaxing and exploring.

    All that is out the window now with Covid-19 — may never happen. The irresponsible behavior by so many in all those areas make it too risky.

    It’s not a terrible decision for us though it is very disappointing (to say nothing if the sadness and sorrow for all those affected by the virus). We have always found our home to be our preferred place and always looked forward to returning after even short visits away. Isolating is only moderately difficult and we continue to find the positive. But if wishes…

    by RichPB — July 15, 2020

  9. Since we have a home in Florida we would like to go visit at some point during the winter after December, but have not made any plans yet-Has anyone taken the Auto Train ? Would that be a safer option than flying or driving?

    by Jemmie — July 16, 2020

  10. Update from this week’s newsletter poll:
    We asked people two questions:
    Were a snowbird last year?
    How likely to be a snowbird this year?

    About 17% said they were snowbirds last year (rated it as 10)

    Looking ahead to this year, 13% rated the likelihood of going as a 10.
    Another 14% rated between 7 and 9 on the scale, which we interpret as meaning that they are on the fence to some degree or other. But that there is still great interest in going south for the winter, if things work out.

    by Admin — July 17, 2020

  11. Here is our thinking about returning to Florida this winter.
    If the Covid situation in the state remains as bad as it is now, and the hospital in our town is near capacity that would be a problem. The same for Miami, which is where we would go as a safety valve or any serious medical condition. Many of the tourists who come to town are irresponsible, which multiplies the danger. Doesn’t feel safe to go down there in those conditions, even though a stay up north could endanger our FL residency.
    But I don’t look forward to a cold CT winter.

    by Nick — July 19, 2020

  12. No!

    by Ron — July 20, 2020

  13. I will be a snowbird again, in my RV boondocking away from all major cities. Where exactly is the question. All i know is that winter in northern MN is out of the question. Shoveling snow and -30 weather is no longer an option for me!

    by Bob — July 20, 2020

  14. Nick, I don’t know for sure, of course, but I expect Florida or other states might not strictly enforce the six months and a day residency requirement due to the Covid -19 pandemic. They probably would concentrate only on those with very high income, or significant home values in Florida, until the pandemic no longer affects travel capabilities.

    Editor’s Comment: Thanks for that clarification. You might be right, some states may give people a break – or not. They definitely will concentrate on high income people. The problem is not with the no income tax states like Florida, they don’t particularly care if you are a resident or not. The states with income taxes want you if spend more than six months and a day there. Many non-residents usually have no problems with that restriction because they travel out of state/country during the summer – but this year nobody is travelling.

    by Clyde — July 20, 2020

  15. Yes, we are planning on heading south in January. However, that could change based on Covid19.

    by Steven Lynn — July 22, 2020

  16. We have been heading south from our Iowa home to Florida or South Carolina for a couple months each winter. Enjoyed Hilton Head Island the last two years and wanted to return for three months in 2021. We were hoping to reserve a 2021 condo rental before we left in March this year but once we became aware of the Covid 19 pandemic, we decided to wait and see what happens. With the poor response to the pandemic in the USA, especailly the rush to open everything up in the South, we will continue to hold off into the Fall and see if things get better. One factor for us is our desire to get outside during the winter, where it is safer from the virus, to walk, bike, and play tennis. But if the pandemic is out of control, we’ll probably stay home. It’s not good to be far from home if you’re worried about disease and lack of availability for health care.

    by Harrison — July 26, 2020

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