A person over the age of 55 who moves to a warmer, sunnier climate to escape from the harsh winter they typically have at home is called a snowbird. This jovial nickname represents the migratory behavior of people when they reach retirement age and their proclivity for warm weather that they can be outside in and enjoy.
If you have determined that you’re a snowbird in need of a new adventure that includes warm and sunny days, you might be considering a move south, at least for the winter months. Anytime you have to move, there’s a lot to consider like:
- Where will you live?
- Will you rent or buy?
- Will you sell or keep your existing home?
- What should you pack?
- How will you travel?
- How will you get your vehicles there?
As you consider all that moving will mean to you, this guide will hopefully offer you some tips for moving to a warmer climate as you prepare to enjoy the sunnier side of retirement.
What Are the Benefits of Moving to a Warmer Climate?
The retirement age people in the United States make up about 17% of the population, and while the group may be a small number of Americans, many of them are choosing to move. Many retirees opt for warmer climates.
You might be wondering what’s so special about moving to a warmer climate. Here are some of the benefits to consider:
- Less money spent on heating bills to fight the cold air of winter every year
- More exposure to direct sunlight equals improved vitamin D levels - almost 15% of seniors have a vitamin D deficiency
- Opportunities for more outdoor activities
- Warmer temperatures may help improve bone strength and help prevent loss of bone density
- Improved mood, less seasonal affective disorder, and a higher release of the hormones of happiness
When you’re in a warmer climate, it’s easier to get outside for fresh air, which is always good for your lungs. If you choose a relatively consistent climate, you won’t have to adjust to temperature extremes, and many people just enjoy an increased amount of sunshine.
Of course, it’s not always sunny, and there are some disadvantages to consider. For many, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, but here are some disadvantages to be aware of:
- More insects and bugs
- Hot and humid months in the summer - higher AC bills to keep it cool
- Exposure to more pollen and allergens
- Many warmer climate locations have to deal with hurricanes
You’ll need to do your homework on the locations that you might choose as your new house. Do research to find out how friendly their tax rates are to retirees, the cost of living in the area, the crime rates, and the healthcare facilities available.
What Should You Do Before You Move?
If you’ve chosen your sunny destination, like south Florida, California, or another warmer state, you’ve probably started thinking about all the stuff you need to move. If you’ve been in your home for several years, especially several decades, you’ve probably acquired more stuff than you can fathom moving to your new home.
Depending on your living situation, you may not have the space for all of your current belongings, or you may just want to downsize for your own convenience.
You’ll also want to consider all of the items that you might need in your warmer climate that you might not have had a need for before now.
How Can You Downsize?
As you prepare to move, consider your options for downsizing your personal inventory. Here are a few ideas for how you can move your old items out and make packing easier.
- Have a moving sale. Sell items that you no longer need to others in your area. You can use the money you make to help pay for new items you’ll need.
- Go online with your items. Selling your items can be faster when you use social media. You can negotiate prices without in-person haggling, and you can set up to meet at a safe location for the exchange.
- Have a moving party. Invite your friends and family over to browse items that you can’t sell. Perhaps your loved ones can make use of items that you no longer need, and they’ll think of you when they use them.
- Consider donating. Doing something good for someone else is a great way to feel even better. If you have useful items that you can’t seem to sell or don’t want to take the time to sell, donate them to a local shelter or charity.
- Opt for a storage unit. Sometimes, you don’t want to part with your items, but you also don’t want to take them with you. A storage unit can be an easy way to store your items until you know what to do with them.
How Can You Prepare To Move?
Preparing to move can seem overwhelming, but it can go smoothly if you approach the task systematically.
Start with thinking about your first days in your new home. When you arrive in your new climate, are you prepared with the right items? If you’re used to winter months that involve snow shovels, mukluks, and parkas, you may not be prepared for the warmer winters.
On your first days of warm weather, you may need items you’ve never needed in wintertime like:
- Bug spray
Other items can probably wait until after you’ve settled into your new home. As you acclimate to your new environment, you’ll get a sense of what’s trendy in your area, and you’re likely to have a better selection of climate-friendly clothing.
How Do You Prepare To Move?
If you’ve downsized, you’re probably ready to start thinking about the actual move. But, where do you begin?
1. Start Packing
One of the biggest hurdles to a move is the packing itself. Start early, and develop a system. Marking your boxes with labels that tell you what room they belong to and a general idea of the items inside will help you easily unpack.
2. Choose A Moving Strategy
If you’re moving a few hundred miles away or more, you’ll need to plan how you’ll move in advance. Do you plan to move everything yourself? Will you hire movers? Or will you find a way to ship your belongings to your new home?
Unless you plan to drive a rental truck yourself, you’ll need to think about how you will meet the movers or your belongings at your new home.
Once your boxes are loaded up for the move, you might want to consider flying to your new home with a few of the essentials in an overnight bag so you can be ready and waiting on your items as they arrive.
3. Make a Plan for Moving Your Car
When we’re focused on the big move, it can be easy to forget some of the most obvious logistical problems. Unless you’re prepared to make a long road trip, you might need to consider car shipping.
Car shipping allows you to have your car loaded at one location and delivered to your destination. It takes an average of four weeks to transport a vehicle, but your car or truck will arrive in the same condition it was in before the move.
Car shipping saves you from any unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. Retirement often means living on a fixed income, so unexpected expenses like a car repair can be a burden. Choosing a safe and reliable means of transportation for your vehicle might be the answer you didn’t know existed.
If the car shipping process is new to you, Carvaygo can help you find the right schedule for your vehicle, answer all your questions, and help you every step of the way.
4. Plan Ahead for the Climate Change
As you’re preparing to move, learn more about the warmer climate and the region you’ll be moving to. If you have never lived in a warmer climate, you may not know all the tips and tricks that veteran snowbirds know.
Some things to remember in your life as a migrated snowbird:
- Wear sunscreen
- Wear clothes that will keep you cool and dry
- Learn how to care for an air conditioning system for your home and your car
- Stay hydrated
You’ll be sporting the best sun hats and enjoying fun in the sun before you know it.
Moving at any time in your life is a challenge. When you think of the warm, sunny days that you can spend enjoying being outdoors, making friends, and feeling happier and healthier, it’s hard to think of a reason not to move. If you prepare yourself for the changes you can expect, you can soak up every moment of your move to a warmer climate.
Before you know it, you’ll be trading your white Christmas and snowman for sand between your toes and a palm tree. When you move the right way, you’ll feel right at home, and you’ll skip that awkward phase of feeling like a tourist.
Visit Carvaygo for more moving tips or information on hauling your car to your new home.
Where Retirees Are Moving - 2021 Edition | SmartAsset
Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and Associated Risk Factors in the US Population (2011-2012) | ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Stronger bones thanks to heat and microbiota | ScienceDaily