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Things To Consider Before Building Your First Home In South West Florida

Building Your First Home in South West Florida

It doesn’t matter if you’re a police officer, firefighter, nurse, paralegal, or teacher. No matter what your occupation is, your first home is a big step in life! This will probably be one of the most significant expenses you ever have, and your first home is a great investment toward your future.

There are many benefits to building over buying your home, including having more choice in design, location, energy efficiency, and warranties

Benefits of New Home Construction

The Design

The decision to build instead of buy means you get to design your home exactly the way you want it. Why live in someone else’s dream home? Their dream home probably is not the same as your dream home.

Everyone has different ideas on what makes a perfect home. If you enjoy having people over, you’d like a large dining area along with a large kitchen. Newly weds may want to have kids or could already have kids, so extra bedrooms or a play area would be helpful. How many restrooms are needed? How about smart technology. The list is endless. With new construction you get to choose the layout and design so your home will suit your needs.

The Location

This is as important as design. You dream house isn’t going to be across the road from a landfill, sewer plant, or railroad tracks, right? New construction allows you to choose where you want to build your dream home. Do you prefer rural area with five acres, a subdivision with a playground, maybe a certain school district you like? Building means you get to choose location, and not just pick from what’s available.

Additionally, new housing developments tend to have lower crime rates. New construction gives you the ability to choose where your home will be built, not settle on a place that isn’t exactly where you want.

Energy Efficiency

Saving money is important. New construction allows you to be as green and efficient as you want. Energy efficient products have improved a lot in the last ten years, which means big savings to you in the long haul.

Warranties

This is pretty self explanatory. All new appliances, HVAC unit, and roofs all have warranties. What is the cost of replacing a roof, fixing plumbing leak, or replacing HVAC? Probably more than you want to spend. With a new build, you are guaranteed things will be in good working order – no surprises. Peace of mind isn’t overrated. New products should give you years of trouble-free use, and lower maintenance costs are always welcome.

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Why Southwest Florida Is A Top Choice For Relocation

When you’re considering relocating for work, Southwest Florida is a great choice! Many people who’ve vacationed, visited family, or otherwise enjoyed Southwest Florida’s culture and climate, find themselves falling in love with the area and wishing they never had to leave. 

But what makes Southwest Florida so special? In addition to the sun and sand, Southwest Florida cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral are peaceful places to live. The area boasts a crime rate lower than the national average, and there are plenty of things to do, including outdoor activities and art. Keep reading to learn more.

Moving to Florida Pros and Cons

Whether you’re relocating for work (wow, lucky!), the warmer climate, or simply because you LOVE Southwest Florida, there are so many great options of places to live. Here are some deciding factors to consider when choosing where to buy a home.

I don’t know many people who don’t love the beach! Cape Coral is a beautiful city with under 190,000 residents. With the Gulf of Mexico just a stone’s throw away, many popular beaches are within a short driving distance for a swim on a warm day and listening to the ocean. The following three beaches are some crowd favorites. 

 

Lynn Hall Memorial Park is just a 20-minute drive from Cape Coral. The attraction here is Fort Myers Beach Pier. If you get hungry, the Times Square area has many restaurant options and is within walking distance. Times Square is also home to many unique shops that can get that shopping itch taken care of while lunch settles (No swimming on a full stomach!).

Lovers Key State Park is for you if you love peaceful walks, hunting for seashells, and watching wildlife. It’s less busy than most beaches, and you can rent bicycles as well as canoes and kayaks.

Captiva Beach is the perfect date night beach! Home to beautiful sunsets, you can walk along the sand for miles while listening to waves rolling in and watching the sun lower.

Cape Coral also has Sun Splash Family Water Park. Season passes for the park are available for reasonable prices, and the trained staff make the experience fun and safe for kids and a popular hangout for older preteens and teens!

Even if the beach isn’t your thing, there is something for everyone in Cape Coral:  golf, biking, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, shopping…the list goes on! But don’t take my word for it, here are some reviews from actual residents:

My wife and I moved here 3 years ago from New York and will never go back. The Cape is booming! It’s quiet, low crime, plenty of parks and if you love the water and beach you will be in heaven. Schools are good and people are generally nice. You do have some shady parts of the city, but most of it is single homes with families or retirees. Downtown is about to get a major facelift which should help the economy. Convenient to Ft. Myers, Tampa, and Naples. Wish we’d moved here years ago!”

“I love the safety and beauty of this city, and it is the perfect place to raise my family. The schools are excellent and the homes are beautiful. Despite the lack of diversity, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

“Cape Coral is a great place to grow up because the city is so safe. If you like outdoor water sports, there is a huge canal and lake system within the city to do things like jet skiing, boating, and fishing. The city hosts a great Parks and Rec program that offers over 500 classes and sports for things to keep you busy.”

 

If you’re ready to start your search for a home in Southwest Florida, consider Rebecca Silva, long-time Southwest Florida native. She’s an agent you can trust who cares about your budget and cape coral real estate needs


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How to Find a Great SW Florida Snowbird Rental for the Winter

How to Find a Great SW Florida Snowbird Rental for the Winter
Are you recently retired and looking forward to spending your winters in a warmer climate, rather than enduring the cold and snow at home? Older adults and retirees are choosing to migrate south for the winter, and then return home when the weather gets nice. A popular destination for snowbirds is the Cape Coral & Fort Myers metropolitan area of southwest Florida, where the climate is ideal, but the cost of living is affordable. Especially if you haven’t traveled there before, looking for a place to rent can be intimidating. By doing your research and knowing where to look, you can score a great rental in Southwest Florida for the winter month

Why Go South for Winter?

Birds fly south each winter to escape the harsher northern climates, and for at least the last century, humans are catching on. Winters in the Midwest or the northern United States can’t be only miserable, but also dangerous. In places where winters are cold and snowy, people tend to spend the vast majority of their time indoors. This exposure increases to bacteria and viruses, and more people are affected by potential life- threatening illnesses during these months. Shoveling snow can also be dangerous, especially for older seniors—many people die of exhaustion, heart attack, or other causes while shoveling snow each year. Staying all winter indoors is also a hindrance to a healthy exercise plan, and can put a halt to much-needed social interaction.

If you chose to skip winters altogether and go south, you could continue a healthy fitness routine without interruption. You can get much-needed fresh air and spend just as much time outdoors. There are more social events and activities at places where snowbirds migrate as well—there is no need to put a stop to outdoor gatherings due to the cold. Older adults report much better health when they travel to warmer climates than their peers who stay at home all winter.

Factors to Consider When Renting

If you’re looking to save money, and have chosen to travel to southwest Florida, you’re already a step ahead regarding affordability than someone who decides to go to other popular snowbird destinations, like Eastern Florida or Southern California. You have many options on where to stay, and they depend on factors like what experience you’re looking for and what fits your budget.

Are you looking for a more luxurious experience, with easy access to restaurants, beaches, nightlife, and other activities? Or are you more interested in experiencing nature, and roughing it a little? Also, how far are you willing to travel on an everyday basis to get to the places you want to go? How long do you want to stay? All of these can play a part in guiding your search.

If you’re looking for the most affordable experience, many RV and manufactured home parks offer long-term rentals. To find available rentals, sites like topretirements.com can be helpful. You can also check individually with different parks. Some modern RV parks in the area include Myerside, San Carlos RV Resort and Marina, and Woodsmoke Camping Resort. Many have amenities like free Wi-Fi, pool access, and dog parks—all for much cheaper than some other rental options.

If you’re looking for a social experience where you have ample opportunities to mingle with other adults and have plenty of organized activities, larger communities of retirees may be an option. There are lots of more major housing options for this type of environment. Local real estate agents will likely know of these communities that offer seasonal rentals. Many times, bigger communities like this will have lots of apartments and various openings.

If these types of communities don’t fit what you’re looking for, you may be able to find a condo or apartment for rent on month by month basis. Because of the seasonal nature of many of businesses and attractions in the area, a lot of rentals offer this option.

Another factor to consider is how much space you’ll need at the place you decide to rent. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a partner may determine whether you need a simple, one-bedroom space or a larger accommodation. If you’re alone or only need a small space to stay in, more nontraditional options like Airbnb.com, where homes or rooms are rented out on a weekly or monthly basis, could be a good option for you.

Tips for Finding the Best Bargain

Regardless of what type of rental you’re looking for, the number one, most important tip is to start your search early. Many snowbirds start their searches months ahead of time, so superb rentals are spoken for quickly. As soon as you decide that you’ll be heading south, make looking for and securing your location is your number one priority on your to-do list.

As far as where to find out about the best rentals, there are many places you can search. Before starting an online search, see if anyone within your social circle at home frequently travels to southwest Florida. If they have, it’s not a bad idea to check with them to see if they have any inside scoop on where the best locations are. If you don’t have anyone you can ask personally, talk to a real estate agent if you like to test my expertise you may contact me directly on the form below or schedule a call hereSW Florida Snowbird Rental

Probably the most popular method of finding short-term rentals for snowbirds is through online search engines. There are several reliable websites out there that list current rentals and contact information. Sites like vacationrentals.com or tripping.com can bring up a good variety of rental options, and you can use the advanced search features to specify in greater detail for what you’re looking. Other general searches on Google or Craigslist can also lead to the right options, but always use caution when responding to any rental ads

Online searches are not updated regularly as they are on the MLS, often you will find your dream home only to learn that it was rented months ago.All our listing on rebeccasrealtor.com are updated hourly and I am alway glad to pull a customized report based on your search criteria to help cut down on the search time.If you would like to get in touch and see what is available on the SW Florida rental market for the winter, now is the time. Fill out the form below and I will be back in touch with you soon. Safe Travels.

SW Cape Coral Vacation Rental Now Available

This is your home away from home cozy three bedrooms, two bathrooms with private driveway and garage to accommodate your stay during the cold weather up north!

Comfort and convenience is the name of the game with this 1210 Sq — Ft. of living space, private washer, and dryer. The rooms can comfortably accommodate your guests with the master having a queen bed, two twin beds in the second bedroom and third bedroom with a full-size bed. You can start the day with a nice cup of coffee in the backyard or relax with a glass of wine in hand enjoying the sunset in the evening.

There are countless options to spend your days because Cape Coral is within a 20-minute driving distance to Sanibel & Captiva. For a more extended day trip, you can take a drive to Naples and Marco Island, or you can venture to Sarasota and visit Siesta Key, Lido Beach, to mention a few! Your second home is just a call away!

See More Cape Coral Fl Snow Bird Rentals Here

Contact Rebecca Silva For Availability

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25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About SW Florida Snowbirds

florida-snowbird.jpg

Every winter, millions of people who live in cooler climates head south. The majority of these seasonal travelers are retirees looking to have the best of both worlds—they stay in their more northern states when the weather there is beautiful, but enjoy warm winters in the south when at home they’d otherwise be freezing. Whether you’re considering becoming a “snowbird” yourself, or you know others who live this lifestyle, and you’re trying to understand more about it, here are some things you probably didn’t know about them.

1.    The term “snowbird” refers to a person, not an animal.

 SW Florida Snowbirds

 

Although there’s a type of bird also nicknamed the “snowbird,” the term, in this case, is used to refer to a group of people who choose to spend their winters in the warmer, southern parts of the United States. Many of these people are baby boomer retirees. Although many people think of Florida when they hear the term “snowbird,” snowbirds can be found in other southern states as well.

2.    Technically, people call them “winter visitors,” (if you don’t want to offend anyone).

The politically correct way to refer to snowbirds is winter visitors. Sometimes, when natives of the warmer states hear the term “snowbird,” they think of overly crowded beaches and restaurants. Saying “winter visitors” instead doesn’t carry such a negative reputation.

3.    “Snowbirds” are nothing new.

People have been working or vacationing in the south during colder times of year for over 100 years. The term first was used to refer to farm workers who found work in warmer climates during the winter but shifted to refer to retiree tourists by the later part of the 20th century.

4.    They aren’t just Americans.

Canadian touristAlthough most snowbirds are U.S. residents, quite a few come from other northerly countries. The most non-U.S. based winter tourists come from Canada. In Canada, there’s even a group called the Canadian Snowbird Association that aims to defend the rights of Canadians who travel or live abroad for extended periods of time.

5.    Many end up just staying.

Quite a few snowbirds begin seasonal travel to the south with the intention of living the majority of the time in their hometowns. A lot end up falling in love with their new temporary home, however, and end up establishing residency in that state.

6.    Snowbirds have a big to-do list before they leave.

If you’re heading out for a long weekend, you don’t have to pack much, and it’s probably OK if you forget something. Going away for a whole season, however, requires a lot of prep time beforehand. Snowbirds have to be prepared to be away for several months and must pack enough clothes, meds, insurance information, and other necessities. They also have to settle anything pending at home and set up house/pet care in many cases.

7.    Without snowbirds, some businesses would be in trouble.

southwest snow bird tourism.jpg

Places like RV parks and campgrounds in southern states depend on their annual snowbird visitors to meet their revenue goals. If northern visitors didn’t come in such high numbers, some of these seasonal tourism businesses could suffer.

8.   Snowbird “white cities” are a standard aerial view during the winter in some states.

In these RV parks where snowbirds flock, a sea of white is visible from the air—this is the tops of their RV’s and motor homes.

9.    Whole periodicals dedicate their issues to snowbirds.

A lot of magazines—Snowbirds Gulf Coast Magazine (http://snowbirdsgulfcoast.com/), for example, can be found down south. They fill their pages with resources for annual visitors.

10. Avoiding winter has health benefits for snow birds.

snow birds walking on cape coral beach

Many snowbirds are older than the regular tourists. As people age, strenuous tasks like shoveling snow can be dangerous work than before. Also, fitness routines like walking or bike riding can decline during the colder months. By going south, snowbirds can avoid the hazards of winter while maintaining proper exercise.

 

11. You won’t find many snowbirds just laying around all day.

Most winter travels are quite active and head south as much for the social events as they do for the warm weather. Many communities organize special events and activities specifically for this group.

12. Some states don’t use the term “snowbird.”

In some parts of the U.S., people refer to winter travelers by different names. In Texas, they’re called “winter Texans.”

13. Many turn their southern residences into rental properties during the summer.

A lot of snowbirds return home when the weather’s nicer there. Many families, however, are looking to visit states down south during the summer when they have more time. A lot of snowbirds rent out their condos or homes until they return the next winter.

14. Snowbirds are healthier than their friends who stayed home.

Statistically, older adults from northern states who don’t travel report more health problems than those who migrate south.

15. Snowbirds go more places than just Florida.

Plenty of winter travelers go to warmer states like California, Arizona, and Texas. Some even opt to go outside the U.S., to places like Costa Rica and Mexico.

16. Many celebrities or prominent individuals have been snowbirds.

Famous “pioneer snowbirds” have included John D. Rockefeller, who traveled to Florida each winter in the early part of the 20th century.

17. The real estate market has flourished in SW Florida because of snowbirds.

Since travel was easier after the 1970’s, when plane rides became more affordable, more snowbirds began heading south. There weren’t enough places for them to stay, and housing needed to be established quickly. Because of this boom in SW Florida real estate, especially with the amount of homes for sale in Cape Coral Florida. South West Florid has quickly become the #1 destination for snow birds from all walks of the globe.

18. Not all snowbirds are wealthy.

Many end up staying in a cheap housing, such as RV’s or campers and look for seasonal work while they’re there.

19. Working snowbirds are called “workampers.”

This name comes from “work” + “campers.” These travelers usually can be found working in seasonal tourist attractions.

20. Snowbirds have to worry about their home when they’re away.

Many snowbirds will pay services to do lawn care, snow removal, or newspaper pick-ups while they’re gone.

21. Snowbirds bring much-needed business to many areas of the economy of the states they visit.

Without their dollars paying for taxes, groceries, gas, and more, the economy of these states could take a hit.

22. Some snowbirds like to “rough it” a bit more than others.

Certain snowbirds can be found staying in RV’s in more remote places, getting a full camping experience.

23. Snowbirds are changing Florida’s population spread.

The proportion of elderly residents compared to everyone else in much higher in Florida than in other states. This number is primarily due to the seasonal travelers.

24. Pickleball is the game of choice for many snowbirds.

Especially in Arizona, this game—which combines ping pong, badminton, and tennis—is played by many vacationers and locals alike.

25. Most snowbirds are baby boomers.

Most winter travelers are between age 50-69. These baby boomers usually adapt well to the snowbird lifestyle, too—they have the financial means to maintain a comfortable way of life, and are more active than previous generations. If you are a snow bird looking for a place in SW Florida to kick back and relax, I would love to hear from you. Fill out the contact form below and I will get back to you with as soon as possible.


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Most Affordable Snowbird Destinations: Southwest Florida Review

Most Affordable Snowbird DestinationsThinking about heading south for the winter, but don’t think traveling can fit in your budget? Whether you’ve been retired for a while or are about to retire, ‘spending the winter months in a warmer climate can be a great option to stay active and healthy. It is also an entirely popular choice among retirees—millions of “snowbirds” spend their summers at home but travel south in the winter. It’s helpful to know the most affordable locations, best destinations, and things to do while you’re there to maximize the experience.

The Most Affordable Cities for Snowbirds

Moving south for the winter doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several locations in southwest Florida with lower costs of living that still offer plenty of warm weather, beach accessibility, and social activities. In fact, the overall cost of living in some of these places is right around the national average. Housing ranks at only 9% above the mean, while health, utilities, and transportation are affordable in southwest Florida than in the rest of the United States.

One favorite getaway for snowbirds is Cape Coral, FL. Cape Coral is on the Gulf of Mexico, west of Fort Myers. It’s nicknamed the “Water Wonderland,” because of its’ over 400 miles of canals throughout the city, as well as the fact that water surrounds it on three sides. Cape Coral was originally a planned community started in the late 1950’s, but it has since grown to become a significant part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area. The population, which is steadily increasing is varied—young adults, families, singles, and snowbirds all migrate in Cape Coral. Although named by Forbes Magazine as the 2nd largest growing city in the U.S, you will be surprised to see there are still many wonderful gems. Take a look at my page on Cape Coral Homes for sale for more information.

Fort Myers is directly east of Cape Coral and is also growing due to its prime location and affordable cost of living. Fort Meyers, the capital of Lee County, has been a traditional haven during winter, since the beginning of the 20th century. Inventors and entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford both had winter residences there.

“Snowbirding” is becoming more and more popular in the Cape Coral-Fort Meyers area. There are a lot of advantages to spending your winters in the warmer weather, and the climate of this area is ideal during the winter months. The prime season for snowbirds in southwest Florida is from January through March, with many visitors staying from October through April. The average temperature during this time is between the high 70’s and low 80’s. To gain the advantages of being a Florida resident, such as tax breaks and social insurance, you must live in Florida at least six months out of the year—many snowbirds, therefore, choose to stay the entire winter.

Live a Fun, But Affordable Lifestyle

Boating in cape coral fl.jpgHow can you make the most of the time away in southwest Florida? There are many sights to see, and things to do that will work within most budgets. With two city beaches, Yacht Club Community Park and Four Freedoms Park, Cape Coral has plenty of easily accessible water sports and activities. A public boat ramp at Yacht Club park is available for boating, and there are fishing opportunities along the pier there as well as in several of the canals in the city. Before fishing, check to make sure you’re adhering to local licensing requirements.

Other beaches and opportunities for water sports abound in the area. You can venture to Estero Island and visit the town of Fort Meyers Beach. They host a variety of events during the winter months, such as the Fort Meyers Beach Christmas Boat Parade and the Fort Meyers Beach Pirate Festival in November.

If golfing is your pastime of choice, the Cape Coral-Fort Meyers metropolitan area is home to many beautiful golf courses. Coral Oaks Golf Course in Cape Coral is an 18-hole golf course that features many natural lakes and stunning scenery. It’s ideal whether you’re a pro or just starting out, and offers an excellent practice range as well. The Eastwood Golf Course of Fort Myers is a city-owned golf course that stretches over 150 acres. There are other great golf courses throughout the area, as well as others in nearby Tampa or Naples.

Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor activities, there are plenty of other attractions and festivals throughout the area. For a tranquil nature experience, you can visit the Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden at Rotary Park. The Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library offers an educational experience about the country’s past military endeavors. The area is also rich with local farmers’ markets, wineries, distilleries, and seaside restaurants. The Boathouse Restaurant at the Yacht Club Community Beach is a popular choice for tourists and snowbirds to experience local, fresh cuisine.

Maximizing Your Returns

A good number of retirees who decide to give Southwest Florida a try one winter does end up coming back year after year. Many older adults realize that they experience better overall health when they spend more time in the tropical climate, rather than in the freezing temperatures back home. Warmer climates allow them to devote more time outdoors and stay more active than they would likely be at home. Once they realize that this is something they’d like to make a part of their annual routine, they begin investigating the most affordable and efficient way to make the change.For those ready to make the permanent switch from the cold winters to sunny outdoor living, check out my review on Babcock Ranch Homes for Sale.

It’s beneficial to stay there at least six months out of the year to be considered a Florida resident and get the “best deal” as a snowbird in southwest Florida. It can also be a good idea to rent a condo or apartment the first few years you go. This way you can get an idea of what you like to do, which areas you prefer to spend time in, and whether or not the snowbird lifestyle is for you. Once you decide to make it a more permanent switch, you can consider your options.

 Best Snowbird Destinations

Some snowbirds decide to “rough it” a bit more and stay in RV’s or campers during their stay. RV Parks like Tamiami RV Park offers amenities like electricity and water, so you can stay comfortable while getting a rustic experience. Others choose to camp in less populated places for a more secluded getaway.

cape coral homes for sale.jpgFor those who decide to buy a property, the market in Southwest Florida is much better than in some other favorite snowbird locations. The average home price is around $215,000, with many smaller condos running even more affordable and there is always the option of looking at cape coral retirement communities as well. In other prime locations like southern California or even the opposite coast of Florida, prices could run double that or more. The low real estate prices coupled with the lower cost of living make it entirely feasible to own a second residence in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, or one of the surrounding towns along the beach.

If you decide to purchase a more permanent residence like a condo or house, you’ll have to figure out what you’ll do with your property, during the months when you head back home. Many snowbirds turn this into an investment opportunity. While older retired adults choose to spend their winters in southwest Florida, younger adults and families usually go on vacation in the summer months when school is out. Snowbirds can make quite a big profit by renting out their seasonal residences to vacationers during the summer. This plan can help pay for the mortgage and any maintenance costs that arise, as well as insurance and utility bills.

Whichever way you choose to make your dream of becoming a snowbird a reality, Southwest Florida is a right place to do it. With reasonable prices, exciting attractions, and the perfect climate, more and more retirees are choosing to pass their winter months there, and for a good reason. Contact me for more information on how to turn that snowbird dream into a reality.


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The Perfect Packing List for First-Time Snowbirds

how should snowbirds pack

Perfect Packing List for First-Time SnowbirdsAre you sick and tired of the cold winter weather and looking to get away? Millions of retirees and older adults travel south each year during the colder months, skipping winter altogether. If you’re looking to escape the cold and snow, and become a snowbird yourself, you’ll need to prepare yourself with everything you need for your longer stay. You also want to pack wisely—no matter how you’re getting to your destination and where you’re staying, your space will likely be limited. With my perfect packing list for first-time snowbirds, you can be sure you didn’t forget anything, and focus on relaxing and having fun.

Clothes—For Both Hot and Cold

The number one thing taking up space in your suitcase will be clothing. It’s best to pack necessary items that you can easily mix and match—khakis, jeans, blue or navy shorts or capris. Bring tops and pants that are lightweight and can be layered.

Don’t forget to pack a few sweaters and a light jacket. Even in the hottest parts of the country, January and February can have temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s. You won’t necessarily need your warmest winter coat, but it’ll be cold sometimes, especially at night. Also, think about what shoes you’ll need, based on the activities you’ll be doing. Bring sandals, tennis shoes, and hiking shoes, if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

Recreation or Hobby Equipment

SNOW BOARD MOVING TO SWFLORIDA.jpgWhat will you be doing the whole time you’re away? If you have a hobby or interest that you haven’t been able to devote much time before, now is the time to pick that back up. Space permitting, bring along materials for you to work on those pastimes.

Many snowbirds will want to bring a camera along to remember their trip. Whatever camera equipment you use, be sure to pack it with care. Don’t travel with the camera completely assembled, but rather take it apart and pack each part separately with padding. Don’t forget the charger.

Your time away during winter is a great time to catch up on any books you wanted to read. Unfortunately, not too many books will fit in a suitcase. You can either opt to pack a few books and visit a library or bookstore once you get there, or invest in a tablet or e-reader if you don’t already have one.

If outdoor sports are your thing—think golf, football, biking, or tennis—it may be better to buy a set of equipment, and leave it in an affordable storage unit near your snowbird rental. This idea could save space while you travel, and reduce the risk of damaging anything.

Electronics

In the old days, camping trips or vacations often involved a whole trunk full of electronic devices—portable TV’s, GPS, stereos, radios, and alarm clocks. These days, nearly all of these large devices you can replace by a single one that has multifunctional capabilities. As long as you have access to the Internet, tablets and Smartphones can stream TV and music, and serve as a GPS. They also can work as an alarm clock or e-reader, so you can leave the bulky alarm clocks and books at home. By consolidating as many functions as possible into one set of electronics, you can save much-needed space in your temporary home, and also have fewer things to keep track. Remember chargers, cases, and any accessories you need to keep your device working.

Medications

If you’re currently getting your prescriptions filled on a monthly basis, you may need to ensure adjustments to have all of the medication you’ll need while you’re away. In particular, Schedule II drugs that are known to cause dependence, or have a history of prescription drug abuse will be difficult to get away from home.

With some of these medications, it’s hard to get some prescriptions filled out-of-state, and there may not always be covered. Schedule II, IV and V drugs shouldn’t be difficult to get filled elsewhere, if your doctor can fax the prescription. What kind of insurance you have will determine whether or not you will have to pay extra when abroad. National provider networks and many plans offered through the Affordable Care Act will usually cover out-of-state expenses. Medicare, however, may be harder to work with, and usually, includes within the state you live.

You can check with your insurance about mail-in prescriptions that will allow you to get up to three months of medication mailed to you at a time. You may be able to use an alternate address for the months you’re away from home.

Relevant Documents

You’ll need to carry important documents like health and auto insurance information, rental leases, ID’s, and others when you’re traveling. To avoid the risk of these things getting lost, you can opt for electronic forms rather than paper copies of some documents. For things like your ID, you should always have the hard copy with you; but for insurance information and other materials, you can scan them and save them electronically, so that you can access them anytime. If you’re not comfortable going completely without paper copies, do both—keep the original and an electronic copy. This way, your bases are covered in case anything goes missing.

Pet Needs

A lot of snowbirds opt to take their pets with them during their stay. While you get your prescriptions in order, make sure to also TRAVLEIN WITH PETS.jpgget ample refills of any medication for your pet to bring with you. It’s also a good idea to bring their medical records—wherever you may be renting may require proof that your dog’s, at least, up-to-date with a rabies vaccine.

Also, consider whether you’ll be buying other pet essentials when you get there, or taking your own from home. Dogs will need a leash, bed, collar, dishes, etc.—include these on your packing list or your list of things to pick up once you get there. Bring a favorite toy or blanket along with them, too.

Some cities have bans on certain dog breeds. If your particular pet isn’t welcome, make arrangements for them to stay elsewhere while you’re gone, or reconsider where you’ll be staying.

Appliances and Cooking Supplies

You’ll need to cook at one point during your stay down south. Some people lug things like microwaves, coffee pots, and other small appliances from home each year. If you own, you can buy a set there and leave it in your home or RV. If you’re renting and can’t bring everything you need, neither of these choices may be the best option. Appliances, pots, pans, and table settings can take up lots of space. Many snowbirds opt to purchase cheaper sets of these things near their rental and place them in self-storage during the summer months until they return.

Final Packing Tips

Regardless of what your individual needs are, a few packing tips can save you a lot of time and space. Check into mailing your things back and forth rather than packing them—especially if you’re flying, this may be cheaper than bringing all of your stuff on the plane. Don’t pack smaller items like toiletries. Instead, just wait to buy those things when you get there. Don’t forget to set up mail forwarding, and to make arrangements for someone to check in on your permanent home while you’re gone.

If your ready to get out of the snow and into the sun, allow me to help place you in your dream home. Let’s get started by filling our your information below and I will get back in touch with you very soon!


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