Your Ultimate Travel Checklist for the Snowbird Season

With temperatures falling below 0 is many parts of North America, the thought of drinking a chilled beverage on a sunny beach or taking a leisurely afternoon stroll in the park certainly does sound enticing.

The prospect of spending time in warmer climate is particularly appealing to Canadians, especially retirees. According to Canada Post, every winter, over half a million Canadians travel south to escape the winter weather.

If you’re a baby boomer who is planning for a trip down south during this winter reason, we have you covered. This quick checklist will help ensure that you’ve everything you need for a comfortable holiday and things are taken care of back home.

Planning your trip:

Planning for a trip, for seasonal travel, usually begins way in advance so that you can get affordable flights and attractive rentals. While the most important items on the planning checklist such as securing a long-term rental and booking a flight, might already been done, there are a few other things that you need to do before you commence your journey.

It is vital to arrange travel insurance to protect yourself in case any unforeseen circumstances arise. Getting travel medical insurance gives you peace of mind particularly if you have any preexisting health conditions. Additionally, you may also want to check and upgrade your auto insurance if you are traveling by car.

If you are not taking your vehicle, make sure to book a rental car in advance to get better rates on your preferred vehicles. Some dealerships also offer deals for snowbirds, so keep an eye out avail those discounts.

Essentials to carry:

Packing for a long holiday can be a hassle. Seasonal travellers often have to chose between what to take and what to leave as there is limited baggage allowance on most airlines. Hence, it’s a good idea to create a checklist of essentials you would need beforehand to avoid any last minute panic.

It’s recommended for snowbirds to travel light and keep the luggage to a minimum to make traveling easier. Some of the following items are things you should definitely carry:

  • Identification documents: regardless of whether you’re travelling by car or air, it’s important to carry personal identification documents. These include your passport, driving license, and health card (if applicable)
  • Airline ticket: a digital or print copy of your airline ticket
  • Medical insurance policy: a copy of your medical travel insurance is an essential item to carry as it would be required in case the need to consult a medical professional arises
  • Cash or credit cards: ahead of your travel, keep cash and/or credit cards to ensure that you have sufficient money on hand
  • Personal care items: Keep clothing essentials, towels, toiletries, and personal hygiene products. It is recommended to keep a sweater or a jacket in case the weather gets slightly chilly  
  • Vehicle Documents: If you’re travelling in your car it is vital to carry the documents for your car including the registration and insurance policy  
  • Medications: Carry any medications that you have been prescribed by your doctor and keep the prescription along as well
  • Electronic devices and chargers: While keeping your electronic devices, such as GPS watch, tablets and laptops, don’t forget to keep chargers and adapters
  • Sports equipment: If you enjoy a particular sport such as pickle ball, tennis or badminton, pack your gear up as the warmer weather would be ideal for outdoor sports

Managing things back home

When you’re away for a long time, there a quite a few things that need to be taken care of before you head out. This is particularly important if you have a pet or a property that needs to be managed.

If you are leaving a pet with a friend or family member, take out the time to explain their schedules, preferences and requirements ahead of time. It’s good to make a trip to the grocery store to buy everything your pet would need for the next few weeks.

If you have family members who are around or even friends or neighbours, it is a good idea to request them to carry out inspections of the house once in a while to ensure that everything is in order. They may also be able to collect your mail and store if safely for you.

To save on some costs you can also suspend subscriptions of items such as internet, newspapers, and landline until you’re back. When leaving the house also ensure that your fridge is cleared out and turned off, and water is shut off.

Once you have all these main items checked off, you can also view and fill the detailed CSA travellers checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared for your journey.

With all these things done, it’s time to say goodbye to winter woes and embrace the warm climate of the south!

Author: Erum Ansari is a public relations professional who specializes in technology comms. She is an avid reader, a travel enthusiast, and a self-proclaimed story-teller. Before joining the content team at Your Doctors Online, Erum was the PR manager at Hill & Knowlton Strategies and was handling communications and content strategy for a diverse portfolio of brands. She is also a new mom who is finding her way around motherhood.