Every year, countless amounts of ‘snowbirds’ travel southbound to avoid the harsh winter months in their home states. Some of these elders may insist on renting a location for years, while others may have a home already purchased with intent to move into it later on down the line in their lives. Regardless of where these elders may reside, it provides a well-needed respite throughout the rough winters, while also providing a means to hosting family and friends occasionally. If you believe you’re ready to start considering the snowbird lifestyle, this post should provide a couple tips to make that process a bit smoother. 

First and foremost, all of the time spent out of your home in the winter months will require a winterizing of your home. Meaning you’ll likely have to suspend services like cable and internet, but more importantly your water to avoid any flooding or water damage risks in your property. Turning down the heat is also recommended, but do not turn it off for extended periods of time. With the heat off, your water pipes may freeze in the coldest months. Consider asking a close family member or friend to occasionally check on the house as well. 

Other considerations have to be made for any vehicles or appliances being kept in your winter home. Clearing out your fridge prior to departure is highly recommended, as any perishables will begin to decay depending on duration of your travels. You may also want to leave the doors of the fridge open to avoid mildew build up. In addition to this, unplugging your fridge to reduce electricity costs is also recommended. 

Prior to leaving, unless maintenance was already scheduled recently, consider calling someone in to take a look at your heating system. A professional will be able to determine if the system is suitable to cover your home for the duration of your stay and can recommend the best ways to keep your home warm throughout your travels. They may also recommend unplugging any electronics around the home to avoid any fire risks. 

Prepare accordingly in regards to mail as well. Leaving for an extended period of time is the perfect excuse to cancel any subscription to a magazine you haven’t read in some time. The United States Postal Service will also allow you to forward your mail in the event that you do need to receive important mail throughout your stay. It’s also worth considering mentioning something of your travels to your neighbors. Having a close eye on your home while you’re away is helpful, even if you’re not particularly close with your neighbors. They’re closest and likely the first to see any suspicious activity you may want to hear about while you’re away. 

Confirm you’ve packed all necessary medications, prescriptions and any other medical devices with you just prior to leaving. As mentioned previously, friends and family occasionally checking in on the home is recommended, but not necessary in some cases. Alerting the local police force of your extended departure may also be wise as they can add it to their rounds and alert you of any suspicious activity. 

While this all may seem a bit overwhelming at first, the confidence you have in keeping your home secure while away can grant the ultimate peace of mind. For more information on how to smoothly transition into a snowbird retirement, be sure to check out the infographic coupled alongside this post. Courtesy of Transport Advisers.