For several years, thousands of Americans and their Canadian counterparts have looked up "how to be a snowbird" and presently, the numbers just keep increasing. This implies that being a snowbird isn't a bad idea though. For those wondering, what is a snowbird? A snowbird is someone who temporarily or permanently moves to regions with warmer climatic conditions just to avoid the harsh winter weather in their hometowns. Some of these travelers may be temporary ones that travel during winter and return when it gets warmer, while others are permanent travelers who are often semi-retirees or retired individuals who already have a second home in warmer or sun-kissed destinations like Texas or Florida or Arizona.
How to Be a low budget Snowbird:
Keep a Simple Wardrobe
Take Advantage of Any Tax Opportunities
Inform Your Insurance Company
Try out Inexpensive Hobbies
Pick up a Side Hustle
Save by Reducing Electronics
Cook at Home
Rent out Your Property
Pack Enough for Your Pets
Don't Pack What You Can Buy
Time Your Trip Right
In fact, even
young people look to snowbirding without actually being fully retired. Most
people of all ages are looking for ways to take advantage of the snowbird
lifestyle while still on their budget. However,
it may seem like an impossible step but are you
interested in being a snowbird on a budget? Do you want to know how to be a
snowbird cheap? Do you need ideas on
really nice yet pocket-friendly snowbird locations? Don't look too far. The
article will answer your questions while providing you
with important tips on how to go about it.
When the winter
approaches and the chill begins to descend, that's enough signal for many
snowbirds to begin their yearly escape to a warmer climate. Although going on
these trips may seem like an expensive
proposition, we are happy to announce to you
that you can actually become financially ahead. It all depends on the location that you choose,
how long you plan to spend there and your ability to prepare properly. Setting
a budget and sticking to it will help you to keep the extra travel and living
accommodations more manageable. Who knows, you may be able to reduce your
income tax bill. Another way to make it easier is if you own a property, you
might be able to use that to your financial advantage. Here are some essential
tips that can help you afford the snowbird lifestyle:
1. Head Overseas
It has become a
tradition for snowbirds to head to southern locations such as Florida, Texas,
or Arizona just for warmer weather. However, you can consider other
alternatives, which involve looking a bit farther afield and considering other
easy-to-reach destinations overseas. If you spend your winter in locations
where your dollar extends a lot further, then it can be possible to
significantly reduce costs for that period of time that you are away. These
alternatives or retirement spots may include Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica,
Ecuador, and more, which are generally known to have good climates all year
2. Keep a Simple Wardrobe
Another way to
reduce excess cost as a snowbird is to streamline your wardrobe. If you are
going on a snowbird vacation, you might want to write a list and keep to it.
Since you are going to a warmer region, you won't be needing a full winter
jacket or a large hoodie. You need to consider all these things and pack
rightly. Sure, even if you are going to be in, say Miami for the winter, you
will still need some cool weather clothing. Consider the location that runs
between 52 and 56 degrees in the first month of the year, and add a light
jacket, a long sleeve, some warm tops and dresses and some pairs of pants to
your packing list. Do not go overboard when packing, consider a more
streamlined wardrobe, because the less your luggage is, the less you will pay
for moving expenses.
3. Take Advantage of Any Tax
This applies to
long-term snowbirds. Do you know why some particular states have become quite
popular with snowbirds? It is because their tax regulations are quite
favorable. Now by changing your location to a no-tax state such as Florida or
Arizona, you could actually save on state taxes. First, you just need to learn
about the laws surrounding the tax residency in those states in which you plan
to visit or move to.
For instance, in
Florida, the law requires you to spend 183 days a year in the state before you
can be considered a resident. Now if your second resident is in a high-tax
state, it's safe to assume that such a state wouldn't want to lose you as a
taxpayer. Therefore, to cut cost and avoid expenses, you may need to establish
that you have moved for instance your bank accounts, driver's license, and
voting registration to Florida, or perhaps you may need to prove that you
derive more income from Florida, or that your major home is in the Sunshine
State. Just think of anything to prove that your major domicile is in Florida.
If tax officials and auditors see that you have not been paying the right state
taxes, you might become a subject to back interest and penalty fees. So be sure
that you are up to date on your residency tax laws.
4. Inform Your Insurance Company
When you travel
out of state, medical expenses and prescriptions can become a little
complicated. If you have prescriptions for certain drugs like opioid
painkillers, drugs that can cause dependence, or steroids, you might not find
it easy getting a refill of your prescription outside the state. Most insurance
services might not cover out of state services. Then, how do you know if your
prescriptions and other medical costs will be covered? Now if your insurance is
through a national provider network, then yes, your prescriptions and medical
costs are usually covered across a different
state. If your insurance plans are through the Affordable Care Act, then it
might "maybe" cover across states.
thing to do is talk to a pharmacist when you are planning your trip. Find out
if it is possible for you to legally purchase a large supply of your
prescription drugs before leaving, that way you can cancel out medicine off
your packing list and avoid the worries of traveling without your meds. If you
speak to your health insurance provider, you might also be able to temporarily
adjust your health insurance to have an out-of-network service.
5. Try out Inexpensive Hobbies
Now that you
have earned yourself some free time on your vacation, you can try out some of
your favorite hobbies or pastimes. Now while trying them out, you should go for
something more inexpensive and budget-friendly. Going out every night can
become expensive, so instead of that, pack some of your favorite items that
will keep you occupied during the journey and whenever you get to your
destination or temporary home. Then you can also try some hobbies that would
keep you occupied and fight boredom. Some of them include:
While the usual method of holding a hard copy book in your hands is not only familiar but also comforting, you should really consider adding an e-reader or a tablet that can hold files to your packing list. Some readers, for instance, can hold over 5,000 books, while your suitcase, on the other hand, might just be able to hold seven.
This can also be a really interesting yet pocket-friendly hobby. All you need is a camera. If you do not have a camera, you can still take up photography by using your smartphone; thank God for our phone technology. It is even easier if you already own a camera. To bring it on your trip, disassemble the camera before packing and traveling. Also, make sure to use extra padding so as to protect the camera body, lenses, and filters. If you are flying, don't put your camera in a checked bag and never take lithium batteries along. They are a no-no on planes.
You can also look at decoration as a fulfilling hobby. Decorating your snowbird living space can be a really amazing hobby, yes challenging but more fulfilling, and it can also save you from packing along with bulky appliances, furniture or beddings to your seasonal home. Therefore, you can take out those items off your packing list and collect them in your snowbird city instead. If you are just a bit creative, you can turn your snowbird space- notwithstanding the kind of animation type it is- into a real home. If you think you can't come up with something, check online for ideas or lessons which you can even study for free. Once done, you can make use of storage units to keep materials near your snowbird location rather than bringing them back and forth or buying new pieces every year.
6. Pick up a Side Hustle
For someone that
has just retired, starting a new career might not be really what you have in
mind, but have you considered a part-time job or something else that you can do
that can supplement your income? It could make a huge difference in your
finance and your quality of life, providing you with extra funds that might
just be what you need to make your snowbird dream become a reality. You might
also want to consider seasonal jobs during the summer or winter holidays. In
fact, you might be able to find part-time positions in both locations that are
recurring every year which would provide you with some regular income
When packing to
move to another state during winter, paperwork such as your rental agreement,
tax forms, driver's license, insurance documents and other forms of
identification should be high on your packing list. All these important
documents should come with you. However, if they can come with you in their
original format, wouldn't that be nicer than holding papers? That way, you can
even save some space in your luggage and avoid ruining all those valuable
papers when traveling. Therefore, you can simply scan those essential documents
and save them on a secure software folder so that you can access them easily
with your digital devices anywhere.
8. Save by Reducing Electronics
Just as I
mentioned earlier, using a tablet or an e-reader is a great substitute for hard
copy books or files. It all depends on your comfort level, but really a laptop,
a tablet or a smartphone would eliminate the need for other costly electronic
devices. So if you own a laptop and a smartphone, you probably won't need to
spend on other electronic devices such as television ( you can just stream
online), radios (you can always get your favorite stations through some apps or
listen to music on your phone), Clocks (all phones have built-in alarms), you
wouldn't need desktop computers since you have your laptop, GPS devices, video
recorders or cameras, and more.
As long as you
have a good and working smartphone such as an iPhone X, a good tablet like an
iPad, you can reduce all the electronics on your packing list to two to three
items. One pro tip: Do not forget to pack along your charger.
9. Cook at Home
If you really
want to save money, then you should consider not eating each of your meals at a restaurant for the times
you would be there. There is an even
easier way, especially when your plan is to return to the same location again
and again. If you are not making use of a rented RV,
then you should come along with small appliances like a blender or a crockpot.
If you own a property, then you should consider buying a second set of these
appliances and leaving them there. For people who rent in the same city every
year, it might be a good idea to look into self-storage. Getting a small
storage unit for all your appliances, beddings and other household essentials
might save you a good amount of space and cost when you make a trip every year.
10. Rent out Your Property
A lot of
snowbirds end up buying a property in the location where they will spend their
summer while maintaining their old property in their winter location. If you
are someone that owns a property in both locations, it may be advisable to rent
out your property when you are not there, thereby making some money in the
process. Although an all year lease may not be an option for you, there are
other better ways to rent out your property. You can decide to offer monthly
rentals or other short-term rentals through some sites, and also hire a
property manager who can help you oversee the maintenance of your property.
Depending on the location and design of your home, you may be lucky enough to
make a significant amount from it.
11. Pack Enough for Your Pets
Another way to
reduce unnecessary spending and save cost is to add your pet's essentials to your packing list- if you have
one. That way, you would be able to prepare for their expenses in advance and
shop around for their foods, medications, toys and other essentials. Bear it in
mind that even your pets have needs of their own, so don't leave out their
travel essentials till the last minute before
deciding on them. While planning your trip, you have to ask yourself important
questions like; does my pet have enough prescriptions that I need to pack or
refill before I leave? Do I have copies of all my pet's medical records? Do I
need to pack pet's essentials such as food, dishes, and leashes for my pet or
do I want to buy them at my destination? Do I need to pack some of my pet's
favorite toys, dishes or blankets to make sure my furry friend can feel at home
while on the road? What are the requirements for campsites at the snowbird city
as regards pet registration? Do they have any restrictions?
12. Don't Pack What You Can Buy
we know that it might be tempting to pack your favorite toothpaste, shaving
cream or mouthwash. You may think that it will save you some money. However, it
might end up adding extra expenses to your list. You may not know but items
like shampoo and mouthwash will take up space, which can lead to a mess during
your trip. These extra toiletries and items will only add unnecessary weight to
your luggage. Therefore, you might want to bring sizes for the length of your
trip but you can consider buying the full sizes at your winter location.
13. Time Your Trip Right
snowbirds that drive their cars or recreational vehicles from their winter
locations to the south. While some prefer to drive, others
prefer to fly to their winter destination, especially if it's an
overseas destination. So if you are flying, it is best to make your trip flexible
enough to be around the exact period when you want to make the move so that you
can save on airfare. You can also try to avoid flying during peak periods like
school breaks and plan ahead as far into the winter as possible.
Now, these tips
should be able to help you save costs during your snowbird experience, giving
you the best snowbird lifestyle while still saving enough money. There are also
other places to visit that can cut down on your cost. These locations are not
only cheap, but they are also nice and enjoyable. Here are some cheap snowbird
Tucson is a nice
snowbird destination, it has some of the most
affordable snowbirds vacation rentals. There's even a plus to this. This
Arizona spot offers much more than just warm weather and no humidity, it also
features a vibrant arts scene and other fascinating cultural histories. Once
called a "mini mecca for the arts" by the Wall Street Journal, Tucson
attracts snowbirds all year round and tourists all over, throughout winter
months. If you want to enjoy the famous Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, stay
through until February.
2. Clearwater, FL
Clearwater is one
of Florida's fantastic spots. It is perhaps the best value snowbird vacation
rentals. Not only is it affordable, but it also offers thriving downtown nightlife
and popular shopping space. Clearwater is a perfect spot for snowbirds who are
looking for a place to return to each year, and with the city's rapid growth,
it only means that there will always be something new to explore and experience
each time you visit this top Florida snowbird location.
3. Haines City, FL
snowbird destination is surrounded by lakes and rivers, and although its inland location only means that snowbirds are just
a drive away from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf, Haines city is a beautiful
destination for snowbirds. Haines City vacation rentals are priced reasonably
and they offer a great deal of access to the city's major attraction centers.
Pro tip? LEGOLAND Florida is just about 20 minutes away and Disney World and
Universal Studios are about 40 minutes away. Worth the fun!
4. New Smyrna Beach, FL
is not only the second most affordable snowbird location, but it is also one of
Florida's most popular tourist spots and attractions center. Popularly called
"Florida's Secret Pearl" and voted as one of the best little cities
for the arts, New Smyrna Beach is the home to a large collection of art
galleries as well as stores, cafes and sprawling beaches. It is located on
Florida's east coast and is just an hour from Orlando. New Smyrna Beach is a totally
fun and fantastic town to visit as it offers a more quiet scene than its
northern counterpart, Daytona Beach.
5. St. Petersburg, FL
is also one of the most affordable snowbird destinations in Florida and is a
longstanding favorite vacation spot popular among the U.S. and other
international tourists. St. Petersburg not only offers the warm weather that
you want, but it is also home to a vibrant downtown to entertain snowbirds that
are active both morning and night, all season long. For those whose plan is to
spend a day in the sun, you should either visit St. Petersburg's warm Gulf
Coast beaches or take a walk along the St. Petersburg pier. Once you think you
have had enough sun, you can take shield in the newly built 20-screen IMAX
theater or better still walk through the Dali Museum, which is home to the
largest collection of Dali's art outside Europe.
6. Pahoa, Hawaii
You may think or
have heard that Hawaii is too expensive to visit in the winter but sorry to
tell you, you are very mistaken. Pahoa is so far one of the most affordable
snowbird destinations in the United States. It lies in the shadow of Kilauea,
not far from Hilo Airport, and is the best spot for snowbirds that badly want a
winter in Hawaii. Because of its large Island location, it offers snowbirds
endless possibilities when it comes to planning and having an active day.
7. Cocoa Beach, FL
destination has several side attractions like kayaking, yoga, canoeing, paddleboarding, Pilates, as well as whale watching
just at the fingertips of its visitors. Cocoa Beach is not only a great
destination for snowbirds; it is also advisable for those looking for active
living and cheap vacation rentals. Located on Florida's east coast, Cocoa Beach
is just an hour's drive away from Orlando and is a great destination for
snowbirds who are Disney fans.
8. Rotonda West, FL
Rotonda is a
well-planned community with six golf courses. It is not too far from Port
Charlotte and offers snowbirds affordable and amazing rental deals. Home to
walking and bike trails, Rotonda is definitely a destination treat snowbirds
are sure to enjoy. The Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park nearby is also a dog-friendly
park for those snowbirds traveling with their furry friends.
9. Charleston, South Carolina
is best known for its historic locations and has the best snowbird vacation
rentals. Once one of the largest cities in the U.S., this historic yet charming
city of Charleston has not only captured the attention of snowbirds who admire
its rich history but has also drawn tourists to its preserved architecture and
vibrant restaurant scene. Having over ten theaters, several top-notch golf
courses, and it's location on the Atlantic, this destination is a really good place for snowbirds looking for a pleasant yet
relatively cheap vacation.
10. Ormond Beach, Florida
Ormond Beach is another neighbor of the famous Daytona Beach and is a great destination for snowbird searching for cheap Florida winter rentals. For snowbirds who are in love with wildlife or birdwatching, they can take advantage of the nearby Tomoka State Park, which is home for alligators, manatees, and a large number of bird species. Also in town, there are several local restaurants and beaches that offer resort-style living to snowbirds without sacrificing much.
locations and the tips on how to cut down on cost, being a snowbird cheap
shouldn't be harder, as you not only enjoy fewer expenses, you also enjoy cheap
locations with amazing opportunities!