If you think that the snowbird lifestyle is only for rich people then think again. After doing some research and running the numbers, I discovered that a snowbird lifestyle can be enjoyed in any budget. The expenses depend on the location that you select for the season.
This is how much it costs to be a Snowbird:
The total cost per month depends greatly on the location where you go, the type of accommodation you choose, and the activities you participate in. Some countries are much cheaper than others. You can stay in a low-cost country like Thailand for less than $500 per month, excluding flights, and pay more than $4000 per month in a more up-class accommodation in Florida.
Example No.1: South American Cities
Mexico and South American cities are quite affordable for any middle-class family while on the other hand, the southern cities of the USA are a bit costly. If you spend 3 months in Mexico $4400 will be enough for you but if you select an upscale society in the southern states of the USA then $21,000 will be needed.
In Mexico, shopping centers have an English aisle and a Spanish aisle. English aisles are always expensive almost double the cost as compared to the Spanish aisles. Remember to always go into the Spanish aisle for your grocery shopping to keep your costs down.
The airfare for the flight to Mexico from any North American City for two adults is about $1,000. In Mexico, a couple can hire a one-bedroom apartment for about $900. During three months of stay, your bus, taxi and train passes will cost about $500 for both of you.
If you hire a driver or a maid in Mexico you will have to pay them about $200 wage per month. You must have at least $500 to watch movies, to join a Spanish class, for a fitness club and golf or tennis court rentals in Mexico. You will need at least $300 for the shopping of gifts in Mexico.
Add $1000 to the above-mentioned expenses for your travel health insurance and the total budget will be $4400 for a 3 months stay in Mexico.
Example No.2: Paris
The average daily expense of one day stay in Paris is $178 per person. $57 for food for one day and $82 for transportation. The airfare for economy class is between $355 to $850.
The average hotel price for a couple for one night is $82. For a one-bedroom vacation rental, you have to pay $114 per night. The total budget for a couple is about $362 per day in Paris for the snowbird season.
For sightseeing, Taxi, bus, and train pass you will have to spend at least $228 per head.
Example No.3: Transportation
Every airline has a business class and an economy class. The airfare of a flight from Toronto to Tampa can cost $380 including taxes and fees if you book one month before your departure. You can also save some money if you book at least 2 weeks before your departure.
A 20 hours drive down south in your own personal car can cost at least $700 including the cost of fuel, food and stay of 3 nights. If you opt to leave your car back at home and use car rentals like Uber during your stay that is much more affordable. It will cost you $20 a day if you book an economy class car for an extended period of time.
Example No.4: Travel health insurance
If you are a Canadian snowbird make sure that you have medical insurance. It will help you get reimbursed if you become ill outside Canada. People from British Columbia get $75 per day for their treatments and people from Ontario get $400 per day for treatment outside Canada.
"Make sure you have a stable and controlled health condition before you leave for the snowbird season to qualify for the medical insurance," says Christopher Bradbury, vice-president of marketing for Medipac Travel Insurance in Toronto. "We expect to see at least ninety days of stability and that means no change in your medication, dosage, and no treatment whatsoever of any new conditions."
Remember that the hospitals in the USA are very expensive. If you refuse to buy health insurance for your travel then you will have to spend thousands of dollars in the USA for your health care out of your own pocket. If you have a basic $99 deductible then the cost of the health insurance is only $1,000 for six months.
For Ontarians, Medicap provides travel health insurance for up to 212 days. It provides people from other provinces with travel health insurance for up to 183 days. If you have no pre-existing health conditions then the rate of travel health insurance for 183 days is $754.
If you are a patient with diabetes, heart problems, history of stroke or a combination of all these problems then the rate of your Travel Health Insurance will be $1982.
If you are Canadian snowbird traveling in your own car down towards the south then remember to update the insurance. The Canadian Snowbird Association recommends you make sure that you have at least 2 million USD coverage. If you love shopping then remember that you can bring back items worth $750 to Canada, free of tax and duty if you had stayed in the USA for longer than 7 days.
Example No.5: Florida
If you buy a property in Florida for example, an area prone to hurricanes and cyclones, you must have insurance of at least $11,000 claim for this property.
If you are looking for a no-frill place in the southern sunbelt of the USA then you must have at least $5000 to bear the expenses of your 3 months stay. If you drive your own car down towards the South without any stays overnight it will cost you $250. For an adult couple, a one-bedroom apartment in a condo overlooking a beach will cost you about $3000 per month.
If both of you have no pre-existing health conditions then your travel Health Insurance will be $1,000. For different activities, day trips, an extra premium for your car and the shopping for gifts, you must have at least $750. The total budget will be $5000.
If you drive your own car down towards the south with three overnight stays including food, drink, and fuel it will cost up to $1440. The rent of a small house or condo near the beach or mountains is $4500 in a middle-class society. You must have at least $1500 for your golf and tennis club memberships.
For your day trips, extra premiums of your car, fuel and the shopping of your gifts, you must have at least $1500. The total budget will be $9900 for 3 months including a travel Health Insurance which is $1000 for both of you.
If you want to spend a super deluxe snowbird season, then you will have to spend at least $21,000. If you own your home in the sunbelt, then you will need at least $10,000 monthly for its taxes, maintenance, and upkeep. To reconstruct your property after natural disasters you must have insurance with a $1500 claim.
The airfare of two people with an economy class return ticket is $1,000. For the maintenance, fuel, and insurance of your car, you must have at least $2000. For the cross border tax advisory, you will have to spend $500.
For activities like tennis and golf tournaments, you must have $3000. The total monthly budget will be $21,000 excluding $2000 for the shopping of gifts and $1,000 for travel Health Insurance.
Example No.6: New Orleans, Louisiana
The average daily price of spending your snowbird season in New Orleans, Louisiana is $191 per head. One person will spend $41 on transportation and $36 for the meals of a day. The average lodging price for one night for a couple is $200.
For one week total expenses for one person is $1336. A couple can enjoy a week in Louisiana for $2672. The couple can enjoy two weeks for $5344 and for one month total expenses will be $11,451.
Accommodation at a local hotel or hostel for one person is $100 per night. It is simply double $200 for two persons per night and $14 for each meal. You will spend $15 on mineral bottled water per day.
For entertainment entrance tickets you will have to both spend $44. Alcohol will cost you $48 per day. A taxi ride costs $10 per person.
The price for a ticket to a Zoo and aquarium is worth $75. Riverboat Cruise costs $70 per person. French quarter City tour costs $100 per person.
The price of the Intrepid is $145 per day. Contiki is a coach for people between 18 and 35 years of age which is worth $170 per day. G adventures and cultural tours are worth $169 per day.
Trafalgar award-winning tours are worth $311 per day.
Example No.7: Texas
The average daily price of your stay in Texas during the snowbird season is $155.One person will spend $31 on meals per day and $41 per day on local transportation. The average hotel price for a couple for one night is $124.
The total expenses of your stay in Texas for one person per week are equal to $1086. A couple can enjoy one week in Texas for $2171. A couple can enjoy two weeks in Texas for $4343.
The accommodation of a hostel or hotel for one person per night is equal to $62. The accommodation of a couple for one night is equal to $124. The cost of one meal is about $12 per head.
One person needs just $2 for mineral bottled water per day. Entrance tickets for entertainment and shows are worth $24 per person. One person will need $13 for the consumption of alcohol for one day.
Example No.8: New Mexico
The average daily price of your stay in New Mexico during the snowbird season is about $72. One person will spend only $20 on three meals a day and about $42 for your local transportation per day. The average hotel price for a couple for one night is really affordable which is only $50.
For a whole week, 1 person will have to spend $500. A couple can enjoy one week in New Mexico for only $1000. The accommodation of one person in a hotel and hostel per night is only $25.
For the entrance tickets into entertainment shows, you will need about $25 per head. You must carry some extra cash for the shopping of gifts and the tips of your driver and waiters.
Example No.9: Cuba
The average daily price of your stay in Cuba is only $17 per head. Both meals and local transportation are really affordable in Cuba which is only $9 for 3 meals a day and $1.3 for your transportation. The average hotel price for one night for a couple is only $12.
A couple can enjoy one week in Cuba for only $244.
For one week one person will spend only $122 in Cuba. For a month, one person will need $523 and a couple will need $1046 which is really cheap in comparison to the southern cities of the USA. The accommodation of one person in a hostel or hotel per night is equal to $6 only.
For drinking mineral bottled water you will need only $0.21 per day. For entrance tickets into entertainment shows you will need only $1.66 per head. For Intercity transportation in buses, taxis, and train you will need $6.3 per person per day.
For the consumption of alcohol, only $0.38 will be enough for one day for one person. To overcome crimes like robberies, scams and mishaps you must carry at least $9 in cash. $0.6 will be enough for the tip of guides and service providers.
A short taxi ride is worth $0.68 for one person. You will get a pizza for only $0.04 and a mojito costs only $0.15 in Cuba. There is no public bathroom fee.
Example No.10: Hawaii
The average daily cost of your stay in Hawaii for one day is $268 for one person. The cost of 3 meals a day is $60 and local transportation is $28 only. The average hotel price for one night for a couple is $331.
A couple can enjoy one week in Hawaii for $3753. One person can enjoy one week for $1876 and 1 month for $8042. A couple can enjoy one month for $16,000.
Accommodation of one person in a hotel or hostel for one night is equal to $144. Two people can live in a hotel or hostel for one night for $331. To drink bottled mineral water you will need to spend $12.
To buy tickets for entertainment shows one person will need $31. To drink alcohol for one day one person will need $14. For the tip of your driver and service provided $10 will be enough.
Example No.11: Chile
The average daily cost of your stay in Chile for the snowbird season is $98. You will need $17 for three meals a day and $12 for your local transportation. A couple can enjoy one week in Chile for $1370.
The average hotel price for a couple is $130 per night in Chile. To buy the tickets for entertainment shows for one person is $20. To drink alcohol you will need $5 per person. To drink bottled mineral water for one day you will need $1.43 per person.
For Intercity transportation or travel between two cities, you will need $28 per person. For the tip of your guides and service providers, $4.5 will be enough. Remember your travel Health Insurance as well.
Helpful tips for spending your snowbird season on a tight budget:
"People get caught up in the idea that, 'I am getting this $1,000 airplane ticket for just $300, so I am saving $700,' but you are still spending $300 that you may not necessarily have," says LearnVest Planner Matt Shapiro, CFP®. "If the snowbird season is a big part of your budget, set up a separate savings account and have a small portion of your paycheck directly deposited," Shapiro said. "The more time and effort you put into planning, the better your vacation will be," Shapiro said.
"It is worth looking into VRBO or Airbnb to put your current place up for rent since it will be empty while you are away for your snowbird season," Shapiro said. "I see the breakdown as a financial need versus a financial want," Shapiro said. "You need to save for retirement, you need to pay off student loans, you need to pay your rent and snowbird season is an addition to these expenses".
In order to conclude this blog post, I would say that according to a recent study conducted by Bankrate, the average amount of money that the US residents spend on their snowbird trip is $1979 per head.