Want to be a snowbird?: Here’s what you should know before…


Want to be a snowbird?: Here’s what you should know before... insurance

Think it’s impractical? Think again.

See the Sun Belt on a budget. The warmer southern states are just a day’s drive from most wintery cities, so fill up the car’s gas tank, hitch up your travel trailer and say goodbye to the snow.

Another budgetwise option is to rent a large apartment or condo unit with another couple so you can share the driving, lodging and food costs.

Spend winter in the Old World. A furnished two-bedroom apartment on the Spanish Andalusian coast in winter can be found for as little as $600 a month.

Greece and Portugal are affordable these days too. Buy your air tickets well ahead of time, and if you stay a few months, you’re likely to live more cheaply than you could stateside.

Mexico and beyond. Do your research to make sure you’re heading to a safe area of the country, and then relax into a slower pace. Seasonal rentals are relatively easy to find on the internet, or even after you arrive. Just make sure your health insurance is up-to-date, and you’ll have the best winter ever.

Five housing options for those wanting to ‘flee’

Whether your goal is to buy or rent a home for your stay down south, there are many options available. House, condo, apartment, RV or mobile home — there’s something for everyone.

1. SINGLE-FAMILY HOME Buying a second property in another country (or another region) has many advantages: it provides rental revenue, a place of your own to stay, and an asset to be passed down to future generations. However, beware of unexpected costs including mortgages, income taxes, additional taxes and insurance. Be sure to ask lots of questions.

2. CONDOMINIUM Buying a condo can also be a good investment. Easy to sell and low maintenance, condominiums are very popular with snowbirds. This pied-à- terre in the sun can quickly become a peaceful haven far from the hubbub of everyday life.

3. APARTMENT Renting an apartment in a high-rise is a good option for travellers. If the idea of returning every year to the same location doesn’t appeal to you, an apartment is the perfect choice for temporary stays in warmer climes.

4. RV For those who can’t sit still and love to see as much as possible, an RV is the ideal solution. More luxurious than a tent, an RV allows you to save on flight and hotel costs and invest a little more in fun activities.

5. MOBILE HOME This type of accommodation is great for snowbirds who love lively surroundings and talking to new people. Mobile home parks are full of different sized accommodations, grouped close together for a friendly and dynamic atmosphere.