Every personal concierge who routinely helps first time snowbirds prepare for their trip south has probably encountered at least one situation in which the client wasn’t sure that snowbirding was the right decision. Such doubts are quite understandable. After all, first-time snowbirds are leaving behind a lifestyle they have known for their entire adult lives in order to embrace something completely new.
Being half-way through summer means some of our clients are already making plans to head south for the winter. We are happy to come in to help facilitate those plans by working on storage, cleaning the house, and so on. But we also have some practical advice. If you are considering snowbirding for the first time, and you are not sure it’s the right decision, ask yourself a few questions and then evaluate your answers honestly.
If You Live in the North
The most common snowbirding scenario is that of living in the North (like here in New York State, for example) and heading to one of the southern states like Florida or Georgia. If this is your situation, here are the questions to ask yourself:
How do I feel about the weather?
Most people who snowbird do so because they can no longer tolerate winter weather. If the colder temperatures of winter have a profound and negative impact on your enjoyment of life, perhaps it’s time to go. If you are stranded indoors all winter because you hate driving in the weather, that is another reason to go.
Do I suffer from winter depression?
It is not uncommon for older people to suffer mentally and emotionally during the winter months. This can be the result of being mostly homebound and with few activities, other than television, to stay busy. You might consider heading south if you tend to have the doldrums during the winter.
How is my physical health?
Hand-in-hand with emotional health is your physical health. You may struggle with your health whenever the weather gets cold, being prone to catching colds or the flu. If not, maybe a warmer climate is not really necessary for you.
Are the grandkids nearby?
Having access to grandchildren is one of the things that prevents people from snowbirding. There is nothing wrong with that. If your grandchildren are nearby and you don’t think you can stand to be apart for a few months, perhaps snowbirding is not right for you.
If You Live in the South
Older people already living in the South sometimes had North for the summer. This isn’t truly snowbirding, but it’s the same principle. There are a number of questions you can ask yourself as well:
Is my family up north?
Many of the older people who had North during the summer once lived in the North but have since moved south. They decide to spend the summer months ‘back home’ because that’s where family is. If you are struggling being away from family because you have permanently moved south, snowbirding might be the solution.
How do I feel about the weather?
The weather question is just as important in this scenario. Why? Because the summer months constitute the rainy season in southern states. If you don’t like dealing with the heat or daily rain, a northern climate might be more to your liking. You might also go North if the prospect of hurricanes bothers you.
Are most of my friends heading North?
Though this may seem foreign to most of us, southern neighborhoods consisting mainly of retirees tend to empty out during the summer months. To see half of a neighborhood’s population – or more – head north for the summer is not unusual. So what about your friends? If everyone you associate with is gone during the summer months, you may be void of companionship. Perhaps a trip north would do you good.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question of snowbirding. If you decide that you want to do it, please do not hesitate to contact My Divine Concierge. We can help you take care of everything from packing to storage to keeping your house clean while you are away.