‘Tis the season for snowbirds. Between now and the first part of January, untold numbers of New York residents will be fleeing the Northeast winter in favor of the sunshine and warm temperatures of Florida. And just as in the past, this year will be the first time for some snowbirds heading south. This first year will be a learning experience for them.
It is one thing to visit Florida for a few weeks of vacation; spending 3 to 5 months in the Sunshine State as a part-time resident is an entirely different matter. In light of that, we thought it might be helpful to put together a list of things every first-time snowbird should take south. The list is applicable to both renters and homeowners.
Items for Spending Time Outdoors
We expect snowbirds to spend a lot of time outdoors. After all, they go south in order to enjoy sunshine and warmer temperatures. But more time outdoors exposes snowbirds to weather conditions they are not used to. The biggest enemy is the sun. The sun shines extremely brightly in Florida, especially during the winter when there is very little cloud cover to block it. We recommend first-timers take the following:
- Burn lotion
- Refillable water bottles.
Car windshield screens and lawn chairs are also great ideas, as are rain ponchos. Although the winter months are not part of Florida’s rainy season, rain does occur from time to time. The thing is that it is never predictable. Carrying a lightweight poncho whenever you are planning to be out during the afternoon hours is just smart.
Be sure to take a light jacket and maybe a sweater. Temperatures can get down into the low 50s and 60s at times, and that can feel quite chilly after a couple of weeks of temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
Items for Around the House
Whether you rent or own, that first winter in Florida will be a time of learning about the kinds of items you want on hand. You do not want to be caught shorthanded during that first season, so make plans to take the following with you:
Hand Tools – A small selection of screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers should suffice. A utility knife or widget-like razor blade tool could also prove very helpful.
Books and Videos – You are likely to find you have some idle time during your first season in Florida. Take some books, videos, and other items you can use to occupy that time.
Medical Kit – Taking a small medical kit can save you numerous trips to the local pharmacy. A basic kit would include things like bandages, antibiotic cream, hand lotion, pain reliever, and cold medicine. If you take prescription medications, make sure you have a large enough supply to get you through the season.
Bed Linens – If you are the kind of person who is particular about your bed linens, you might want to take some from your northern home rather than relying on what awaits you in your Florida home. Though Florida homes tend to come fully stocked, you may not be comfortable with the bed linens you find.
That first trip to Florida will be one filled with new experiences and a lot of trial and error. The items mentioned in this post should help make your trip easier, as well as help you better plan for next year. If you own your Florida home, you can leave everything you brought with you when you head north again. Otherwise, you’ll have to carry your items back or rent some storage space in Florida.