RV Living

It’s that time of year

Snowbirds are heading south looking for warmer weather

RV in the desert
Joshua Tree National Park has splendid scenery. — Photo courtesy of Lolly Tyre

Yes, it is that time of the year when the snowbirds are heading south looking for warmer weather and the rest of us wish we could join them. The weather has definitely cooled off and winter is just around the corner. Last weekend one of our neighbours left for Mesa, Arizona, and I almost climbed into the vehicle with them.

Wondering what arrangements people make or things they consider before their trip, I sent out a list of questions to people I know. The responses I received were surprisingly similar.

Reservations

One of my first questions regarded reservations and whether they were necessary. Frank and Nita Thompson from Merritt responded: “If we have an idea of a definite time frame then yes, we do make reservations. But usually we are flying by the seat of our pants.”

George and Lolly Tyre from Vancouver Island make reservations but prefer the freedom of not having to commit too far in advance.

“I have found there is no need to make reservations,” said George, “and if we decided to stay somewhere an extra day or two, we can, without having to cancel reservations or rush somewhere when we don’t want to.” However, at times there are exceptions. Since Lolly prefers to stay in one spot for longer periods of time and George loves the antique car shows around the Mesa area, they make reservations for the six weeks they are there. Most couples say compromises are usually made and when asked if they travel alone or in groups the response was “a bit of both.”

Staying in one location

From most of our conversations I found that the majority of snowbirds move around somewhat, travelling from place to place depending upon what is going on or what friends may be doing. They keep their schedules flexible in case others recommend something special to see.

However there are numerous RVers who travel to the same destination each year. I was told that it is like “old home week” when they arrive and they do make reservations to ensure they have a spot close to friends or family. There may be special weekly rates offered, or some take advantage of the monthly rates which are usually even cheaper so there is an incentive to stay longer.

Communication

Frank and Nita have MotoStat satellite service on the roof so they have internet everywhere and they use the internet phone and e-mail to stay in touch. They also use Net 10 which is one of the economical cell phone packages available. George and Lolly take advantage of local wifi connections and their home phone is set up so that they receive phone messages via their e-mail. Some suggestions from others included buying a “throw away phone” to purchasing a North American plan for their cell phones.

George’s response was: “Communication is important but since this is a holiday I really don’t want to be phoning home every day.”

People with older televisions may encounter difficulty using antennas because everything is digital and without a special receiver box they will not receive any television signals.

Recommendations

* Make up some business cards or fun travel cards to exchange with people.

* Confirm your insurance is adequate for vehicle and trailer to cover both theft and accidents.

* Medical insurance—don’t neglect this—confirm with your medical supplier that you have coverage for the planned length of your trip.

* You can stay in everything from a luxury resort to boondocking in the desert—anything is possible for every budget.

* It’s possible to reduce costs by staying in one location rather than being on the move constantly. Remember you are a guest in another country the same as if you were a guest in another home—treat the people you meet accordingly.

* Have fun!

So, yes it is that time of the year when many RVers are looking for warmer weather, meeting new people, enjoying new experiences and having fun. If you are planning on joining them take into consideration some of the recommendations made by experienced RVers. It will definitely make your vacation stress-free. After all isn’t that what it’s all about?

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