Car transporting tips for snowbirds

Car transporting tips for snowbirds: The ultimate guide


Winter is almost over and there’s already a feeling of spring in the air. For all you snowbirds out there, this is an important time. Over the next few months, you’ll be making plans for your trip back home.

As a snowbird, you’re able to reap the benefits of a mild summer in the north and a warmer winter in the south. However, a certain amount of planning is required if you want to make the most of your time away and at home. 

To help you out we thought we’d share some tips. We’ve included a checklist of tasks you need to complete before heading back north and some tips for your next journey in the fall. There’s also a section that includes everything you need to know about shipping your car

What or who is a snowbird?

Man and woman ride orange car

You’re forgiven for thinking a snowbird is some kind of feathered creature. It’s actually a term used for people who leave their permanent home in the north to move to the south temporarily. 

Other names for this special kind of migrator are a winter Texan, half-back, or winter visitor, but we think snowbirds is a much nicer term. Why do they head south in the winter? To escape the ice, snow and dreary weather and enjoy the winter sunshine in locations such as Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Snowbirds are typically people over a certain age, but with the increase in remote working, many younger people are also heading south for the winter. Moving somewhere warmer for a few months makes perfect sense. 

When is the snowbird season?

There’s no official date but the annual exodus starts as soon as the temperatures in the northern states start dropping. For some it can be as early as mid or late September, while some snowbirds wait until mid to late October. 

Come April, May time, snowbirds are usually packing their belongings and heading back home.

Facts about snowbirds

Snowbirds are typically people over a certain age, but with the increase in remote working, many younger people are also heading south for the winter.

These days, anyone can be a snowbird, as long as they have the means and mind set to spend half of their year away from home.

Here are a few facts you may not have known about snowbirds:

  1. They often prefer the title, "winter visitors"
  2. Snowbirds flock to many different in the winter months. The most popular destinations are Florida, Arizona, California and Texas.
  3. Some snowbirds choose to travel all over the US, while others stick to a certain region.
  4. The cost of being a snowbird varies depending on your location and chosen lifestyle. Whether you want to rent or buy a home, the size of your home, the type of community you want to live in, and how much travel you plan on doing will change the cost of your snowbird lifestyle.
  5. There are a number of reasons why people decide to become snowbirds. Some enjoy escaping the cold weather, while others prefer to spend their retirement years in places without difficult snow.
  6. 4 out of 5 international snowbirds come from Canada!
  7. There are many magazines and newspapers designed specifically for snowbirds. These include: Winter Texan Times, Snowbirds RV Traveler Magazine, and Snowbirds Gulf Coast Magazine.
  8. Some snowbirds choose to stay in condos, while others prefer renting homes or trailers. 

One of the main costs associated with being a snowbird is transportation. This can include flying or driving down to your desired destination. If you plan on driving your car in your new city, consider snowbird auto transport services with SGT Auto Transport.

Leaving your home down south

If you’re already a snowbird or are thinking about becoming one, there are a few tasks you need to remember before you head back home. Don’t forget to do the following:

  • Clean up: When you return to your winter home in the fall you don’t want to spend the first few days cleaning up so make sure you do it before you head back north. You’ll be away for several months, so it’s a good idea to clean out the refrigerator and pantry. 
  • Turn off and unplug all appliances: Before you leave, unplug and turn off all unnecessary appliances, for example, the stove. 
  • Perform a walk-through inspection: Take a walk around the property, inside and outside, to check everything is safe and secure. Bring in or tie down any outdoor furniture that could blow around in a heavy storm. 
  • Close the blinds: Closing the blinds or curtains stops passers-by from looking into your home. It also prevents the harsh rays of the sun from shining into your home and fading the furniture. 
  • Get someone to check-in while you’re away: Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to check in on the place while you’re away. It will be sitting empty for several months so you want someone to check no problems have occurred.   

Preparing your home in the North

If you’re leaving your temporary home in the south to return to your home in the north, you need to make sure your home is ready to be lived in. Here are some tasks for you to do when you return.

  • Let everyone know you’re home: If you’ve asked a friend, family member, or neighbor to check on your property while you’re away, you’d better let them know you’re back home. You don’t want them to call the police because they’re worried there might be an intruder.
  • Turn your water on: Make sure your water supply is up and running as soon as you get home. Check for leaks, cracks, or busted pipes. 
  • Plug in your appliances: All the appliances you unplugged when leaving need to be plugged back in. Let your refrigerator come back to the optimum temperature before filling it with food.
  • Resume services: If you requested your cable or internet be put on pause while you’re away, you must contact your provider to get your services resumed. 
  • Mail forwarding: Cancel the arrangements you made with the US Postal Service for mail forwarding. 

Tips for your next trip

It won’t be long before you’re thinking about heading south once again. It’s amazing how quick time flies. Here are some things to do before you leave your home in the north and head south for the winter. 

  • Turn off your water.
  • Bring outdoor furniture inside.
  • Let your friends, family, and neighbors know you’re leaving.
  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances.
  • Pause your internet and cable service.
  • Clean your home.
  • Set your alarms and make sure you secure all entrances and exits.
  • Arrange for mail forwarding.
  • Put your lights on timers.
  • Make arrangements for home phone calls to be forwarded to your cell phone.  

Make your next trip even better by taking your car

If you’re lucky enough to escape the cold weather in the north for a few months, think how much nicer it would be if you had your own car to get around in. You could rent a car for the duration of your sojourn, but what’s the point in that if you can take your car with you.

You might drive all the way there yourself. Car transport services, however, are a much better option. It’s also more affordable than you think. Use our online instant quote calculator to find out the cost of shipping your car. Alternatively, speak with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat

Let’s explain why shipping a car across the country is better. 

Driving long distances is dangerous

The reason you’re heading south for the winter is because you want to escape the cold and all the hazards connected with the weather. Choosing to drive means you’re putting your safety at risk because driving long distances can be dangerous. 

There’s an increased risk of getting involved in an accident, and there’s also the possibility of running into winter weather during your journey.

Getting stuck in traffic is frustrating

Do you enjoy sitting in traffic? It’s safe to say the answer is no. Take a trip from the north to the south in your car and you risk being sat in traffic a lot. When you arrive at your winter home you’ll be tired, frustrated and stressed. 

There are better ways to start your winter vacation. Choose open car transport or enclosed auto transport for shipping your car and you’ll be able to fly to your winter home stress-free. 

Driving can be expensive

Take a trip in your car and there are added expenses, even if your trip is a short one. The long distance involved in driving from the north to the south means there are fuel costs to contend with. You will also need food and drinks along the way. You might also break up the journey by staying in a hotel for a night or two, which further adds to the cost. 

Car shipping means less wear and tear

How far do you travel when you move south for the winter? At least a thousand miles in one direction, which means a lot of extra miles on your car. Make the same trip year after year and that’s a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle and its tires.

You can pack personal items in your vehicle

When you ship your vehicle you’ve got the added bonus of trunk space in your car for any additional belongings you want to take with you. Many car transport services allow up to 100 lbs of personal items to be packed into the trunk space of your car.

You must lock and secure any items you want to ship with your vehicle in a box of suitcase.   

Door-to-door car transport is easy to arrange

Many car shipping companies offer door-to-door car transport and this is a very flexible option. They pick your vehicle up from your home, or as near as is safe and legal to do so. It’s transported across the country on the back of a trailer and delivered to a location of your choice. 

It’s often possible to track your vehicle’s location and the driver is generally accessible along the way. You’re kept updated with the vehicles progress and given an estimated time of arrival. 

How much does shipping a car cost?

two men driving a Cadillac

Cost is one of the most significant factors for anyone considering shipping a car. There are several factors taken into consideration when a company decides how much an auto transport service costs.

The most obvious factors are distance travelled and the type of vehicle. Heavier and larger vehicles cost more to transport. Vehicles that aren’t running also cost because the carrier has to use additional equipment for loading and unloading. Vehicle transport to and from remote locations might also cost more. Other factors to bear in mind include:

  • Price of fuel.
  • Type of auto transport service.
  • Time of the year. 

Certain discounts might also be available for snowbirds car shipping

Different types of car transport services

If you decide you want to take your car with you when you head south for the winter, there are basically two types to choose from. You have to decide whether open car transport or enclosed auto transport is right for you. Knowing as much as you can about each means you’re better able to make the right decision. 

Open car transport

Choose open car transport and your car is usually shipped on a long, two-level trailer along with several other vehicles. This type of auto transport is suitable for most types of vehicle and is the best choice if you’re shipping a standard model or a used car. 

Shipping by open transport is faster and cheaper than enclosed transport and because there are more open carriers in operation, it’s easier to book your preferred pick-up and delivery time.

An open transport trailer is open on all sides, which means your vehicle is exposed to the weather. It will also be exposed to dirt, dust, and traffic grime during its journey. 

If you want additional protection for your car you can request top load placement. This means the carrier loads your car on the upper deck of the carrier, protecting it from potential leakage from vehicles that might be above it. 

Even though your car is exposed to the elements, open car transport is a very safe, secure, and affordable option for anyone who wants to take their car with them when they move south for the winter. 

Enclosed auto transport

Choose enclosed auto transport and your vehicle is completely enclosed in a trailer. This method offers a higher degree of protection for your vehicle. It’s the preferred shipping method for owners of collectible, antique, luxury, or high-end vehicles. 

If, for example, you want to take your Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Escalade, Pontiac Trans Am or Chevrolet Camaro, enclosed auto transport would be recommended. 

In an enclosed trailer, your car is completely protected from the weather and road debris. Carriers who specialize in enclosed auto transport are also more experienced in transporting high-end vehicles. 

Enclosed auto transport is a little more expensive than open car transport, but sometimes, no price is too high for a vehicle that requires a premier level of care and attention. 

If you want to enjoy the winter sunshine and need an auto transport company to help you move your car please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have a team of dedicated shipping advisors who will do everything they can to make your migration a good one. We have an online instant quote calculator you can use to find out the cost. You can also call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat.

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