Moving for the winter: a packing list for snowbirds

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    For those who are planning to spend the winter somewhere warm, congratulations! Goodbye to snowbanks and heavy coats, hello to sunshine and t-shirts. Whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth, there are undoubtedly some logistics to sort out. You won’t be moving everything — but you will want to take enough to feel at home with your own belongings. So what should you bring, and what should you leave behind? We’ve put together a packing list for snowbirds to give you a solid starting point. Have a look!

    Bring your important documents.

    When you’re far from your filing cabinets at your winter home, the last thing you want to realize is you’re missing important information that you need! First and foremost, bring your ID like a passport, driver’s license, or equivalent. Include your health, vehicle, and home insurance policies for both your rental as well as your summer home. Bring your medical information, including copies of any prescriptions from your home doctors. Pack your contacts for your rental, for whomever your point person or caretaker, is for your home, and for each of your utility companies in case of issue. Packing for your winter house means being ready to take care of your regular home as well!

    Pack a few warm layers.

    Even the warmest climates have some cool nights, especially if your winter home is in or near the desert. Leave your winter coats and thick socks, but pack appropriate clothes: a light jacket, a couple of sweaters, and a rain jacket if appropriate. You can always purchase an umbrella if the climate calls for it! Take a look at your footwear, too. Moving for the winter requires that you bring shoes for whatever activities you plan to pursue. Bring sandals, walking shoes, hiking boots, and maybe a pair or two of dress shoes in case you decide to go out!

    Know what’s included in your rental.

    Whether it’s an Airbnb, a timeshare, or something else, the amenities included in your winter rental can vary. Read the descriptions clearly and ask questions about anything that isn’t explained. Is the kitchen fully appointed in the way you want? You may want to bring your favorite espresso maker, the pan you use every day or any other specialty items you just can’t do without. There are likely linens and towels included, but you might also choose to bring your favorites just for that sense of home. Just be sure you know what size the bed is!

    Consider the culture of the area.

    When going to warmer climates for the winter, assess the culture of the area, and pack appropriately. Is the atmosphere a predominately casual one, or do people dress up even to go to the grocery store? You don’t need to change who you are, of course — moving for the winter is all about the lifestyle you want! But if dress attire is expected in the local restaurants you want to be prepared. On the other hand, if hiking shoes and shorts are de rigueur, no need to pack all those button-downs!

    Pack a few personal touches & favorite items.

    A few photos and some personal decorations can go a long way in transforming your snowbird home from sterile and hotel-like to cozy. Carefully pack a few framed favorites that can stand on their own, or bring a collection of loose photos that you can put on the refrigerator with magnets. A few small trinkets for the mantel or coffee table, a couple of your favorite books, and voila: your winter home has more of a personal feel!

    Medications, supplements, and basic first aid.

    Talk with your doctor about how to get your prescriptions filled when you move for the winter. Sometimes medications can be shipped, but sometimes you’ll need to establish a relationship with a local pharmacy. In any case, bring enough with you to get you settled and through your first month. Bring some basic first aid supplies too, like an assortment of bandaids, pain killers, antiseptic wipes, and a compression wrap. A packing list for snowbirds needs to include safety items like a flashlight, too!

    Chargers, adapters, and tech.

    Sure, you could pick up any chargers or adapters that you needed near your winter home. But do you really want to risk a dead battery on your tablet or phone? Do a quick double-check before you leave home to make sure you have chargers and adapters for everything you’re bringing.

    Research your local options.

    Are there items that you purchase regularly that are a bit out of the ordinary? Do a little research to see what kinds of shops are near your winter home. If you won’t be able to buy your favorite tea during your first grocery shopping endeavor, you might decide to bring some extra to get you started. Shopping options depend greatly on where you are spending your snowbird winter — on a tiny island? In a larger city? Plan accordingly!

    Ship your belongings safely.

    When you’re headed to warmer climates for a few months, you will likely pack more than a couple of suitcases. Rather than sending your cargo off in the mail and hoping it arrives safely, why not send your things with professional movers? TwoGuysAndTruck will get your items to your winter destination quickly and reliably, in the hands of people who know how to handle that beloved espresso maker. We even have Express Routes to some of our most popular destinations, including Orlando/Miami and LA/San Francisco!