Travel Refresher Tips for Snowbirds and Newbies

House Sitting Newmarket Toronto York Region

If you’re one of the lucky snowbirds who travel south for the winter, it’s easy to get caught up in the vacation plans and forget to take care of some important things before you go. Although vacationing during the winter months is exciting, it’s important to deal with all the mundane details here back at home. Here are some refresher tips especially if you are a newbie to long term travel. This will help prepare you for your trip south.

1. Preparation

  • Check the expiry dates on the following:
    • driver’s license
    • health-card
    • credit cards
    • passport
    • home and auto insurance
  • If traveling outside the USA, see if you require a travel visa
  • Make appointments for check-ups:
    • eye doctor
    • medical doctor
    • dentist, etc.
  • Make a photocopy of your birth certificate, travel arrangements and passport and keep separate from your luggage
  • Make sure your Will and POA are updated
  • Arrange for travel insurance – this is deductible on your taxes
  • Purchase health insurance and adequate coverage (make sure they have live assistance 24/7)j
  • Make sure you know where the Canadian Government office/Embassy is – they can help if your passport gets lost or stolen
  • If taking your laptop, cell phone etc., get a plan that allows for international data/texting

2. Things you need to bring

  • Bring copies of your eye glass prescription (if you wear glasses)
  • Make a list of the exact name, strength and dosage of any prescriptions
  • Bring a copy of your health records
  • Make sure you take enough medication to last the entire trip and keep all medications in original bottles
  • Records of your personal valuables or a video
  • Take a phone list of emergency contacts as well as those of friends and families

3. House In-order

  • Ensure all garbage is removed from inside/outside
  • Empty fridge
  • Put lights on timers
  • Cancel newspaper and put mail on hold
  • Let your cable/satellite service know to suspend your service while your away
  • Tell your credit card companies that you will be traveling. Some will suspend a card if they see unusual activity
  • Take inventory of all your valuables – a video is a good way (In the event of fire or theft, this will demonstrate to your insurer/police what was stolen/destroyed
  • Ensure your bills are on a pre-authorized payment, so you’re not overdue on bills
  • Resist the temptation to turn off the heat; doing so could cause pipes to burst. The rule of thumb is to keep your home at 12 degrees Celsius
  • Ensure you have someone to clear the snow from driveway and walkway
  • Homes that appear empty can be targets for crime, so it’s important to make your home look lived in and prepared for winter
  • Review your home insurance – most insurance company’s state right in the policy – someone must be checking the home every 1-3 days
  • If you have an alarm system, make sure you contact them and let them know you’ll be away and who will be the emergency contact
  • Resist putting entries on social media (Facebook etc) regarding when you will be away
  • Unplug any electrical devices and appliances that won’t be used while you’re gone

Organizing your home and health matters before you go will help ensure a wonderful relaxing trip, knowing you have done the important stuff. Just before you leave, do a walk around the outside of the house and ensure windows and doors are secured and locked. Make sure if you are not hiring a service to look after your home, someone responsible has a set of house keys. Just having an alarm system, is not acceptable to insurance companies.

Hope you found these tips useful! Have you got any helpful tips to share with my readers? I’d love your feedback. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact button at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.  Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter too!

Until next time,


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