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View Poll Results: Snowbirding options and experiences
Currenly are or have snowbirded in retirement 5 16.67%
Am planning on snowbirding in retirement 22 73.33%
Own 6 20.00%
Rent 3 10.00%
RV 6 20.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 03-13-2015, 07:16 AM
 
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I'm not going to be particularly flush in retirement and will probably cont to work in a non-professional make do job at least part time. But since I will likely be retiring in the gray days cold and snowy north the idea of snowbirding, some how, for a month? two months? Longer as I age? Is extremely desirable. I'm from the north and don't know that many other places so randomly choosing an essentially unknown location to retire is just too scary for me.
There seem to be any number of ways this is done, all of them with a variety of pro's and cons.

You can buy an RV and head south. Pro's; this allows for the exploration of different places just for pleasure outright or to find a spot you would like to stay more permanently. Con's; driving an RV can be intimidating, upkeep and having a place to park it in winter, gas prices depending. You can rent an RV for about 100 a day which is roughly the cost of a hotel room although you have to add in camping fees, gas. Hard to do with pets.

You can rent a condo or house or hotel? in a different places every year. Gives a lot of flexibility but of course rent would be high season costly and most places would not take pets.

You can buy someplace. Maintenance, property taxes, break ins when vacant?

Any personal experience out there?
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:15 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,555 posts, read 39,934,465 times
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1) owning an RV can be VERY spendy. BEST to domicile in SD (income tax free, and ONE NIGHT per lifetime requirement), and have a MT based LLC own your RV (no sales tax, no inspections / no emissions). Buy, VERY wisely, Maint can kill you and 'rentals' / RV parks too. (Get a 'used' nationwide RV resort membership for $0.10 on the dollar... ~ $1200, be sure it is TRANSFERABLE and allows 300 days / yr 'In-Park' (these memberships are old and rare))

I keep several rural / view 'sun-bird' homes in different 'tourist / destination regions'
of USA.
Each were under or near $100k and have a 10% NET cash flow.

They are 'positive cash flow' / pay their own way.
Renter maintains and mows (as per lease). Renters are VERY happy, as they get use of entire property most of the year. (They stay 10 yrs +). I deduct travel expenses between them per allowable IRS rules for maintaining 'active participation' income properties. (I fly between them <$100 and keep a low cost car and / or RV at each)

All are rented (main house) and have a spare home or apartment in shop for me + RV sites for friends or myself.

I recommend a class B (Roadtrek) or equivalent for 'road trips', BEST for 'stealth camping' anywhere from city to countryside, Fits in a std parking spot, ez to maneuver, economical (~20 mpg), EZ to fix / maintain, can Live in as a single person or a friendly couple (I have only done 3 months at a time living in it), VERY ez to resell a Class B, quite ez to find good deals to buy if you are a good hunter! (I use nationwide craigslist search and buy sight unseen and fly in and fetch, great 'vacation' driving home or to destination). Excellent user groups. (Even have technical 'fix-it-meetups' Free repairs while on the road! ).

I use a Rialta 18 - 22 mpg (with known quirks... needs a $100 tranny cooler to save a $4000 tranny... little known to new buyers, well know to those on Rialta Tech (yahoo)). Welcome - Rialta Heaven - VW Eurovan Rialta Campers and Other Earth Friendly RVs I take 'senior shut-ins*' on Rialta camping adventures. (*Those who used to camp, but lost their driving privileges, or are in care centers). They love it. They can 'RV' without having to drive / own / or maintain a rig!

My Main home (Casa Grande )... I keep a 2000 sf daylight 'view' basement apartment rented to a very HAPPY tenant / (boarder). They mow the place, feed the animals, watch after maint needs, collect mail, water plants, blade snow, and fetch me to and from the airport frequently. They also get use of the whole joint if needed, but care for and enjoy my 'international guests' (hospitality hosting) while I'm gone. (8+ months last yr).

End game... I will sell the props I don't want... on contract, to the renter by the time I'm age 80. They will get a great deal and already know they need 30% down! so they are saving up!
The property I choose to stay in will have a cottage for me, or for my caregiver.

Preferred 'econo' travel / RV via
Free Campgrounds for RVs
or
my 52 mpg car (or 'fly drive') and Hospitality exchange - Wikitravel
I fly/drive via SWA (free bags and changes) at least once / month. (6x already this yr). Hotwire cars for <$12/day are a bargain! So is 2200 miles for under $100 air travel! (last night).

Other options: Foreign living. Will be doing this for Healthcare needs (as has much of 'retired' western Europe for last 30 yrs).

found a place here for under $400/ month (on beach in Thailand). my scooter is $40/ month and food is < $100/ month. My last hospital visit (checkup and blood work) was $15.
http://www.homeaway.com/

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 03-13-2015 at 08:24 AM..
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
2,636 posts, read 1,544,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
I'm not going to be particularly flush in retirement and will probably cont to work in a non-professional make do job at least part time. But since I will likely be retiring in the gray days cold and snowy north the idea of snowbirding, some how, for a month? two months? Longer as I age? Is extremely desirable. I'm from the north and don't know that many other places so randomly choosing an essentially unknown location to retire is just too scary for me.
If you're not flush, and aren't happy with the gray snowy days and cold, then why stay where you are? If you are apprehensive about moving to a new place, why not do some research, then take a short trip there and check it out (or ask people on CD about it)?

Most vacation rentals -- at least in FL -- are too expensive to justify for anyone of modest means. On the other hand, RE in parts of the State can be reasonably priced. Jobs may be tighter than where you are, but I think it also depends on where precisely you relocate.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:03 PM
 
2,421 posts, read 3,723,073 times
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As another poster mentioned, rentals in prime warm weather areas like Southern Florida, and Arizona are very expensive in the winter. I rented my place in Arizona every winter for three months for $2,400. Places in Southern Florida where I lived seemed to start at around $2,800 for a very small condo and on up to even $6,000 a month for anything on the beach.

If you don't necessarily need sun bathing weather in the winter, but just out of the harsh cold, there are other areas you might consider to get away from it all that is inland (not near the beach) and further north which might be much more affordable. Even consider renting a mobile home in northern Florida in a nice 55 plus community, where you will easily be able to make friends. I don't know the rents, but much cheaper I would imagine.

RV's if you don't have a place to park it back home can be expensive to store, and as other's mentioned quite expensive when coupled with maintenance, tires every 4 or 5 years, insurance to consider. I know, I had one.

Perhaps you might consider renting a room from someone during the winter. You might have to pay twice the rent than the normal rent for staying only three months, but probably cheaper than renting a condo. Just a thought.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,659 posts, read 1,522,722 times
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My plan is to snowbird in the Corpus Christi area (e.g., Rockport) when I retire in a couple of years. It is not as pretty as the Florida coast but is cheaper and less congested. And I like cooler weather so do not need it to be 80 plus degrees. I just want to be near the beach and able to visit family in Texas. I don't think I could safely handle an RV and have no desire to buy a place. About a year ago I looked up prices for vacation rentals on the beach and found one bedroom condos that accepted a small pet for about $1200. Inland rentals should be less. I'm also wondering with the drop in the cost of oil and the impact on the Texas economy if these prices may fall (or at least not go up). Just doing a quick search, one RV park near the beach charged $500 a month to include electricity and allowed a pet(s).
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:58 PM
 
1,577 posts, read 2,201,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Perhaps you might consider renting a room from someone during the winter. You might have to pay twice the rent than the normal rent for staying only three months, but probably cheaper than renting a condo. Just a thought.
This is something I am considering when I reach retirement. Mostly likely I won't have a lot to retire on and will probably have to live where I am now since it's very inexpensive for me. But I can see myself boarding up my condo for 3 months in the winter and heading to a warmer climate. I've never had experience with the below link (airbnb), but it looks like a possible option.

https://www.airbnb.com/

Last edited by smpliving; 03-13-2015 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:41 PM
 
284 posts, read 259,328 times
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We discussed it, but we don't want to deal with having 2 homes, so renting somewhere for a month or 2 in the winter might be for us. We also have a flexible type of timeshare that if properly planned can get us a few weeks a year in some warmer climates.

I just stumbled upon this website called airbnb.com today. It's set up like VRBO but looks like it's designed for people to rent out rooms in their homes vs renting their entire home/condo. It might just be an affordable way to snowbird for a month or so. I thought it was interesting and have bookmarked the site for future reference.
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Old 03-13-2015, 05:17 PM
 
Location: NC
6,549 posts, read 7,970,518 times
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Once again, Stealth Rabbit has outdone himself! Lots of good info. One thing though, what is stealth camping? And what do you think about travelling/RVing with a couple of dogs?
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:14 PM
 
1,734 posts, read 1,948,785 times
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Stealth Rabbit - I second Luv's comment! You have admirable ambition, strategic planning capability and drive!
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:07 AM
 
5,619 posts, read 8,549,762 times
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This is my 3rd winter living in my airstream full time (refered to as a "full timer")

I have property in the Ozarks I am building a dwelling on (which has been slowed due to ill health)


I can stay on my property till the 2nd or 3rd week of November, when I hook up and go to the gulf coast (where I have friends and family)

Some time in April it is warm enough for me to return to my little slice of heaven.

I currently have a sweetheart deal of parking for $100 all inclusive (power, water, sewage, trash.... And spotty Internet)

In past winters I have paid from $350-$400/month (monthly rates are cheaper than daily or weekly, I typically "boondock" (another word you'll want to google) while I'm traveling, and if I pay to stay somewhere do it for a month to get the best rates.

There are MANY blogs (this forum is irritating in its tendency to delete useful links, but I can Pm some to anyone who sends me a request to do so)
Where people outline (including budgets stretching over YEARS) where they live on $1,500-$2,500/month.

"campground hosts" is something else to research, as well as "work camping"

This lifestyle fits me very well, I throughly enjoy it, and my little 224sqft is plenty of room except when there's WEEKS of bad weather trapping me inside (mostly, I hook up and leave to avoid that.... Best part of the lifestyle!)

I use my own shower, my own kitchen, my own memory foam mattress and sheets I KNOW who slept on them last!

And yes, if you work it right it's far cheaper than living out of hotels (I've done plenty of that too!)


-odd random Thoughts:
"America the beautiful passes" provide free or reduced camping to seniors/disabled in national parks, some state parks and army corps of engineers sites.
There's also BLM and other places which allow free stay's kf 2-4 weeks (or where you could move to another site, etc)

Plenty of ways to do it cheap. I favor a tow behind so when my truck breaks I still have a place to sleep, and I don't have to unhook to go anywhere (motor homes are more expensive to keep running than a truck, and initially more expensive)

Happy to answer any questions I can.
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