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SNOWBIRDS

Snowbird Travel Planner

Part 1: What is a snowbird?

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Just as fall brings on its annual display of colorful foliage, so too it reminds us of the oncoming chill of winter that follows. To many it is a welcome sign of a new season of outdoor recreation and activities: football, hunting, ice hockey, skiing, and sledding, just to name a few. To others it is the migratory signal to start packing and begin heading to warmer climates. For those escapees there is a name; they are called snowbirds.

Migrate - to move periodically from one region or climate to another, as (snow) birds or fish. - Webster's Dictionary

Each October marks the beginning of the annual migration of literally millions of RVs to warm destinations in the south. You veteran snowbirds and full-timers know what to expect, you've been down the road before, you're looking forward to the trip. But to novice snowbirds this is a new adventure, and although it may be very exciting, it need not be an ordeal. Probably the biggest ordeal for novice snowbirds, and experts alike, is deciding on where to go. And that leads us to the next question ...

Since snowbirds migrate south to avoid the cold of winter, the obvious answer to the question, "where do snowbirds migrate?", should be "where it's warm and sunny." But that's not specific enough. There are many differences between the offerings that each southern state has to offer. The activities and attractions available at any given destination play as much a role as the weather in the decision process. Where snowbirds migrate is based on a multiplicity of factors:

  • climate - of course you're going to a place where the climate is warm, but do you prefer sunny beaches, arid desserts, moist tropical breezes? Do you like the feel of being out in the woods, near the lake, up in the mountains?
     
  • activities - what do you like to do? Are you into fishing or boating? Do you like to hike, bike, or take long walks? Would you rather shop or attend social functions? Are you a rock-hound or into antiques? Do you just want a peaceful place to relax? Do you prefer rural communities or "near" city destinations?
     
  • attractions - what are your interests? Do you like to take in a movie or go to restaurants occasionally? How about visiting historical landmarks and buildings? Are you drawn to the national parks or scenic wonders? Have you a passion for flea marts, concerts, theme parks, or travel shows?
And don't forget what is probably the strongest motivation to choose one destination over another, people. Sharing the company of old friends and relatives, or making the acquaintance of new friends, can be strong reasons to go somewhere. Seeing old faces and catching up on the times are cherished moments, moments which are oblivious to the current weather, local attractions, or events of the day.

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