Traveling south during the winter is an escape, especially for those who reside in harsh, frigid temperatures. This southern migration is not only a luxury, but a necessity for full-time RVers. Whether you head south in your Class A motorhome or other RV for vacation or for another way of life, there are a few pointers for any migrating RV snowbird. For that, RVT has compiled a list of tips to consider when you plan to RV south for the winter.
Choose Your Final Destination Wisely
If you are new to RVing south for the winter, understand that all snowbird destinations have their advantages and disadvantages. You should choose a destination based on your personal preferences. Do not solely rely on reviews of ‘the most popular spots for snowbirding’. For example, southeast destinations tend to be warmer, yet are more congested with tourists during the winter since these areas are typical vacation spots. Avoiding people is not as feasible in the southeast as it is in the southwest. Likewise, southwest destinations have wide open, desolate areas, yet during the night, temperatures can still be relatively cold – if you are trying to completely escape the cold, the southwest might not be the best option.
Prep Your RV for the Trip
If you have kept up with routine RV maintenance throughout the year, your RV will be in great shape for the journey down south. These are essential preparation measures for your RV before you depart:
- Check to make sure your batteries are fully charged.
- Check your tires and ensure they are inflated to the required PSI for your vehicle.
- Connect your RV to a power source and test all of your appliances to ensure they are fully functioning.
- Flush and sanitize your water system.
- Bring winter RV supplies, such as a heated hose, and check your propane levels.
Plan & Enjoy the Ride
Whether you decide to meander or get to your destination ‘as the crow flies’, you need to plan accordingly. First, it is important to budget for fuel costs – this will vary depending on numerous factors, including mileage to your destination and how many miles per gallon your RV expends. Calculate the amount of fuel you will be using during your trip with this helpful gas calculator from KOA. Next, create a list of various campsites you are interested in visiting. If you are a seasoned snowbird, consider changing destinations or changing your route to your destination. Along your journey, check out some of the best places to RV during the winter.
Observe the RV 3/3/3 Rule – don’t drive more than 300 miles in one day, arrive at your location for the night before 3 p.m., and stay up to three days at a campsite. Your annual snowbird excursion should not feel like a hackneyed, redundant approach, so drive a more scenic route to your terminal winter destination. Various campsite applications, including Campendium and RV Life, can help navigate you to various destinations along the way.
Pack the Appropriate Clothing
The destination you choose will dictate the type of clothes you pack into your Class C RV or other motorhome for the snowbird migration. Southeast coastal destinations, such as Florida, merely require beachwear, comfortable shorts, t-shirts, and light jackets. On the other hand, if you plan on traveling in desert landscapes in the southwest, such as New Mexico or Arizona, you will want to bring additional heavy outerwear as temperatures can be chilly during the night even in these southern areas.
Be Up-to-Date on Your Health Precautions
Before trekking for the long excursion down south, taking health precautions should be one of your top priorities. This is especially pertinent if you rely on daily medication. Book a health appointment to ensure all your prescriptions can be filled in a timely manner. Since large pharmacy companies are widespread, it may be useful to have some of your prescription filled in the area of your final snowbird destination. Likewise, visiting your doctor before your trip is essential since they will be able to advise you on your overall fit – the last thing you would want on your trip is to get seriously sick.
Winterize your Home
If you have owned your used travel trailer or other camper for several years, you are probably familiar with winterizing your RV. However, if you plan to spend a bit of time away from your house, you also need to winterize your home to protect it. Lower your heating system significantly and drain your plumbing to help reduce costs while you are gone. To keep your house safe, set your security system and notify your neighbors about your absence. If possible, set up a mail-forwarding service so your mail is redirected to your vacation spot.
Anyone can travel south during the winter, however RVing, in particular, comes with added bonuses. For starters, RVs provide a home on wheels, where you can live and travel simultaneously in a safe haven. Additionally, campsites provide great amenities for those traveling in RVs, providing more opportunity to explore scenic parks and campgrounds. If you have an RV and plan on traveling south for the winter, enjoy the ride and take your time. Make sure to check out the new and used RVs on RVT.com if you are considering purchasing an RV.
By Alex Hoyes
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