Snowbirds – The Winter Escape

A winter storm.
A winter storm.
It’s the time of the year when retired folks plan a winter getaway. The Christmas season is over, the kids and grandkids are heading home to their jobs and school. The house seems empty.
After the busy holiday season, a trip south is something to look forward to, leave the cold and bad weather behind for warmth and sunshine.
Thousands of Snowbirds flock south to escape winter, some leave in the fall before Christmas, while others wait till after the holidays, enjoying time with family.
Some Snowbirds fly to foreign destinations like Mexico or the Caribbean while others travel to the warm southern states.
Snowbirds from the east, who stay in the US,  tend to make Florida, Texas or other gulf states their winter destination, while westerners head to California, Arizona or New Mexico.
Lynda and I have traveled to both areas, the deserts of the west and the more tropical climate of the east, we prefer the less developed and less expensive western desert states. We love the dry climate and the predictable warm sunny days.
Our group Boondocking in the Arizona desert
Our group Boondocking in the Arizona desert

RV Travel

Flying to a warm winter destination is great but for most retired folks a week or two is about all we can afford. A less expensive alternative is traveling in an RV.  RVing is also a more relaxing way to enjoy the snowbird lifestyle.
Of course, the cost of the RV should be included as an expense, but over the long run, RV travel should be less expensive.
Traveling in an RV is much easier on the budget than hotels or resorts. Even the most luxurious RV resort would be half the cost of a hotel resort and most RV resorts have as many and probably more amenities.
Prices of RV resorts start around $300. to $1000. and up per month. The price depends on the amenities, the age of the resort and the location.
Some Snowbirds travel to the same RV Resort every year, creating a nucleus of winter friends much like their summer homes. Others Snowbirds seek out a more private location away from the crowded RV resorts.
Swimming pool at an RV resort Surprise, Arizona.
Swimming pool at an RV resort Surprise, Arizona.
If you plan to stay in RV parks while traveling why not take advantage of 50% off. Lynda and I save every time we travel, click the add below to check out Passport America and save on camping at thousands of RV parks.

 

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

 

Boondocking/dry camping is a great way to enjoy more privacy while saving money. The southern deserts offer many boondocking opportunities for little or no fees.
Although boondocking is cheaper most RV’s require some upgrading or additional equipment to make dry camping comfortable. A generator or solar panels is a must to keep your RV batteries charged.
The ability to haul fresh water and black water is also a good addition. Satellite TV may also be a desirable upgrade to enjoy during long winter’s nights.
Squaw lake dry camping area north of Yuma
Squaw lake drycamping area north of Yuma
Like RV parks, Boondocking areas can be populated and organized or dispersed and solitude. Many Snowbirds take advantage of free camping on public lands,  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as other government agencies, manage the western deserts.
Some of these areas, like the Long Term Visitor Areas (LYVA) are semi-organized with some facilities and a small fee. Camping is usually dispersed.
Boondocking near Cottonwood, Arizona
Boondocking near Cottonwood, Arizona
Camping on public land comes with basic rules. You are required to move 25 miles after 14 days is the main rule and of course pack it in and pack it out.
A fantastic way to save on overnight camping “Boondockers Welcome” camping hosted by other RVers. Click the link below to check it out.

Boondockers Welcome - Be My Guest RV Parking

Hopefully, I have shed some light on snowbird travels, one aspect of RV travel.
For more information on southern RV destinations check out my previous article  “RV Destinations – The Colorado River Basin” .

Considering buying an RV – Check out my RV Buyers Guide

 If you enjoyed this article or have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for visiting
Gord B.

4 thoughts on “Snowbirds – The Winter Escape”

  1. Thanks for posting this.
    I enjoyed the information.
    Have wanted to do this, but my limited income has stopped me dead, but it’s still on my bucket list.

    1. Hi Vern, Sorry to hear about your situation. Traveling in an RV can be reasonable there are plenty of ways to save, like free camping at Walmart, casinos and boondocking in the desert. The main expense of course is fuel.
      Good luck
      Gord

  2. Great basic article. I am from near Toronto in Canada and hope to travel south for a couple months to avoid the winter. From my research I feel that the western areas like Arizona & area are better suited for our likes and needs, then the eastern side like Florida area. I find this so, mainly in terms of cost and availability of boondocking / dry camping sites. Would you also agree that the western side may be better? Would love to go to Arizona, but since we are new to RVing, Florida is considerably closer.

    1. Hi Frank, I’m Canadian also, I live in Princeton BC we make the trip to Arizona every year since retiring 10 years ago. We usually leave end of Jan. after snowmobiling is finished and stay till the end of april. We dry camp until the weather warms up and then to a resort to enjoy swimming pool fun.
      Thanks for your comment
      Gord

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