If you are snowbirding for the first time, you will make some mistakes and learn a few things. It’s only natural that you will forget to do something before you leave your home for the winter, because it’s the first time you’ve done it. There are a few things snowbirds need to know and do before they take off for months. A few preventative measures will ensure your house is just the way you left it when you get back in the spring.
Suspend Your Mail
Either suspend your mail or forward it to your winter address. There is no need for the mail to pile up in the box. That is a huge welcome sign to thieves that no one is home. Forwarding your mail is probably the best option, so there aren’t any surprises when you get back home.
Utilize Online Bill Pay
Bills still need paying even though you are away in a warmer climate. Most utility companies have online bill paying available. All companies are heading in the direction—if they aren’t there already. Set up online bill payment so you can stay on top of things while you are away. Leave it like that when you return; it’s an easier option.
Ship Your Car
If you don’t want to drive a thousand miles or so, then have your car shipped. There are companies that specialize in this service for snowbirds. Spending days in the car and spending money on hotels can end up costing just as much as the service and an airplane ticket—if not more.
Cancel the Newspaper
Don’t pay for a newspaper you won’t be able to read. Cancel the subscription until you return. If you want to keep up on local news, there is probably an online version of your daily. Just like the mail, a pile of unread newspapers on the porch tells thieves that no one is home.
Get a Plow Service
This might seem silly, but it’s important for the same reason the mail and newspaper need to be removed. Thieves look for easy targets, and an unplowed house signals that you aren’t home. In addition, some towns require sidewalks to be clear no matter what. Have the plow service take care of it so you don’t get fines.
Get Rid of Food
Any food that can spoil needs eating, tossing, or transporting. Take all your condiments with you and completely empty the fridge, unplug it, and leave the door open. This is a great chance to clean it and air it out.
Shut Off the Water
In areas with extreme cold and below-freezing temperatures, you will need to shut off the water service. Once that is done, drain all the pipes so there is no water left in them. In the event the power goes out and the heat in the home isn’t working, the pipes won’t freeze and burst while you’re gone.