Snowbirds who travel south for the winter to the warmer “sun belt” states in the US or similar, warmer locales, are tasked with a long to-do list before they can leave.
Here are a few important things to remember before your trip down South.
- See your physician, dentist, and optometrist at least 90 days before traveling to make sure your prescriptions are up to date
- Be sure to get your annual flu shot
- Make sure to renew your provincial/territorial health card if it’s set to expire during the time you’re gone
- Don’t forget to bring copies of your prescriptions in case anything needs replacing, or to show border officials
- Invest in travel medical insurance, in case your health plan provides minimal coverage outside of Canada
- Bring proof of any pet immunizations or licensing for service animals, if traveling with your pet
- Put your telephone line on “vacation service” or routinely check/erase messages
- Let a reliable friend or neighbor know you will be away, so they can check your mail, shovel any snow, or take care of any lawn maintenance
- Turn on any automatic timers for lights so people think you are home in the evening, and ensure outside motion detector lights are functioning
- Put any valuables in a safety deposit box
- Put wood in the tracks of your sliding doors
- Turn off water supply and drain plumbing system if applicable
- Unplug your refrigerator, microwave, television, clocks, etc.
- Consider keeping your important travel documents (passport, credit cards, identification) in a travel wallet around your neck or waist
- Make two copies of all of your documents, including the contents of your wallet (keep one with a friend at home)
- Bring any residency documents, like your resident card or provincial health insurance card
- Notify your credit card company of your travel, and make sure your cards are not expiring soon
- Carry a small amount of currency for the place you are visiting for tipping and taxis
To see a full checklist of items to check before your snowbird travel, check out the CSA Traveller’s Checklist for Canadians.