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Old 03-01-2015, 09:50 AM   #21
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Must everyone rely on "neighbors, friends and family" to watch over the vacant home, or is there a service which will take care of this?
We don't bother with it. Just shut the house down and hope it's there when we get back. Neighbors in both places have our phone number, so if a fire starts or something we'll be notified. But that's it.

Our FL home is small, made of cinderblock, and not much to go wrong. We keep the AC set low enough to discourage mold growth, and can look in via still pictures on our motion detectors. Nothing ever changes. If a hurricane hits I could always fly down afterward and check on it.

The MD house is much larger, but we have a mostly whole house generator so the heat should never drop below 45. Between that and draining the pipes and turning off the gas fireplace and the well there's not much to go wrong there either. Knock on wood.

I do know there are services here in FL for doing the home watch thing, and there probably are in MD too as we're right by the beach and a lot of people have second homes there. But I don't know what value they could really add for us. If we lived somewhere where snow could collapse the roof or something, maybe so.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:51 AM   #22
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Must everyone rely on "neighbors, friends and family" to watch over the vacant home, or is there a service which will take care of this?

Amethyst
We used to have a watch service for our condo that came once a month for a walk through, but I cancelled it and now I just shut off the water, drain the pipes, set AC at 85 or heat at 50 and leave. I have used Ip cameras to see what's going on. We have no mail at the condo.

We have cameras at our primary home that I monitor remotely. I call a neighbor to check it out if I see something amuck. I also have a snowplow guy that keeps the driveway plowed to make it look like someone is home. Set thermostat to 60, stop mail, shut off water, drain pipes.
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Old 03-01-2015, 10:21 AM   #23
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ISTM that if the purpose of snowbirding is to escape winter, by definition, the commute will be relatively long, since you need to reach a different climate zone. Those of you in the US at least have the option of snowbirding within your own country.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:22 AM   #24
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When the kids are off to college we will begin our snowbird lifestyle. Summers in Vermont and Winters in southern Utah. It is about 2500 miles each way.

Does anyone have a very long commute like this? Do you fly or drive?

[...]

We have a couple of years to think about this but wondering what advice the forum might have.
I can't believe that with all these posts, nobody has suggested that you could avoid the commute entirely if you just decided on a single location where you want to live, and then live there. To me, this is a first world problem caused by indecision. Not only is it a problem due to the huge cross country trek twice a year, but also maintaining two homes in two different states sounds like a giant pain in the neck. My advice would be to just move to southern Utah since the winters in Vermont could be pretty tough to endure as you age.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:57 AM   #25
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I guess I am different mindset than many of you. I like road tripping and seeing the country through the windshield. Driving does not bother me, even long days 600-800 miles no problem. Not like I am doing this every day every week as a long haul trucker does; I am sure that can get very old and boring. I actually look forward to retirement so I *can* do more road trips and seeing parts of the country. Maybe that is why I like my motorhome, be able to drive and see for myself, rather than flying over at 35,000 ft.

So my advice to OP, take different routes between VT and UT and enjoy the drive. Take advantage of the freedom to explore and see things you have not previously. If not pressed for time, stay off interstates and use the smaller highways. Go through the small towns, visit the parks, see the museums, drive the scenic byways, stop at historic sites, try the local food restaurants, meet locals with interesting stories, and most of all make memories.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:13 PM   #26
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I can't believe that with all these posts, nobody has suggested that you could avoid the commute entirely if you just decided on a single location where you want to live, and then live there. To me, this is a first world problem caused by indecision. Not only is it a problem due to the huge cross country trek twice a year, but also maintaining two homes in two different states sounds like a giant pain in the neck. My advice would be to just move to southern Utah since the winters in Vermont could be pretty tough to endure as you age.
I agree completely and this comes from somebody living in Central MN. I never bought into the idea that 2 places could feel like home at the same time without a tremendous amount of effort and money.

Our home is our old farm house and in the cold weather we will rent a place in Southern Utah, or Florida or go to beach at Playa del Carmen for a month for a fraction of the money and time involved with owning a second home.When we get to the rental, we dump our bags and just start enjoying ourselves. If something isn't right we just call the owner and asked to have it corrected. When we leave we dump our keys on the counter, walk out the door and never think of the place again.Even with the long winters we are always glad to get back to our home and if the weather continues cold we book a fun trip somewhere. I certainly am not saying it's wrong to own a second home, it just has zero appeal to us.

I have a friend that has a lovely home in Northern Utah which she leaves in October-April to live in a park trailer in AZ. Doesn't even return at the holidays to see her grandkids because she doesn't want to wear long pants!
Different strokes for different folks!

I think it is interesting that the OP bought such a faraway house before asking for tips and problems with the drive aside from the money aspect, transiting between the 2 homes will be the biggest hassle.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:15 PM   #27
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I guess I am different mindset than many of you. I like road tripping and seeing the country through the windshield. Driving does not bother me, even long days 600-800 miles no problem. Not like I am doing this every day every week as a long haul trucker does; I am sure that can get very old and boring. I actually look forward to retirement so I *can* do more road trips and seeing parts of the country. Maybe that is why I like my motorhome, be able to drive and see for myself, rather than flying over at 35,000 ft.

So my advice to OP, take different routes between VT and UT and enjoy the drive. Take advantage of the freedom to explore and see things you have not previously. If not pressed for time, stay off interstates and use the smaller highways. Go through the small towns, visit the parks, see the museums, drive the scenic byways, stop at historic sites, try the local food restaurants, meet locals with interesting stories, and most of all make memories.
Exactly!

Just got back from a couple weeks in Florida and decided to take a new route back and drove up through Alabama and spent the night in Nashville. Neither of us had ever gone through there and though not super exciting (we were trying to make in home between storms, so little time to explore) we got some ideas for returning later.

One the way down we stopped for two days in Hilton Head - again, we'd never been there and it was fun to poke around in the off season (super low rates in some nice resorts). On the way there we ate at a really excellent restaurant in Charleston SC.

Of course, I enjoy getting somewhere almost as much as being there. Sometimes more so!
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:03 PM   #28
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To me, this is a first world problem caused by indecision. Not only is it a problem due to the huge cross country trek twice a year, but also maintaining two homes in two different states sounds like a giant pain in the neck.
I think it only becomes a 'problem' if you try to do it on a shoestring.

Otherwise I'm not sure what the problem is. Personally, we think New England is a fantastic place to live 6 months a year (summer) but can't stand the winters...Boston, anyone?

Properly resourced/budgeted, its simply a matter of getting on a plane at either end (or driving if you like that) and having some sort of away-monitoring (service/friend/sensors) at the other end.

Something goes wrong? Call the plumber (!) which is what we'd do if we were on-site.
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Old 03-01-2015, 01:14 PM   #29
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I agree with 38 Chevy454, take it easy and enjoy the trip. Turn this into something positive. If you can't, then have all your stuff shopped by FedEx, pay for your car to be hauled, and fly. If that's not affordable, then look to W2R's post and ask yourself why you have a second home.

We've been driving back and forth, twice a year, 1400 mikes each way, for about 15 years. DW doesn't care to drive on highways and 6-7 hours per day is now my limit in a car, so we take it slow and easy over 3 days. We take different routes, and don't stress it.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:58 PM   #30
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as for mail, PO will Temp Fwd up to 6mos, hold for 30days. since I'm gone less than 6mos, I Temp Fwd it til about 2 weeks before I return, then have it changed to Hold (so none should arrive at winter home after I've left). pick up the Hold mail upon return
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:21 PM   #31
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How do foreign snowbirds do with mail?


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Kramer uses a mail forwarding service in the USA that scans important stuff and emails it. I spoke to an RV'er once who uses a similar service, where all the mail always goes to them, and each time they are settled in a place for a while he calls them and provides the address for the mail to be forwarded to.

For us our son checks our mail , and it is very rare that we need to actually see it as we spent years organizing everything to be online. If there is something we actually need to lay eyes on then he takes a photo and emails it.

In England my sister has already volunteered to pick up the mail for us once we have established a permanent place.
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Old 03-01-2015, 03:30 PM   #32
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I can't believe that with all these posts, nobody has suggested that you could avoid the commute entirely if you just decided on a single location where you want to live, and then live there. To me, this is a first world problem caused by indecision. Not only is it a problem due to the huge cross country trek twice a year, but also maintaining two homes in two different states sounds like a giant pain in the neck. My advice would be to just move to southern Utah since the winters in Vermont could be pretty tough to endure as you age.
For us it is family. We are really close and get on very well with our kids and our siblings, but they live all over the place. Texas, California, England, Scotland and Australia.

This is why we don't own any property anywhere, much easier to lock and leave.
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Old 03-01-2015, 04:54 PM   #33
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So far, we have only been gone for one month increments and have it held at the post office. In future longer trips, I'll still have it held at the post office, but I'll have someone pick it up for us monthly. Our post office will only hold mail between 3 and 30 consecutive days. I do it all online. We rarely have anything of importance come to us via mail, so this works very well.
Interesting... Since you can do it all online, I would think it is all fine as you say. Cool.
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Old 03-01-2015, 06:29 PM   #34
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As memory fades, we use this.
Our last "to do" list before the move.
.................................................. .........

stop newspapers
send notification to FL Office... Call IL Post Office - to verify
change billing Address for:
- FL Water and Electricity
- IL Water and Electricity
- Bank
- Auto Insurance
- Credit cards
- Gas
- Electric
checks for house maintenance
what bills may be due?
get cash for trip
contact bank for IRA Instructions
doctor contacts? appointmants
cancel Comcast IL
order Comcast FL
check w/ city for water shut off at street
Advise community mgt. we are leaving
checkg love compartment papers first aid,tel #s insur+registration
remote thermometer to neighbor
key to neighbor and community mgt
turn off water at risers
file for rebates
give cell phone number to family and neightbors
clean refrigerator give away food
get telephone number print out
bring financial records (review papers)
Illinois seniorcare check status, papers
pour anti freeze intraps
lock all doors
leave blinds open?
check "stuff" in top drawer cards papers etc.
what bills may be due?
ask neighbor to check mail in case PO doesn't forward
pour anti freeze intraps
clean furnace & new filter
Set thermosatat
bank checks and money from ATM
wash car
check out car fluids air in tires .. get gas
send EMail notes to mail list
take in grille and lawn furniture
set out trash for the last time.
check mailbox
Bug Spray
lock back door
wrap all drygoods to be carried over, pantry
stuff to bring from house..
personal papers review what needs to be taken
wrap grille.. pull out grille parts and oil
last day check list.
shut off water outside hose
shut off select electricity circuits
lock Doors
pack some water and food for trip
shut off water heater
unplug garage overhead door
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:35 PM   #35
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I can't believe that with all these posts, nobody has suggested that you could avoid the commute entirely if you just decided on a single location where you want to live, and then live there. To me, this is a first world problem caused by indecision. Not only is it a problem due to the huge cross country trek twice a year, but also maintaining two homes in two different states sounds like a giant pain in the neck. My advice would be to just move to southern Utah since the winters in Vermont could be pretty tough to endure as you age.

Snowbirding does not necessarily imply owning homes in two different parts of the country. We only own one primary home (in Michigan), but we spend a few months each winter on the Gulf coast, in a house we rent here. Staying home all year (in Michigan) is not very appealing to us anymore. We did it for years, but the winters are just too long as we get older, and we have too much fun doing stuff down here that we could never do at home in the winter months. On the other hand, we love living in Michigan from spring through fall - our family is all there, we have many friends there, and a whole host of activities that we enjoy doing there during those months. But come January, we're ready to head south for a while. It works for us.
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:43 PM   #36
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We tow a travel trailer 1,000 miles between Kansas City and the Texas Gulf Coast every spring for a two week vacation. We split the 16 hour trip over 2 days of driving. Once we are retired, we will be towing a bigger trailer back and forth over 3 or 4 days along with 2 cats, and staying for 2-4 months. Many days I wish we didn't even have a stick house to worry about, so I can't imagine dealing with two houses (unless they were income-producing properties). I prefer driving to flying, just taking my time driving, and seeing the sights along the way.

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What make and model travel trailer do you use?
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Old 05-10-2015, 08:22 PM   #37
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When the kids are off to college we will begin our snowbird lifestyle. Summers in Vermont and Winters in southern Utah. It is about 2500 miles each way.

Does anyone have a very long commute like this? Do you fly or drive?

Flying is easy (except for bringing our lab) but means you need to figure out having car in both locations and more of a challenge transporting extra clothes, computer, etc.

Driving would allow us to take the dog more easily and transport a car and extra stuff but that is a LONG drive. Would be interesting maybe once or twice but maybe not every year.

We have a couple of years to think about this but wondering what advice the forum might have.
We don't have 2500 miles, but if I scaled our 1000 mile commute to yours, I would do it in five days, maybe 8 or 9 hour days. We vary the trip some, stop and explore, and generally are in no hurry. Sometimes we take 4 days to do the trip.

In addition to the regular commute, consider what you may need to do to come back without a plan. For example, a serious family illness or funeral. Will you fly, drive, leave the dog, etc.? We had that last year. It was a challenge to get the dog and DW back.

We have a beater car in both locations, and drive the newer, reliable car back and forth. If we have a problem with the beaters, no great loss, but so far they have been fine.

We always seem to have a full SUV going both ways. At first it was necessary stuff, now we just seem to take more things if there is room.

Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:28 PM   #38
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What make and model travel trailer do you use?
We have a 30 year old egg style fiberglass travel trailer that is no longer made. It is kind of a piece of junk. I wish we would have bought a Casita instead. They are pretty well made and will probably outlast me.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:18 AM   #39
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....
We always seem to have a full SUV going both ways. At first it was necessary stuff, now we just seem to take more things if there is room.

Good luck!
Isn't that odd? We are hitting the road tomorrow back from La Quinta California to Independence Oregon. Both homes are fully outfitted; we have everything we need in both places, and yet.. the family truckster is going to be full to within 4" of the roof.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:51 AM   #40
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Isn't that odd? We are hitting the road tomorrow back from La Quinta California to Independence Oregon. Both homes are fully outfitted; we have everything we need in both places, and yet.. the family truckster is going to be full to within 4" of the roof.
Same thing with us. Fully stocked dwellings in Il and Az, yet my truck was packed from Il to Az and moreso on the return trip.
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