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Advice on long snow bird "commute'?
Old 02-28-2015, 06:25 AM   #1
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Advice on long snow bird "commute'?

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.
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:48 AM   #2
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We snowbird 1800 miles from Chicago - Phoenix. Since 2002, probably flown 100 round trips, driven 4 round trips. Before retiring, I would fly to Phoenix for 4 or 5 days almost monthly Sept through April with another mid-summer check-in.

Now that we're retired, we have more time so we can drive it and stay a month. This winter was one flying trip, one driving trip. We take 3 days to get there, driving 8-9 hours per day.

We have a car in both locations and extra clothes in Az. I bring my laptop back and forth. It's fun to drive maybe once every couple of years, but I couldn't see driving once or twice a year.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:04 AM   #3
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A great subject for us. Here's why:
24 years of snowbirding... Illinois to Florida. 1300 miles each way.
Basically 6 months in each place.
I will no longer fly, though this was common during the working years.
We built two complete households. Necessary when it's not just a vacation, but a full life.
For the first 20+ years, no travel problem. One overnight. Easy drive.

Now... have stayed north for two winters. Getting older. First year, a moderate health problem. Now the attraction is balanced by the downsides and the what ifs'. Age.

Driving 17 hours @ 75-80mph in heavier traffic. No afternoon nap. No preplan reservations, as when it's time for a layover the last 50 miles is hell.
An older car: last time a three day layover half way there... for simple repair.
The preparation: Cancel Cable - Telephone number porting - Turn off water at street by city - Forward mail - Notify many contacts, personal and businesses of address change - Cancel newspaper subscriptions - Work with neighbors to check for steam from furnace - Set thermostat for 50 degrees and then worry. CCRC snow removal, so no worry about burglary inviitation- Empty refrigerator - Check pantry for spoilage items - RV antifreeze in traps -
Notify HOA Mgt - Arrange for periodic house checks - Medical prescriptions -

Pack--- Very selective, for space, weight, value, and the papers necessary for what amounts to a permanent move. Medical, financial, deeds etc... for any contingency.

None of this was more than a minor annoyance until now. So, owning in two places, with everything that goes along with eventually making a full permanent move, is something to consider for long term planning. Currently, we are keeping our Florida home, as the cost is relatively low, and our kids and friends can use it for vacation, but within a year or so, will have to declutter and sell.

I suppose this is offtopic for "commute", butsome of the considerations that come with a distance move.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:54 AM   #4
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Boston to Florida. We fly back and forth about 3 or 4 times each winter for a few days.

Come back to Boston for 'stuff': doctors, lawyers, accountants...things better done in person, weddings, funerals etc.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:31 AM   #5
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One of these days there's bound to be a distance app for those...even your own...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko View Post

things better done in person, weddings, funerals etc.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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Toronto to South Florida and back once or twice a year since 1986. 1420 miles. Usually do it non-stop. Not everyone's idea of fun to be sure but have never had a problem doing it. Only wildcard is the weather in Western Pennsylvania and WV. I tend to get lots of books on CD or podcasts for the drive. Kids stock up on movies. So far, we have never had car issues along the way.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:20 AM   #7
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Is this something you talked about before you bought the second home? We drive around 1500 miles to snowbird and consider that a long drive. Throw in a dog and it gets even more complicated. Some hotel chains are more pet friendly, but it costs extra money for the dog.

OTOH, my brother has worked ground operations
for an airline for decades and and I personally would not transport a treasured pet as cargo. I've heard more then a few horror stories about pet transport....

We love Southern Utah, it's a solid 1500 miles for us and that is the main reason we didn't buy a second home there....we want more flexibility about the driving distance issue. Every warm place is around 1500 miles from MN, but some years we want the option of just flying to the beach for a month or so.
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Old 02-28-2015, 02:23 PM   #8
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Get one of these.
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Old 02-28-2015, 02:46 PM   #9
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3rd yr from WNY to west AZ - 2800mi. 4 1/2-5 days. I always stop in Dallas, sisters place saves 1 nite motel. start on a Monday - motel rates higher on weekends. try to do longer stint 1st day - when you're fresh; maybe 700mi. always pick motel site PAST larger city - avoid rush hour next day. I choose hotel stop morning of drive - 8-10hrs away. pick motel right off Interstate - farther "inland" risks seedier place. nearing city close to rush hour - good time to eat. keep drink & snack handy. rest areas good for 30min catnap, if you get drowsy. nothing wrong with staying overnight 2,3 hrs from destination if you've been going 9,10 hrs.
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:01 PM   #10
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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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Old 02-28-2015, 08:29 PM   #11
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This is our fifth year of snowbirding along the Texas Gulf Coast. Our home is in northern Michigan, so it's about 1700 miles. We've always driven, for several reasons. We have a dog (lab), and can't imagine leaving him with someone else back home, so he goes with us. We also transport two kayaks with us (we love to paddle and fish), and there would be no way to transport those without driving. We also take lots of other stuff.......household goods for the house we rent, my fishing gear, one or two coolers full of meat and other frozen foods from home, etc, etc.. So, flying is just not feasible for us. Having our truck down here with us is a necessity as well.....renting a vehicle for several months would be cost-prohibitive, even if we could resolve all of the other issues. The drive is really not all that bad.......we drive dusk-to-dawn the first two days, and a little less than that on the third and final day. So, two days in motels and eating on the road, which is tolerable.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Is this something you talked about before you bought the second home? We drive around 1500 miles to snowbird and consider that a long drive. Throw in a dog and it gets even more complicated. Some hotel chains are more pet friendly, but it costs extra money for the dog.
We've been doing 1200 miles back and forth from MD to SW FL for a couple of years. It's a long hard drive, as we tow our second car and have the 4 dogs (2 pugs, 2 chihuahuas) in the car with us (in their kennels). We do it over two days. I've never had to pay extra for the dogs in a pet friendly hotel. I know some hotels charge, but there are plenty that don't. Try Hampton Inns, and Red Roof.

Ronstar, you said you have a car in each location. Doesn't sitting for 6 months at a time cause problems? We left our VW Beetle with SIL last year. She didn't drive it at all, and it was a mess when we picked it up. That's why we are towing the one (using it as a trailer) this year.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:28 PM   #13
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We've been doing 1200 miles back and forth from MD to SW FL for a couple of years. It's a long hard drive, as we tow our second car and have the 4 dogs (2 pugs, 2 chihuahuas) in the car with us (in their kennels). We do it over two days. I've never had to pay extra for the dogs in a pet friendly hotel. I know some hotels charge, but there are plenty that don't. Try Hampton Inns, and Red Roof.
I hope you request a ground floor room when you stay in a hotel with 4 dogs. I would considerate it to be horrible to have 4 dogs walking around above me in a hotel when I need to sleep and very inconsiderate of the owner to allow that to happen.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:39 PM   #14
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What do you do with mail during your absence especially when you go back and forth?


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Old 02-28-2015, 10:47 PM   #15
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Imoldernyou has it. We've been doing about 1050 miles back and forth from Oregon to So Call since 2010. Cat goes with us, as well as several banker boxes of paper to do taxes and business in either location and (being as the room is there..) CPUs and crap that just needs to be in the other location. The drives get longer and longer..

Edit: mail is forwarded, we call for an extension at the place we stay longer. Anything tax related we try to get online - had California get all eager to collect taxes from me as a resident when I set up for statements to be sent to us down here, where we were for tax prep time.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:49 AM   #16
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I hope you request a ground floor room when you stay in a hotel with 4 dogs. I would considerate it to be horrible to have 4 dogs walking around above me in a hotel when I need to sleep and very inconsiderate of the owner to allow that to happen.
If you could hear little dogs like that walking around you must be staying in some pretty cheap hotels. It's not like they have hardwood floors. They certainly don't make as much noise as a person walking around. You'd be more likely to hear them snoring, which happens with humans just as often.

But most hotels put all dogs on a single floor, and yes, it's usually the first. Other than an occasional bark, I've never found the dog friendly section to be any louder, or even as loud, as any other hotel situation. Certainly not as loud as kids or young adults.

As far as mail goes, we put our mail on hold at whichever location we're going to. Then we either forward the mail (from FL to MD) or cancel the forward when we get back to FL. We do this about a week before we go to the other location. The hold is to allow mail to accumulate for a week or so where we're going, so we don't end up leaving anything behind. It works just fine.
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Old 03-01-2015, 02:22 AM   #17
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How do foreign snowbirds do with mail?


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Old 03-01-2015, 06:17 AM   #18
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How do foreign snowbirds do with mail?


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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.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:27 AM   #19
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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?

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Old 03-01-2015, 09:37 AM   #20
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We do Denver to Scottsdale (900 miles) in a two day drive. Drive down end of October and back in mid May. Going to sell the Denver home this spring and get down to just one residence. While the commute isn't bad we just prefer Scottsdale. When it gets god awful hot in August and September we will head to the coast or to the mountains.

While gone mail is forwarded via USPS. We have someone check the Denver house every couple of weeks (daughter of a friend does this for $25 a trip) but basically shut the house down by draining pipes, etc, etc. Have someone who shovels the walks when it snows. When we leave Scottsdale nobody checks the house but we do have pool guy, landscaper, etc that let us know if anything is going on.
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