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Old 07-17-2020, 05:16 PM   #21
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Exactly what I was thinking... rent might be a bit low (depending on where you are going) and travel looked high.

For us travel is 1,500 miles/20 mpg * $2/gal = $150 for gas plus one or two nights in a hotel at $125-150 or so a night.... so less than $500.
We just can't handle around 1550 one way on a one night hotel stay .It's winter it gets dark so early and on a one night stay we are always getting to our rental so late in day.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:03 PM   #22
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We just can't handle around 1550 one way on a one night hotel stay .It's winter it gets dark so early and on a one night stay we are always getting to our rental so late in day.
We usually stay over two nights and drive bit over 8 hours a day so our 3rd day is a short day. However this time we made better time with less traffic due to COVID and then decided to stretch ourselves a bit and do it in 2 longer days.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:43 PM   #23
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Last winter was my first year of trying to snowbird in southern Florida.

I used VRBO, because my friends have been successfully using it for years.

I thought the prices were high. I ended up paying $5000/month in January, and $6000/month in February.

I'm convinced much better deals can be had dealing directly with owners. For example there were several ads on the community bulletin board for 3-4 month rental commitments. They were still in the $4000/month range.

I'm figuring at a minimum $12,000 - $15000 for three months rent in SWFL. Maybe covid conditions will drastically change this.

This was in a nice well kept townhome community with a very nice pool, tennis courts and grounds. A few miles from the beaches in Bonita Springs.

FYI : I really liked it down there. These prices convinced me to buy my own place.
My ownership costs for my new place are about $6000/year.

This doesn't count improvements I choose to make, or the gains my money could be making in the market not tied up in a vacation home. (I forgot the term for this, but I'm acknowledging it is part of my ownership costs.)

I also figured out that I don't care if it costs a little more to own a place. I want my own home to stay at in warm weather for 5-6 months each winter.

Good luck, JP
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:50 PM   #24
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Consider Mexico. We spend 2 mos/year there. 85 degrees and sunny every day. Our rental is ocean front luxury on a beautiful sand beach, 2 BR, 2 BA, with large outdoor deck in a gated community, for $5,000/mo. All English speaking US/Canadian snowbirds. After rental costs, other expenses are much less than if staying home for the same period.
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We spend a month near Cancun at an all inclusive resort. Total cost is about $5,500. This includes unlimited food and drinks and round trip airfare from Seattle.
Curious how you get these rentals? via travel agent or Airbnb?

Can you offer a couple of resort/gated community names? we are interested for the future.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:00 PM   #25
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Curious how you get these rentals? via travel agent or Airbnb?



Can you offer a couple of resort/gated community names? we are interested for the future.


We use Costco travel for Mexico as they take care of all the transfers and have selected places they recommend.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:38 PM   #26
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This doesn't count improvements I choose to make, or the gains my money could be making in the market not tied up in a vacation home. (I forgot the term for this, but I'm acknowledging it is part of my ownership costs.)
Thanks for your input.

I think "opportunity costs" was the term you were thinking of.
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Old 07-18-2020, 03:34 AM   #27
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One thing that really affected our snowbird budget and plans was getting a dog before we retired.
We love bringing her with us but she reduces our options quite a bit. Basically before we would be ok with a small apartment. Now we need a small cottage. And 90% of landlords donít take them.
Makes getting a place each year more difficult.
Luckily for 2021 we found a place for 4K for February just off the beach near Sarasota.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:15 AM   #28
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One thing that really affected our snowbird budget and plans was getting a dog before we retired.
We love bringing her with us but she reduces our options quite a bit. Basically before we would be ok with a small apartment. Now we need a small cottage. And 90% of landlords donít take them.
Makes getting a place each year more difficult.
Luckily for 2021 we found a place for 4K for February just off the beach near Sarasota.
I guess that answers the implicit question in your user name, at least for Feb.!

Thanks for the thought, and nice going on the cottage. (No dogs here, woof!)
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:38 AM   #29
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As someone who is not a snowbird, but just observing this thread: it was mentioned that there were some savings you could implement in your home during your snowbird time by discontinuing/reducing some services. I wonder if anyone has experienced additional expenses they incur on their home. For example, if you live in an area frequented by snow, does one just leave nature to take care of things, or do you hire someone to shovel out (of course if you can get someone to do that for free it would be great).
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:12 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
As someone who is not a snowbird, but just observing this thread: it was mentioned that there were some savings you could implement in your home during your snowbird time by discontinuing/reducing some services. I wonder if anyone has experienced additional expenses they incur on their home. For example, if you live in an area frequented by snow, does one just leave nature to take care of things, or do you hire someone to shovel out (of course if you can get someone to do that for free it would be great).


We donít have any savings at our house when we snowbird. And we let the snow pile up. It melts by the time we come back home.
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:38 AM   #31
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Yes. Before we downsized from a large home to an HOA which is essentially lock and go.

For us the cost was not high. We had the son of a neighbour clear the snow form our driveway and from the sidewalk in front of our home. Plus check inside to ensure that the heat was still on etc. The house had to be checked from time to time for home insurance purposes.

Now we have neighbours who switch about checking for each other. Snow removal and gardening is done by the HOA.

We purposely have no pets, no plants. The saving from us is extremely minor. Our heating bill is slightly lower. We switch our auto insurance to stationary fire and theft. They do not add up to that much.

We did however realize a significant saving when sold and traveled for seven months then came back and rented a furnished apt. for three months. No utility or tax payments, no mtce costs, no insurance, cable, internet, etc. We did not really comprehend how much it cost to put the key in the door even though we had no mortgage payments.
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:45 AM   #32
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We save on natural gas (heat) and electricity. We have our son in law clear the driveway of snow and do an occasional walk through the house. On the flip side we eat out more in Florida and spend more on day trip travel etc.
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Old 07-18-2020, 10:10 AM   #33
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We use Costco travel for Mexico as they take care of all the transfers and have selected places they recommend.
We are costco member, besides shopping at the store we never thought of use their other services. Great idea, we will give it a look.
Thanks!!!
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:08 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
As someone who is not a snowbird, but just observing this thread: it was mentioned that there were some savings you could implement in your home during your snowbird time by discontinuing/reducing some services. I wonder if anyone has experienced additional expenses they incur on their home. For example, if you live in an area frequented by snow, does one just leave nature to take care of things, or do you hire someone to shovel out (of course if you can get someone to do that for free it would be great).
Very good point.

We live in a lovely SFH in a great, walkable neighborhood. Unfortunately, I think that leaving this 1929 house unoccupied for the winter would be a non-starter. Snow (which is a frequent occurrence) must be shoveled promptly in my neighborhood; obviously, I could use a service, but I would still worry.

I have steam heat. It loses enough water (even after replacing the valves) that the water needs monitoring. The previous owners learned the hard way that water-level switches and automatic refill valves do not always work. Visions of burst pipes and/or cracked boilers dance through my head.

So, our plan is to downsize to a condo or apartment shortly after retiring, allowing lock-and-go traveling. Like brett, we may try to save some money by having NO home-base abode to maintain during that first honeymoon travel period, but time will tell.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:50 AM   #35
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What we have been doing is combining our so called snowbird travel with some our respective bucket lists. Adjusted for late booking deals, currency , and meeting up with past travel friends along the way. If we are going to travel we may as well hit the warm spots in the our winter time.

Often we know where we are going for the first few days, week or so. Then we book as we go. We usually know where we will be be for our flight home. Everything in between is always subject to change. So far we have spent our winters in SE Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam), Australia, South America, Central America, and Mexico. We have had past trips to Florida, Hawaii, Arizona.

Still on our list is to do another African safari but this time in our winter time and combine it with a great deal of beach time Africa. Plus go back for more Thailand (via India solo for me) and more Australia.

All subject to post covid of course. We are grounded at the moment like everyone else.
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:06 PM   #36
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So we own a 3/2 condo on the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama.

We've had the same snowbirds for the past 5 years. It's $1,600 a month.

They told me just not having a heating bill during the winter almost paid the rent. Along with expenses, don't forget savings (heating, vacation hold on cable/internet, less expensive dining out options).
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:22 PM   #37
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What we have been doing is combining our so called snowbird travel with some our respective bucket lists. Adjusted for late booking deals, currency , and meeting up with past travel friends along the way. If we are going to travel we may as well hit the warm spots in the our winter time.

Often we know where we are going for the first few days, week or so. Then we book as we go. We usually know where we will be be for our flight home. Everything in between is always subject to change. So far we have spent our winters in SE Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam), Australia, South America, Central America, and Mexico. We have had past trips to Florida, Hawaii, Arizona.

Still on our list is to do another African safari but this time in our winter time and combine it with a great deal of beach time Africa. Plus go back for more Thailand (via India solo for me) and more Australia.

All subject to post covid of course. We are grounded at the moment like everyone else.

That is a really inspiring post. Thanks for sharing! This is going into my "file."

Edit: HAH! I just put it in my "file," and I see that I previously put your similar post from the Gypsynesters thread there!
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:35 PM   #38
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The only place that we did not care for was the Philippines. We flew in from Thailand and were planning to spend several weeks there.

We did not like it for several reasons. Fortunately we had no firm hotel or other prepaid travel arrangements. We were able to book air back to Thailand and spend our time there. Paid the $200. air change fee...no problem for the flight home from Bangkok instead of Manila. This is one reason why we like to remain flexible. The only exception to the flexible approach is for countries like Vietnam and Cambodia where you have to obtain date specific visa (at least we do) and Thailand where we need a visa for stays in excess of 30 days. Even then you can often arrange this a few days in advance as we did for Cambodia.
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Old 07-18-2020, 04:12 PM   #39
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So we own a 3/2 condo on the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama.

We've had the same snowbirds for the past 5 years. It's $1,600 a month.

They told me just not having a heating bill during the winter almost paid the rent. Along with expenses, don't forget savings (heating, vacation hold on cable/internet, less expensive dining out options).
They must have been exaggerating as most folks places from up North would freeze the water pipes, and possibly heave the foundation footings.

When we snowbird, I shut off the water, turn the water heater to vacation (used to be off for the old one), and turn the heat down to about 60 F.

So a tiny savings on our heating bill that can hit as high as $100/mo in the Winter, might save $30 as the first $30 of the bill is admin fees.
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Old 07-18-2020, 04:15 PM   #40
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The only place that we did not care for was the Philippines. We flew in from Thailand and were planning to spend several weeks there.

We did not like it for several reasons....
Can you elaborate, was it the specific city ? , heat/pollution/noise/traffic ?
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