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What First Time Snow Birds Need to Know About Moving

If you’ve finally decided to escape the cold and head somewhere warm and sunny for the winter, congratulations! As your first time as a “snow bird”, you’re understandably excited to say goodbye to snowstorms, icy roads and frigid temperatures, and hello to sun-soaked days and t-shirts. But before you can enjoy the many benefits of heading south for the winter, you will have to deal with some important moving logistics. This is much more than just a long weekend trip or even a few weeks away. There are many things to consider when planning to relocate for an extended period of time, including what to bring along with you, how to get it there, and who will look after your winter home in your absence.

At All Jersey Moving & Storage we have helped many snow birds move south, whether we’re transporting furniture and other belongings to a new winter home or simply placing certain valuable belongings in in our New Jersey-based containerized storage facility until our clients return from their time away. We’re dedicated to doing everything we can to make the move seamless and stress-free, so snowbirds – whether they’re first-timers or not – can enjoy their months of refuge from the cold.

Whether you’re a first-time snow bird or simply need some helpful tips to make this year’s move a little smoother, here are some practical steps you can take to ensure a successful move to your sunny destination:

Bring along important documents and ID.

The last thing you want to find yourself missing when you arrive at your summer home is an important, irreplaceable document or piece of identification. Be sure to pack your ID, such as your passport and/or driver’s license. It’s a good idea to bring along your health, vehicle and home insurance policies for your summer home as well as your winter home or rental. Packing important medical information such as copies of your prescriptions is also important. Of course, bring along important contact information such as the caretaker who will be looking after your summer home in your absence. Keep these documents with you until you reach your sunny destination and store there somewhere safe, as they’re not only important but a major nuisance to replace.

Have someone you trust check in on your home.

During your time away for the winter, you deserve peace of mind that your summer home – and its contents – are safe and secure in your absence. It’s a good idea to entrust a family member, neighbor or close friend with the task of checking in on your home periodically to make sure everything is okay (think: nothing out of place, no infestations or leaks, etc.) Be sure to leave them a key or your security code, and let them know how to best contact you – as well as who else to contact – if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Store Valuables in a secure storage unit

Many snow birds want to feel peace of mind that their belongings at their summer home are safe and secure while they are away for the winter (or longer!). If you are a snow bird eager for some peace of mind, consider placing belongings of great monetary or sentimental value, such as artwork, antiques, and other valuables, in storage while you’re gone. Storing valuables may also be of interest if you plan to rent out your home in your absence.

All Jersey Moving & Storage offers snow birds the ability to store furniture and other possessions at our New Jersey-based containerized storage facility for as long as needed. There are many benefits to containerized storage rather than self-storage. At All Jersey Moving & Storage, your furniture and valued items are sealed and secured in large wooden containers as well as blanket wrapped to keep them safe. Movement into and out of our storage facility is closely monitored to ensure the safety of each container stored with us, and you can purchase full insurance coverage for additional peace of mind. With stable rental fees and no move-in administration fees, the All Jersey Moving and Storage warehouse facility is a cost-effective, reliable choice.

Lockup and Shutoff your utilities

In order to enjoy the months you spend in the sun at your winter home, you need peace of mind that your summer home is safe and in good condition. Of course, it’s critical to ensure you lock up your home and turn on your alarm system. But don’t forget about your utilities! It’s a good idea to shut your water off so your pipes don’t freeze or burst, which can cause costly damage. It is also important to remember to turn down your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, such as 55 or 60 degrees, to keep your pipes from freezing. At these temperatures, your heating costs should still be relatively low.

Pack warm clothing.

Attention snowbirds! You may be fleeing the cold for warmer climates, but even the warmest climate has cool nights and bad weather occasionally. This is especially true if your winter home is proximate to the dessert. You probably don’t need a heavy-duty winter coat, but be sure to pack clothing that will allow you to layer up to keep warm when need be. This includes a light jacket, a rain coat, and a few sweaters. Be sure to pack appropriate footwear as well. In addition to sandals and walking shoes, be sure to bring shoes befitting the activities you’d like to do, such as a pair or two of dress shoes for dinners out and even hiking shoes to explore local paths. And remember – it never hurts to throw in a collapsible umbrella!

Find out what your rental includes

If you don’t own your winter home, be sure to find out what amenities are included in your rental. Whether you’re staying at a timeshare, Airbnb or somewhere else, always read descriptions closely and ask questions about anything that is unclear. If there are items that you use regularly that aren’t included, you may want to bring them along with you or – if they’re inexpensive – order them so you can enjoy them during your stay. This may include kitchen tools you use regularly or the French press you can’t live without. If you’re particular about towels or linens, you may choose to bring your own even if they’re included with your rental!

Learn the culture of your destination.

If you’re a new snow bird travelling to your winter destination for the first time, it’s important to do a little research to understand the culture of the area so that you can pack appropriately. Do people in the area dress more formally or casually? How do people dress when running errands or going shopping? Is formal dress wear expected at local restaurants? Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to be prepared with the clothing you need.

Pack sentimental items and personal favorites.

Possessions with sentimental value will help transform your snowbird home from cold and hotel-like to cozy, warm and welcoming. Consider packing along your favorite framed photos of loved ones, photo albums to place on your coffee table and even loose photos to hang on your fridge with magnets. You can also bring along trinkets and keepsakes from your travels or a stack of your favorite games and books. These small additions will help make your snowbird house feel more like home.

Remember to pack vitamins, medications and first aid basics.

If you take prescription medication, don’t forget to speak with your doctor about how to get your prescriptions filled while you’re away. Some medications can be shopped, but to fill other prescriptions you will need to establish a relationship with a local pharmacy. Be sure to arrange for your scripts to be sent to a local pharmacy, and bring enough of your medication to get you through your first month in your snowbird home. In addition to packing any necessary medications, be sure to bring along basic first aid supplies (think: Band-Aids, pain killers, antiseptics, etc.). You’ll appreciate having these things on hand should the need for them arise.

Don’t forget your tech!

Arriving at your sun-soaked snowbird home after a long journey only to discover you are missing a charger or adapter is frustrating. The last thing you want to do upon arrival is scramble to find a store to replace these items (and no one wants to spend money on pricy chargers or adapters they have back at home). Double check that you have packed all chargers, adapters and technology you will need during your time away before leaving your summer home.

Research what is available at your local shops.

Will you be disappointed if specialty items, such as a particular brand of tea or line of sauces or salad dressings, that you buy locally aren’t available near your winter home? If the answer is yes, then it’s important to be prepared. Spend time before you depart on your trip researching what shops are near your winter home and call to inquire if they carry your must-have items. If there some of the items you love aren’t available and are shelf stable or can be frozen for the trip, bring some extra along with you. If your preferred items are available, but are quite a distance from your winter home, be sure to stock up!

Determine if you need to register for a new driver’s license.

If you’re a first-time snow bird, you may not realize that some states require that you register for a driver’s license if you will be residing there for over a month. If you’re moving to a warmer state for the winter or even longer, give the DMV closest to your new home a call to learn if you are legally required to register for a new driver’s license. 

Use a professional moving company.

When you’re travelling to your snowbird home for a few months or more, you will likely have to pack more than just a few suitcases. For many people, the prospect of shipping cargo by mail is nerve wracking. If you don’t want to worry about shipping delays or your belongings being damaged in transit, consider hiring a professional moving company.

All Jersey Moving & Storage has helped countless snow birds move to their winter destination safely and efficiently. If you’re moving for the winter, you will appreciate the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your precious cargo is in the hands of a seasoned, trustworthy moving team. Whether you’re travelling to Miami, Scottsdale, LA or somewhere in between, we’re committed to ensuring a seamless move so you can focus on getting settled in your sunny winter home.

Are you moving south for the winter (or longer)?

Contact All Jersey Moving & Storage today for a complimentary estimate. We’re happy to answer any questions you might.

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