As the cold season recedes and spring approaches, snowbirds who spent their winter across the Sun Belt begin planning their trip back home. Their stint in the sun has drawn to another season’s end, and some folks find this to be a somewhat sad time. Another winter holiday’s memories soon to be replaced with the reality of the snowbird return trip home and the resumption of life back in the stick-and-brick domicile.
Perks of the Return Trip
But the road back doesn’t have to be a bummer. Shake off those return-trip blues! Your vacation hasn’t ended. In fact, the return trip can be an exciting portion of your snowbird migration. This should not be a “pedal-to-the-metal” race to reach home. Instead, this can be a traveling journey through the byways and scenic territory with planned stops at sites and locations that interest you. Avoiding the interstates and favoring the less-traveled routes can be a far less stressful drive and may also reduce fuel consumption.
So, to turn that mundane return home drive and get the most out of your trek north, you will need to do a little planning.
Make Time for Returning
First, allow lots of time for your trip, even if that means departing a little earlier if your arrival home is required by a set date. Study all the alternative routes that would get you to your home port. Some, or perhaps all, maybe a longer mileage run, but that extra distance might even seem shorter; time passes quicker when your journey takes you through new and interesting terrain.
Flipping the Snowbird Script
Although your return trip may not be on the same route, your preparation will involve many of the same steps you took on your way down. As always, find RV parks on Good Sam’s Find RV Parks & Campgrounds page, with information on more than 12,000 North American RV parks. Enter the state and city you’re passing through, and the search results will give you the park’s name as well as Good Sam’s handy three-number rating. Check the park’s Good Sam rating, and read user reviews, which are found with each park’s listing.
Don’t drive into new territory without knowing the way. Good Sam’s Exclusive Trip Planner maps itineraries and displays locations of Good Sam Parks, Camping World RV & Outdoors locations and Pilot Flying J travel plazas and more.
You also can find a snowbird roost in your device. Download the Good Sam Camping app on your Android or Apple iOS phone or tablet and look RV parks nearby, by city or by state or province. You can filter detailed results by park features, distance and ratings. Get directions from your current location.
Safety on the Road
As you travel into new territory, safeguard your phones and computers from hacking. You’ll be traveling across long distances and might come into circumstances that require you to use public Wi-Fi. If this is the situation, try to avoid doing any banking or bill paying on a public service. Consider using a VPN (a virtual private network), which encrypts your data and scrambles your location. Stay away from website URLs that start with “http” and visit only sites that start with “https” (like this one). The “s” means “security.”
Our Snowbird Side Trip
We’ve enjoyed a number of fun routes during our trips back to British Columbia. While some of the most scenic routes can be found along the coastline, up through the mountains, or traversing the beautiful state and national parks, large urban areas can also be worth the time. We’ve made many byway-type trips over the years. On three occasions returning from Florida to the Pacific coast of Canada, we have experienced traveling on not-so-popular routes. We once skirted the Mexican border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego, California.
During the Texas portion, I side-tripped north to a city I never miss I am in the area: San Antonio. Here, we stay for a day or two and enjoy touring the famous River Walk (Aka: Paseo del Rio) with its fifteen miles of winding waterways, with restaurants and shops, all below the downtown city center of San Antonio. You can stroll the paths or make like a Venetian and catch a tour boat. All followed by a leisurely meal at one of the many unique riverside eateries or fine-dining venues. Even the famous Alamo site is just up the stairs at one of the many thoroughfares that branch away from the river. So don’t avoid any larger cities that may lay slightly off your byway trek, as many can offer some very one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences.
Make sure you book a stay at San Antonio Good Sam Parks.
Well, eventually you will arrive home. While the unloading and getting the house back online are not the most pleasant tasks, some nice surprises may be enjoyed once you are settled. This is not anything new, but is really a renewed appreciation of what was always there.
Wow, spacious living quarters! A kitchen that provides tons of counter space, storage and super-sized appliances. Although you never had that feeling that the RV was tight for living space, the return trip home just seems so much larger and spacious. Your home television screen seems bigger than life. There is generally a renewed appreciation of your stick home and what it has to offer.
Take Your Best Trip
Changing your return trip home after the winter season to a unique traveling vacation in lieu of the tedious homeward drive can be very rewarding. It can constitute a separate exciting holiday with many new things to see and do. In addition, a much less stressful trip will result from the quieter, lighter traffic roads and byways.
While the return trip from your snowbird southern roost happens at the end of the season, the planning does not have to. You can start working on next year’s journey any time you wish.
Peter Mercer – Eyeing Your Next Mini-Vacation