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What Do Snowbirds Do For A Car?

Snowbirds, or seasonal residents who head south for the winter months, face the unique challenge of transportation when making their annual migrations. In this article, we dive into the various options snowbirds consider for reliable transportation during their trips south and back, as well as year-round storage solutions Shipping Auto.

Selling Their Primary Vehicle

One option some snowbirds choose is to sell their primary vehicle before heading south for the winter. This can help avoid maintaining two vehicles throughout the year. Some key considerations for this option include:

  • Timing the sale to coincide with the trip south, so as not to be without transportation
  • Getting a fair price in the sale, which may be tougher at certain times of the year
  • Relying on rental cars or other transit during trips back north

Selling can help reduce costs but requires more planning and flexibility with alternative transportation arrangements for return trips. It’s not the ideal choice for snowbirds who take frequent trips between their two homes.

Leaving Their Vehicle At Home

Another option is to leave their primary vehicle at their northern residence while away for winter. However, this raises issues around:

  • Paying for long-term parking/storage
  • Deterioration from sitting idle for months
  • Potential vandalism/theft risks
  • Difficulty accessing the vehicle for short return trips

Insuring a vehicle that sits unused for extended periods may also be more expensive or cause coverage issues. Professional indoor vehicle storage can help but adds to costs. Periodic short drives may be needed to keep things in working order as well. Overall, leaving a vehicle places it at greater risk of damage over the winter months Shipping Auto.

Towing/Driving Their Vehicle South

Many snowbirds choose to tow their primary vehicle south with them for maximum flexibility. Here are some factors to consider with this option:

  • Rental/purchase of an appropriate tow vehicle capable of handling the load
  • Ensuring vehicles are road-ready for extended highway trips
  • Factoring in increased fuel costs of towing
  • Rental/purchase of towing equipment like hitches, brake controllers, etc
  • Obeying state laws around towing limits, overweight permits, etc
  • Fatigue risks from long-distance towing trips

Proper towing preparation is essential to tow safely over long distances. Renting a larger tow vehicle may be preferable to overloading an existing vehicle. Arriving with reliable transportation gives snowbirds independence once at their southern destination Shipping Auto.

Shipping/Transporting Their Vehicle

For snowbirds without towing capability or willingness, professional vehicle transport services could ship their vehicle south ahead of them or bring it back north in the spring. Here are some factors regarding this choice:

  • Costs of open or enclosed transport depending on vehicle value
  • Scheduling pickup/drop-off logistics with transport companies
  • Potential for transport damage risks needing insurance
  • Inability to access the vehicle during transit periods
  • Storage fees if vehicle isn’t transported direct to final location

Transport takes the stress out of driving or towing long distances but comes at a higher price tag and loss of direct vehicular access during transit windows. Quality carriers help mitigate risks.

Renting Vehicles Seasonally

Rather than the hassles of owning two vehicles year-round or transporting one, renting makes sense for some snowbirds’ seasonal needs. Major considerations involve:

  • Cost-efficiency of long-term rental rates for multiple months
  • Vehicle availability during high-season snowbird periods
  • Qualifying for rental perks or discounts through memberships
  • Optional rental insurance for peace of mind protection
  • Access to vehicle for occasional return trips north if needed

Renting eliminates ownership costs and responsibilities but long-term rates need to be competitive for it to be a worthwhile choice long-term. Reserved early-bird deals can help lock in good prices.

Buying/Registering A Second “Winter” Vehicle

The cleanest solution is maintaining two vehicles – one for each residence. However, this doubles costs significantly, from:

For snowbirds with ample means, a second vehicle streamlines transportation hassles without compromise. But it’s an expensive long-term commitment not feasible for all snowbird budgets.

Hybrid And Flexible Options

Creative snowbirds piece together hybrid solutions, like:

  • Towing one vehicle south while trucking/shipping the other back north.
  • Owning one vehicle and relying on rentals for additional mobility needs.
  • Storing one vehicle professionally for part of the year to avoid extended downtime risks.
  • Selling primary vehicle after a few years of snowbirding to offset dual-vehicle costs.

With enough advance planning, snowbirds can develop tailored transportation plans factoring in their specific transportation patterns, budgets, and risk tolerance for each leg of their annual migrations.

Year-Round Vehicle Storage Options

For snowbirds who don’t drive their vehicle seasonally, affordable long-term storage becomes a priority concern. Options include:

  • Outdoor open storage at commercial lots – cheapest but exposes the car to elements
  • Indoor commercial storage in temperature-controlled barns – more protection but also costs
  • At-home garages or carports – most convenient but spaces may fill up
  • Rented lockers or bays at self-storage facilities – inexpensive indoor option
  • Storage shipping containers – mobile and secure indoor storage on wheels

Condition of the stored vehicle, length of downtime, and local climate/theft risks all factor into the best storage solution for value versus protection for snowbirds’ second vehicle during their absences. Professional indoor solutions provide maximum prevention against seasonal damage.

Shipping Auto – Making The Best Choice

For snowbirds, selecting the ideal vehicle strategy requires weighing factors like budgets, transportation needs, and risk tolerance for each aspect of ownership. While buying a second car delivers ultimate convenience, hybrid or flexible seasonal rentals/storage plans can achieve transportation goals at lower long-term costs. With advance research and contingency backups, snowbirds can craft affordable vehicular solutions for their annual migrations where driving independence remains a top priority.