RV Snowbirding: 10 Tips for Driving South This Winter

From fuel discounts to safety protocols to being comfortable, I share my best RV snowbirding tips for the drive South plus helpful resources

Are you preparing to drive south for the winter? Here are RV snowbirding tips to help you get there safely.

Like birds, RVers across northern North America prepare to head south for the winter. These snowbirds leave their northern homes for a few weeks or the entire winter to escape the cold winter months for a warmer climate. 

If you’re joining the flock this year, I have some helpful snowbirding tips for the drive down. And some of these tips can help experienced snowbirds as well!

From fuel discounts to safety protocols to being comfortable, I share my best tips for a snowbird road trip plus helpful resources.

I have lots of articles on the RV snowbird lifestyle including the most popular snowbird destinations and other great places to stay. But in this article, I’ll cover the most important things to consider for your drive down.

The following RV travel tips will help during all road trips but especially during the snowbird season. Since you’re heading out for long periods of time you want to make sure you’re prepared and comfortable.

Carefully inspect your tires and check air pressure EVERY travel day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Carefully inspect your tires

Before setting off on your winter adventure, it’s crucial to inspect your RV tires. Better yet, take them to a trusted tire shop because the back of the tires is difficult to properly inspect at home.

Cold temperatures can affect tire pressure so make sure they are properly inflated. Additionally, check for any signs of wear and tear or damage.

Don’t forget to pack a spare tire, a tire pressure gauge, and a portable air compressor.

I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to read the following articles as they can save you from ending up on the side of the road or even save your life:

Make your RV comfy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Get comfy accessories for the road trip

Long drives can take a toll on your comfort. Making your RV as cozy as possible for the driver and passengers is essential. Invest in soft pillows, warm blankets, and supportive seat cushions.

I suggest reading How to Stay Safe When RVing. And for nervous passengers, I recommend reading RV Driving Tips: 20 Ways to Stay Safe and Calm.

3. Prep your roadside emergency kit

No matter how cautious you are, emergencies can happen. Prepare a roadside emergency kit containing essential items like a first aid kit, jumper cables, flashlight, extra batteries, roadside flares, and a basic toolkit.

It’s also a good idea to have spare fuses, a tire pressure gauge, and a portable jump starter. Be prepared and feel confident on the road.

In addition to a roadside emergency kit, I recommend carrying RV roadside assistance coverage. Here are some helpful resources:

Make sure your insurance is in order © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Make sure your RV insurance is in order

Before heading south, double-check your RV insurance coverage. Ensure that your policy includes comprehensive coverage for both accidents and natural disasters related to your destination.

Confirm that your policy extends to the full duration of your trip and that you have coverage for any additional drivers.

5. Make sure your health insurance and prescriptions are in order

Your health is of utmost importance and you don’t want to wait until something goes wrong or your prescriptions run out to find a solution. The farther you get from your doctor and pharmacy the trickier things can become—unless you’re prepared!

I have a helpful resource regarding managing your healthcare while traveling:

Stop for roadside attractions © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Follow the 330 Rule

The 330 Rule is you stop when you have driven 330 miles or its 3:30 in the afternoon. The idea is to get somewhere while it is still early enough to explore, chill, and enjoy the place when you’re not exhausted from driving miles upon miles. 

You can learn more about the many benefits of the 330 Rule by clicking here.

7. Have podcasts or audiobooks queued up

Long stretches of road can get monotonous and lead to drowsiness or irritability. To make the journey more enjoyable have a collection of your favorite podcasts or audiobooks ready to keep you entertained.

You can learn something new or dive into exciting stories while cruising down the highway making the hours fly by.

Museum of Appalachia, Clinton, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Embrace serendipity travel

While planning your route is important don’t be afraid to embrace the spontaneous side of RV travel. Allow yourself the flexibility to deviate from the itinerary and explore unexpected attractions or beautiful camping spots along the way.

Serendipity travel can lead to unforgettable experiences and hidden gems you might have missed otherwise.

You can see some of the amazing places and experiences we’ve enjoyed because of serendipity:

9. Use fuel discounts

Whether your RV runs on diesel or gas, fuel costs are a big part of your travel budget. RV fuel discount cards and programs help you stretch those dollars farther.

The benefits range from discounted gas prices to multiple ways to save at specific locations. Plan your fuel stops accordingly to take advantage of these discounts helping you save money while enjoying your snowbird journey.

Here’s a great article on How to Save on Gas and Diesel: RV Fuel Discount Cards and More RV (for gas and diesel!).

Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Get a reciprocal membership

RVers can SAVE BIG with reciprocal memberships that give you free or discounted access to a network of museums, zoos, and more.

A reciprocal membership program is a collaboration between cultural institutions that extends benefits to members of participating institutions. If you have a reciprocal membership with one museum you’ll get benefits from all other museums in that network. 

Benefits may include free or discounted admission, merchandise discounts, special newsletters, and other great deals. It’s a great way to save while doing fun things along your drive. Learn more by reading Plan an RV Trip to a Museum: How to Save with Reciprocal Memberships.

Safe travels!

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, Snowbird:

Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow

Tips for Handling Health Care on the Road

If you are to plan to be an RV fulltimer, a snowbird, or frequent traveler, you need to figure out a way to handle health care on the road

Many people wonder how to handle medical needs while traveling via RV. The truth of the matter is the answer to this depends on how often you travel as well as your current health situation. 

For instance, if you travel full-time in your RV you will need to do a lot more to prepare for medical care on the road than you would if you were only planning to travel for a week or two. Meanwhile, those traveling for several months will need to make more preparations than the casual vacationer but may make some different decisions than the full-time RVer. 

No matter what your situation is I have some advice for you. Below are seven tips for being medically prepared on an RV trip.

Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 1: Use a centralized provider that has all your health records

The advantage of using a national hospital system like Mayo or affiliation of local hospitals is having your records centralized making your health care more accessible and accurate. Mayo is routinely rated one of the world’s best diagnostic and research centers.

There are three Mayo Clinics—Rochester, Minnesota, Phoenix, Arizona, and Jacksonville, Florida.

All medical tests, prescriptions, physical exams, and treatment plans can be coordinated through their system.

Daytona Beach, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Embrace electronic medical records

Pretty much every hospital and the vast majority of doctors now use electronic medical records. Get familiar with the online patient portals so you can schedule appointments, do telemedicine consultations, and quickly access your health care records which you can then share with health professionals as you travel.

Having all those records instantly available saves time. It allows other health care professionals who you may be seeing to quickly determine baselines for your health and be much more confident in how they treat you.

Your records mean you are not a stranger. 

You can access them via computer, smartphone, or tablet from anywhere. 

Twin Falls, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 3: Just in case, carry a hard copy

Patient portals are wonderful. But sometimes, it’s just easier to look at a sheet of paper. So print out and carry with you your latest medical tests.

In case you need to quickly answer a question about previous tests or diagnoses while you’re making an appointment or talking to a health professional on the phone, it’s simply easier and more efficient to look at a print out then boot up a computer or fumble around to open an app on the smartphone.

Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 4: Use a national pharmacy chain for prescriptions

Get your prescriptions with national pharmacy chain like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. That way you can pick up refills from outlets of those chain pharmacies in pretty much whatever state or city you visit.

This doesn’t go for controlled substance prescriptions from one state being refilled in another. 

And there are way too many complications and red tape issues involved in having Canadians getting a prescription written by a Canadian doctor refilled in the U.S. (and vice versa).

But in general, having your regular, non-controlled substance prescriptions filled at a national chain will usually get you a refill on the road.

Midway, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Buy your meds in bulk

Get your prescriptions in 90-day quantities. That way you won’t run out of an important medicine while traveling. 

Getting your drugs in 90-day refills means you’re buying your meds in bulk—just like when you buy stapes at Costco or Sams Club instead of at your local grocery store. It saves you money.

We’re talking regular medications you are pretty much on all the time, taken consistently at the same dose that typically treat chronic conditions.

The big reason to get them written for 90-day refills is that instead of having to get refills 12 times a year with the standard 30-day supply, you only have to deal with getting a refill four times a year.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 6: Drink lots of water

Drink water all day long. You know this. But you need to be reminded. 

Long hours driving and sitting in an RV can really dehydrate you. But there are many other reasons.

Water flushes toxins out of your system. It helps prevent the buildup of minerals that can cause kidney stones. Water increases energy and relieves fatigue. It maintains regularity. It promotes weight loss. Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus, and concentrate better and be more alert. It improves your skin complexion.

If you tend to get leg cramps, you may not be drinking enough water.

I could go on. But I won’t, sip water all day long.

Francis Beider Forest, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 7: Take more time to relax

Practice downtime, and chill out regularly, every day for as long as you can. You will feel your soul drench this up. Find a quiet place, a favorite place like the mountains or a beach, or a forest. And just sit and look. Listen to nature. Clear your mind. Appreciate God’s creation. Breathe deeply. 

A good way to do this is to practice the 330 Rule: Don’t drive more than 330 miles a day or stop by 3:30 p.m. local time. That way you’ll get off the road, set up camp, and have time to explore the lay of the land. Or relax and soak up the the scenery.

You are RVing because you want to decompress, right? So do it. Don’t overdrive and chill out.

Peace. That’s just one of the things I’ve learned along the way. Here are some other things that I’ll pass along for you to remember:

  • Emergencies can and will happen but they can be handled
  • Take things a step at a time, count setbacks as part of the serendipitous nature of life
  • Stuff happens; you deal with it
  • Help is never that far away
  • Life is an adventure
  • There’s something to be learned and appreciated from every experience
  • Worrying about what might happen is a useless waste of time

Worth Pondering…

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.

—Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher (4 BC-AD 65)