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Planning to spend the winter in the sunbelt? If you're thinking about going south in your RV when the snow starts to fly, you need to do a little advance planning.

A snowbird trip may last anywhere from a few weeks to six months and problems on the road are just not fun. Generally, 41 percent of winter visiotors spend eight weeks or more each year away from home and nearly 30 percent least 12 weeks. The last thing you need is trouble on your trip to cut into your destination time.

If you know the park you are headed for, advance reservation are a good idea. The RV snowbird population is growing faster than new parks are being built. Add to that the most recent trend that the number of younger RV goers is increasing quickly.The good life is not reserved for those 55 and older. Many snowbirds rejoice with the trend as it brings a new life and vitality to many RV parks and destinations.

Check the age of your tires. How old is too old? As a rule of thumb, the average life of an RV tire is six years. Factors such as load, the tire’s inflation, sun damage, ozone pollutants, your driving speeds, and frequency of use are just a few of the causes that age a tire. In most cases, motorhome tires need to be replaced because of age rather than wear.

The “birthdate” of each tire is molded into its sidewall. Find a string of characters that begins with “DOT.” The last four digits indicate the tire’s date of manufacture. The first two digits indicate the number of the week, starting with week “01” in January and ending with week “52” in December. The last two digits represent the year.

Does your RV engine need a tune-up? A tune-up will save you fuel. Belts and hoses should be checked and replaced if old or cracked. It could save you a breakdown along the road. Replace old windshield wipers in case you run into rain or snow.

Check all your lights. A burnt out tail-light can cost you a ticket, and it is also a safety factor. If your pulling a vehicle or trailer, make sure the connection is tight and will not separate as you drive down the road.

Know your motorhome or trailer weight. A motorhome’s weight, cargo distribution, and tires all play a role in your well-being while on the road. Make sure the vehicle you use to pull a trailer is sized to the trailer.

Recent data indicates that 51% of RVs exceed one or more safety ratings. Exceeding Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and/or Gross Axle Weight Rating can lead to suspension failures, handling problems, difficulty stopping, and tire failures.

Make plans for homesitting. Find a business or trusted friend to to provide qualified home sitting. Some somebirds want their home occupied and cared for during their absence. Others just want it checked on once in awhile.

Check your medical coverage. You need to read how your insurance coverage will pay, and for what, and most importantly where. Some policies are very restrictive on where you can receive assistance.

DO NOT select your park by price alone. Be aware of nearby construction and traffic noise that reduce you livability enjoyment. Take a hard look at the services offered, and if their are any hidden costs. I have heard that many parks really hike the cost of electricty as one of their best profit zones.

Plan to slow down and smell the roses. The trip to and from your primary destination should as much fun as the time you spend where your going. Try going a different route as often as you can, it is time to see some new country. There are many festivals, parks, attractions and resturants to check out along the way.

Snowbirds are pretty special people and most cannot wait to get on the road again. At the first tinge of fall, many have their roadmaps out and are planning a new adventure.

After they have been south for awhile snowbirds start to check the weather forecast up north and slowly develop an itch to go back. I guess that is what snowbird migration is all about.

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