So, You Want To Be A RV Snowbird…

There’s a lot to do and see on Vancouver Island during the winter, but for those who crave warm weather all year round, RV living makes it possible to drive south to spend the season in the sun. RV Snowbirds from Vancouver Island tend to make the journey down to California. The long drive is worth it, considering how much you save on flights and hotels or real-estate once you arrive. Plus, going by RV gives you the freedom to explore the Sunshine State like never before. 

Best locations for RV snowbirds

RV snowbirds have many locations to choose from in California! Deciding where to camp depends on what you’re hoping to see and do. Are you interested in basking in hot springs and staying in a warm, dry climate? Consider an RV park in the state’s desert areas. Are you hoping to catch a wave or get tanned on the sand? Thankfully, there are plenty of coastal RV resorts to choose from!

Picking a location also depends on your budget. Many luxury resorts around Palm Springs, for instance, come with amenities like pools, tennis courts and golf courses which can turn your trip into a months-long extravagant vacation. Those looking for a budget-friendly resort with essential amenities will also be spoiled for choice.

The Destiny McIntyre RV Resort is a popular and affordable place where you can explore the dunes and enjoy water sports without breaking the bank. Another great spot is the Country Life RV Park, which provides campers with free electricity, a swimming pool and many communal spaces for a monthly fee of less than $500!

What to know before you set off

While snowbirding comes with a lot of perks, there are some factors that RVers should be aware of before making their first trip. For instance, Canadians can only spend a certain number of days in the US before they’re obliged to pay taxes. This is known as the Substantial Presence Test. Failing to abide by this law can result in steep penalties that could have been easily avoided. Snowbirds must also make sure they have medical insurance for the duration of their stay. 

BC-based RVers must spend at least six months of the year in the province to maintain their health coverage. You should also get travel insurance, as medical treatment in the US tends to be very expensive.

Tips for first-time snowbirds

  1. Be sure to switch to paperless billing before you set off. Not only is this more convenient, but it’s also safer since no one else will have access to your bills while you’re away.
  2. Don’t go all-in on your first trip. You might be excited to spend several months on the road, but don’t overcommit! Treat your first trip as an opportunity to explore and gain valuable experience that will come in handy next time.
  3. Make friends! Contact your local RV network or reach out to RVers in the location you’re travelling to beforehand. Seasoned campers will have helpful tips and might even be willing to show you around! It’s also a great chance to socialize and become a part of a unique community of fellow travelers.
  4. Create an itinerary. Planning your weekly activities (or at least learning what your options are) well in advance will help you get the most out of this experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re camping for two weeks or two months. Having a clear plan will ensure that you’re never bored.
  5. Pack light. Warm temperatures down south mean you can keep your clothing to a minimum. This should also apply to the rest of your belongings. If you intend to camp for an extended period, you will eventually purchase groceries and other essential items at shops near you. Unless you’re planning to stay in a secluded location, there’s no need to weigh down your RV with extra supplies that you can find at your destination.     

Getting your RV ready

Your RV must be in top shape before your trip. Long periods on the road can take a toll on your unit if it isn’t serviced beforehand. For this reason, it’s best to take your RV to a dealer with expert knowledge and first-hand experience. A reputable dealer like Big Boys Toys RV will also advise you on how to take care of your RV on the road and suggest useful accessories for your trip.


We’re proud to be a local, family-owned RV dealership in beautiful Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island. An award-winning RV dealership, we have one of the most extensive RV facilities on the island, with a dedicated team ready to serve you. Contact us today.

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