BOSTON (CBS) – The migration of the snowbirds has begun! Get on any highway in New England and you will see the RVs heading south.

I was working in Virginia this weekend and while driving on the highway I played a game of how many Massachusetts’ RV license plates I could find. In the span of an hour, I had counted 49.

I am truly in awe of the folks who can pack it up and leave for months at a time.

According to a University of Florida study, about 1 million snowbirds flock to Florida, staying five months on average. Massachusetts, New York, and Michigan have the largest numbers of snowbirds.

With the colder weather settling in it does sound appealing to be on the move heading south, and by south I mean further than Pennsylvania. Retirees often want the best weather months wherever they are.

When it’s snowing and blowing with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees in New England they want to be in somewhere where it’s a sunny and pleasant 75 degrees. When Arizona hits 120 degrees in the summer or Florida’s low temperature for the day is 95 they want to be on the Cape where it’s a pleasant 75 degrees. Can’t fault them there!

But to accomplish this you really need to do some serious planning. If you want to be a snowbird there truly is more to it than just forwarding your mail.

Where do you want your primary residence? Where will you spend more than 6 months? Arizona, Florida, Nevada or Massachusetts? Where do you want to vote? Register your car? Insure your car? Pay state income taxes? Do you want to pay state income taxes?

You can’t be a full time resident of two states. You will be a resident of one state and a visitor to the other. So do you buy a second home? Do you rent? Do you want to live in an RV full time?

Check out  and the Snowbird Helper for information on places to retire, senior housing, communities, state taxes, RVs for sale and much more.

Do you only want to leave New England during the worst of the winter? Maybe only January and February? Some snowbirds stick it out through the holidays and leave the first of the year to return in April for the Red Sox’s season. Others head out as soon as the first frost hits the pumpkins in October coming back when they can plant their geraniums outside.

There are so many decisions to make. I thought we’d spend the week sifting through this stuff.


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