What to pack, store or leave behind is a huge issue when deciding to head South for the winter. We advise creating a list of essentials beforehand. However, many people often forget. So, we’ve provided one for you!


Bring All of Your Important Documents

Packing all of your important documents is essential in the case of an emergency or simply to help clear up any of those little life problems that can happen anywhere. Documents to bring include insurance policies (health, car, home, rental, and any other insurance you have), tax documents for preparing your tax return, and any medical history and list of pharmaceuticals you may use (see #2 below). It also means anything relating to your home and your home away from home, including leases and utility information.

Also, make sure you have your bank cards, checkbook and contact information for important people (e.g. your landlord, handyman, neighbors, doctor and dentist, emergency contact, etc.) in your winter location as well as back home. By scanning or taking photos of key documents, you can save some space and avoid ruining some of the most valuable papers in your life. Save them on a secure software program so you can access them with your digital devices wherever you are.

Be Proactive About Your Prescriptions

Prescriptions can get complicated when you travel. For example, if you have a prescription for Schedule II drugs, which generally include opioid painkillers, steroids or drugs that may cause dependence, it may be tough to get your prescription refilled out-of-state. Schedule III, IV, and V drugs, on the other hand, can often be filled at any pharmacy if your doctor faxes a prescription. If possible, consider coordinating the transfer of your pharmacy provider from up north to down south before you leave.

Paying is where things vary. If you have insurance through a national provider network, the answer to whether or not your coverage carries over to a different state is usually ‘yes.’ If you have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the answer is ‘probably.’ If you use Medicare, things get fuzzier and you may need supplemental insurance to be safe. AARP has a good checklist on out-of-state Medicare issues you should look over.

It’s easiest if you just discuss this with your pharmacist when packing and planning. If you can legally purchase a long-term supply of your prescription drugs before leaving, you can cross medicine off of your packing list and avoid living in fear that you may be without your meds.


Consider Your Hobbies

Whether you’ll be passing your time in the same ways you do at home or using your new location as an opportunity to try out different hobbies and entertainment options, figure out what supplies you’ll need to bring with you. It may be that equipment can be easily rented or bought where you’re heading. If not, you’ll have to pack your own. Think about whether you’ll want specific books, arts, craft supplies or kitchen gadgets as well.

This will also include items for the road like MP3 players, laptops, books, games, and puzzles. If you plan on reading a lot on the way or after arrival, you should consider adding a tablet or e-reader to your packing list. Amazon’s 8GB Kindle Fire, for example, can hold over 6,000 books, saving you a little room. Also, don’t forget any recreational items like fishing poles, hiking gear, golf clubs, sporting goods, exercise gear, and tennis or Pickleball racquets.


Don’t Forget Your Chargers

Phones, laptops, cameras, and the like are obviously important, but in the bustle of packing, don’t neglect the chargers, cords, and extra batteries that keep your electronics going. Yes, you can almost certainly buy replacements for these things, but it’s easier to avoid the inconvenience and costs by packing them in the first place.