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Florida Snowbirding the Affordable Way

March 17th, 2014 at 01:35 pm

I just got back to Virginia from 2 months in Florida that only cost me $3967. That is $66 per blissful snow-free day, including 3000 miles of travel and staying at spacious lakeside homes equipped with everything I could have wanted. Even a bike and a rowboat! Here is how I made that happen.

I drove down from Virginia in my 1996 Dodge Dakota at an easy 250-mile-a-day pace, doing 2 Best Western motel nights each way. Booking those rooms 2 weeks ahead saved me 20%, so the 4 room nights cost me $316. For the 3000 miles of driving I did those 2 months, I spent a total of $513 on gasoline by always filling up at discount stations and using my 5% gasoline cashback ChaseCard.

I stayed one month each at 2 lakeside homes in North Central Florida. I had the run of fully equipped houses. Great big televisions and super sound systems to enjoy on rainy days. Decks over the water to lounge and enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Even a rowboat to explore the lake. By renting the houses by the month and booking one year ahead, my 60 days of housing in Florida cost me $3040 (about $50 a day) with all utilities, taxes and cleaning fees included. Thanks to fully equipped kitchens, I ate great just like I do at home so had no extra food costs for snowbirding (except for 3 times I ate out for a total of $49). And I spent $9 on odds and ends.

Aside from enjoying the snow-free weather, my main activity on sunny days was hiking the trails in Florida State Parks and Forests. I LOVE hiking (http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2013/12/23/my-love-af...). I did hikes on 32 of my 60 Florida days, covering and covering again 19 trails in 9 parks and forests. By buying a non-resident pass, this cost me just $40 in fees. When the weather was not so good, I watched marathons of cable movies and special shows. And I read.

All in all, I had an excellent time away from winter conditions. I did my regular work via the internet, I hiked my fanny off, I watched a lot of good movies and shows, and I read 2 great military history books. And I did not have to spend an arm and a leg to do it.

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