How Canada Travel Restrictions Are Affecting Snowbirds (And What They’re Doing To Help)
Snowbirds are RVers who live in Canada and the Northern United States during the warm summer months, and like many birds, travel south for the winter. They migrate to places all around the Gulf Coast and western desert regions of the United States. Some of them have houses in one location and take their RV to the other. Many also live in their RV full-time.
Many seasonal campgrounds in Canada close up shop in the winter. Their sewer, water, and other park systems are not equipped to function throughout the freezing temperatures of winter. Most years, the vast majority of these seasonal travelers have headed across the border by the time the parks have to shut the water off. This is not most years, and due to the current Canada travel restrictions that closed the border between Canada and the U.S. to non-essential travel, many RVers are stuck.
A solution being discussed is the possible opening of the border, allowing Canadians to travel to the U.S. but not from the U.S. to Canada. However, even if the border issue gets sorted, many snowbirds are wary about traveling to the U.S., where COVID rates are higher than Canada’s. There are estimates of 50,000 – 200,000 snowbirds who may have to deal with the harsh Canadian winter in their RVs.
For some RVers, winter RVing can be fun, but RVs are not necessarily made for freezing weather. For underprepared RVers or those sensitive to extreme cold for health reasons, wintering in Canada could be difficult to downright dangerous. Especially with a lack of basic necessities like sewer and water hookups.
Canada’s largest daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, spoke with Shane Devenish, executive director of the Canadian Camping and RV Council. Devenish said that he worries about RVers resorting to unsafe methods to keep their RV warm. Some could resort to too many floor heaters, which could create a fire hazard. Some may even try to set up open fires in their RV to fight the cold.
To help, the CCRVC is working with the Hotel Association of Canada to provide discounted accommodations to RVers. Devenish said,
“It helps them out too because their hotel rooms generally are probably going to stay empty (due to the pandemic). So they’re very receptive to helping us out because it’s a win-win.”
Visit the Hotel Discount Program for Canadian Snowbirds page on CCRVC’s site for more information and participating hotels. Check out our previous article here for more information on the current Canada travel restrictions affecting RVers.