Why some snowbirds are traveling south irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic and journey constraints

What do some birds, butterflies and whales have in frequent with tens of countless numbers of older Canadians? They all participate in an annual migration by heading south for the winter.



a chair sitting in front of a body of water: The coronavirus pandemic has affected travel, but the decision to fly south for the winter isn't a simple one.


© (Shutterstock)
The coronavirus pandemic has affected vacation, but the final decision to fly south for the winter season just isn’t a simple 1.

Whilst we never have techniques in spot to know specifically how lots of Canadian snowbirds there are, a modern report from Statistics Canada indicates that at least 375,000 generally go to the United States and Mexico each year, not counting other popular destinations. The phrase “typically” right here is essential, although, for the reason that there is very little common about travelling south in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a typical 12 months, we’d assume snowbirds to be organizing potlucks and participating in pickleball tournaments. As of past spring — when COVID-19 commenced to distribute in popular locations and pandemic steps ended up rolled out — we observed this yearly migration being framed in a pretty diverse way.

Concern emerged that snowbirds who had not returned property prior to border closures would no for a longer time be coated by journey well being insurance policy insurance policies. We figured out of tense journeys again to Canada and mounting tensions as snowbirds stocked up on materials soon after arriving property with orders to self-isolate.

Abruptly snowbirds have been not just our mother and father, grandparents, community associates and pals. They were people participating in a risky apply.

Warm climates, cold shoulders

Latest months have observed sufficient public focus currently being presented to snowbirds once again. Some older Canadians have made a decision to go south irrespective of the ongoing pandemic and whilst various travel limitations continue being in location. Snowbirds are finding vaccinated in Florida, leaving some anxious about fairness as Canadians acquire vaccines just before Floridians.

Canadian snowbirds have voiced problem about the new requirement for COVID-19 tests upon return to Canada and complained the connected fees ended up unfair. And maybe most about, stories of some snowbirds facing serious clinical payments adhering to COVID-19 treatment even though overseas are now rising.

Lots of individuals are surely left wanting to know why any Canadians would actually go south this wintertime. For the previous many yrs, we have been investigating overall health-treatment access and wellness management amongst Canadian snowbirds who winter in Florida and Arizona.

Careful final decision-generating

We have invested time in snowbird communities talking with Canadians, touring hospitals and clinics and speaking to wellness-care providers, and observing neighborhood gatherings. We have some insights to supply that assist describe why some snowbirds have opted to go abroad this wintertime — but, to be very clear, by sharing them we are not endorsing this kind of travel.

To start with, there are lots of aspects that prompt people today to take into consideration turning out to be retirement migrants. The warm, sunny weather in well-liked destinations possible comes to head to start with. Several individuals are also drawn to the social networks identified in snowbird communities.

One thing that folks may possibly be fewer knowledgeable of is that for some snowbirds, relocating for the winter season is far more cost-effective than staying home. Not all snowbirds reside in mansions or have yachts. For some, likely south in an RV or leasing a seasonal condominium is a price-preserving system. This budgetary or monetary draw is not likely to be improved for some, even with the pandemic and solid requests for Canadians to prevent travel.



a train that is lit up at night: Paul Funston and Mary Lou Baldwin pose for a photo with their trailer in Fort Langley, B.C., on Dec. 18, 2020. The duo would normally spend the winter south of the border, but with the Canada-U.S border closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are spending it at a campground in southern B.C.


© (THE CANADIAN Push/Marissa Tiel)
Paul Funston and Mary Lou Baldwin pose for a picture with their trailer in Fort Langley, B.C., on Dec. 18, 2020. The duo would usually devote the winter south of the border, but with the Canada-U.S border closed because of to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are paying it at a campground in southern B.C.

2nd, many snowbirds perspective going south for the winter as a approach for advertising and marketing wellness. Leisure options, even if carried out in isolation to regard latest community well being orders (e.g., heading for a walk), are plentiful. Many snowbirds also report enhanced wellbeing when away, these types of as minimized arthritis symptoms. Some older Canadians have opted to go south this winter season because they see the health and fitness positive aspects of performing so as outweighing the health risks of creating COVID-19 although away from home.

Third, navigating dangers as they relate to health and fitness is nothing at all new for snowbirds. Even though the pandemic has launched new threats and heightened others, snowbirds make conclusions every year about travelling that entail well being variables.

This consists of earning decisions about obtaining journey health and fitness coverage, irrespective of whether to access care whilst abroad or return property in the function of a clinical unexpected emergency, and how and wherever to get prescription refills. Some go as much as to invest in air ambulance policies so that they can return household if their wellness worsens, whilst others choose to make no distinct health and fitness preparations at all.

Some snowbirds likely watch COVID-19 and the pandemic as contingencies that can be planned for.

Just one thing we know for certain is that some Canadian snowbirds have opted to go south for the wintertime. Shifting ahead, we will need to contemplate what this signifies for their return residence. This features preparing for how to get these who ended up vaccinated abroad into national registries and making tips tailor-made to snowbirds with regards to quarantine on return household. It is not as well early to commence this organizing — quickly ample their return migration will begin.

This report is republished from The Discussion beneath a Artistic Commons license. Read through the initial write-up.

Valorie A. Crooks gets funding from the Canada Investigate Chairs Secretariat, the Canadian Institutes of Wellbeing Exploration, and the Michael Smith Basis for Wellbeing Analysis. Her mom and dad are snowbirds (even though, not this year).

Jeremy Snyder does not operate for, seek advice from, very own shares in or acquire funding from any organization or organisation that would profit from this report, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations over and above their tutorial appointment.