Canada is a wonderful place to call home, but for some retirees, that's more true in the summers than the winters. If you love spending the warm months here but are looking to escape the cold and snow of winter, you might be ready for the life of a snowbird when you retire. 

There are many great locations to choose from when you go to pick a winter residency. Take your time researching the best home-away-from-home for you, and follow the right steps to plan for retirement to ensure you have a smooth and successful transition to the snowbird life. 

Finding the perfect location

Picking where you want to retire is a fun and exciting adventure to start! The first things you'll want to consider are your preferences for climate and location. Do you want a dry, desert heat like the state of Arizona? Or perhaps you'd fair better in a humid beach town on the Gulf of Mexico? According to The Great Canadian bucket list, tropical locations like Nicaragua and Panama are top choices as well. 

Once you decide on a general climate you want to settle in, think about what kind of amenities you want. Are you craving the hustle and bustle of a major city like Miami? Or would you fair better with the slower pace of a small town? Do you need a lot of restaurants and shops nearby, or is it more important that you're close to a great fishing spot? Consider how you want to spend your free time in your retirement and you can start narrowing down more specific areas.

Make a list of a few different towns or cities you want to consider, then peruse rental or real estate ads to start getting a sense of what's in your budget. If you'd like some extra guidance, look up a good local real estate agent who can help you secure your dream winter home. When you become a snowbird, you'll get the experience of being on a long vacation each year as you join your new part-time community and spend your retirement years following your favourite interests and pursuits at your leisure. 

Are you looking forward to spending the winters of your golden years in a warmer climate?Are you looking forward to spending the winters of your golden years in a warmer climate?

Getting the right coverage 

Before the colder months set in, you should get all the proper coverage and paperwork in place, making this the ideal time to start your plans for winter. When it comes to insurance, you'll have 60 days to set up a replacement plan to make sure you stay covered when you retire. Health care costs can add up quickly, especially as we get older, so it's important to ensure you have the support you need to cover your prescriptions, dental work and physical exams. Replacement plans can also included extended travel insurance to make sure you're protected when you're away from home for the winter. 

Your health insurance isn't the only thing you'll need to plan ahead for, however. The Canadian Snowbird Association advised that you should also exchange your currency, file paperwork for tax exemption in a foreign country and receive travel visas. Many of these processes take time to complete, so allow yourself some extra room to get everything done to keep things easy and simple for you.

With a little research and planning, you can ensure you have all the legal and medical coverage you need to get your retirement underway and start enjoying your warmer winters during your new seasonal adventure!