Florida has become a popular destination for snowbirds escaping the cold northern winters. If you’re one of the lucky people heading to the Sunshine State this year, it’s important to secure the right accommodation for your stay. But with so many options to choose from, how do you find the perfect place to call home for a few months?
Follow these tips to simplify your search and find the perfect Florida vacation rental.
Understand the advantages of renting versus owning a property in Florida as a snowbird
Since Florida is a popular destination for Canadians looking to escape the cold winters, there are many options for accommodation. Some snowbirds find that renting a property offers a number of advantages.
One advantage of renting a property in Florida as a snowbird is that you will have more flexibility in your housing situation. You can easily try out different areas of the state to see which one you like best before making a longer-term commitment.
Additionally, renting generally requires less of a financial investment than purchasing a property outright while minimizing the hassle of maintenance and repairs.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to renting, such as not being able to personalize your space or having to deal with landlords. But for Canadians who are looking for a hassle-free way to enjoy the Florida sunshine, renting can be a great option.
Determine your budget for a Florida vacation rental
One of the first things you need to do when planning any vacation is figuring out how much you're willing to spend. The same is true when looking for a snowbird rental.
Estimate your monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, and entertainment, and use that number as your starting point. You can always adjust your budget up or down based on the amenities and location of your dream rental, but it's important to have a solid starting point before beginning your search.
Many different types of accommodations are available, from condos and luxury villas to cottages and apartments. You'll need to decide how much you're willing to spend on rent each month. Remember that prices will vary depending on the time of year and the rental location.
Finding a Florida vacation rental: Location, location, location!
Another important factor to consider when choosing a snowbird vacation rental in Florida is its location. Do you want to be in the heart of all the action, or would you prefer a more relaxed setting further away from all the hustle and bustle?
The convenience of nearby amenities should not be overlooked when searching for a snowbird rental. Is there an accessible airport? Are there restaurants and shops in the area? What about entertainment options? You'll want to ensure you have everything you need during your stay. Consider what type of activities you plan on doing during your stay and choose a location that will put you closest to them.
So, where should you spend your winter getaway when there are so many great places to choose from?
Here are four of the best options for Canadian snowbirds.
Florida’s Eastern Coast
With its warm temperatures and sandy beaches, the eastern coast of Florida is a popular destination for snowbirds looking to escape the cold. Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Melbourne are just some of the cities in the state where you can find a wide variety of attractions. There are also many great courses along the east coast for those who love golf.
Florida’s West Coast
The west coast of Florida is home to some of the state's most popular attractions, like Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. With its slightly milder temperatures than Eastern Florida, it's an excellent option for snowbirds. Cities like Tampa, Fort Myers, Dunedin, Bradenton, Treasure Island, and St. Petersburg are great places to explore.
Central Florida is home to many of the state's larger cities, including Orlando, The Villages, Kissimmee, and Lakeland. It's also a well-liked option for snowbirds looking for a convenient place to stay because of its proximity to all the major attractions, including Disney World and Universal Studios. Plus, the central region tends to be a bit cooler than other parts of the state, making it ideal for those who don't want to deal with the heat.
For snowbirds who want to get away from it all, northwestern Florida is a perfect choice. This quiet region is home to cities like Destin, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Pensacola, and it offers a more laid-back vibe than other parts of the state. It's easy to see why this area is so popular as a winter getaway, with its sugar-white beaches and clear waters.
Make a list of must-have amenities for a Florida vacation rental
Once you've narrowed your search by budget and location, it's time to start considering which amenities are most important to you. This is especially important if you have any special requirements, such as wheelchair accessibility or pet-friendly accommodations.
If you plan on doing a lot of cooking while in Florida, make sure your rental has a fully-equipped kitchen complete with all the appliances and cookware you'll need.
Of course, if you want to take advantage of Florida's famously sunny weather, look for rentals with private pools, a beachfront or access to community amenities like tennis courts or golf courses.
Before you start booking, sit down and make a list of your must-haves.
Begin your search for your Florida vacation rental
As a Canadian snowbird escaping the cold to spend the winter months in a warmer climate, you have a few different options when it comes to finding a vacation rental in Florida. You can search online, work with a local real estate agent, or get recommendations from friends and family. Find out which option is right for you.
One of the first places you can look for vacation rentals in Florida is online. Start by doing a general search on Google or your preferred search engine to get a better idea of the variety of vacation rentals in Florida. Once you have a good understanding of what’s out there, you can start narrowing down your options by price, location, and amenities.
Another option is to search specific vacation rental websites like Airbnb, Vacasa.com, FloridaRentals.com, and VRBO. These websites make it easy to compare different rentals side-by-side so you can find the perfect one for your needs. If you have any questions about a particular rental, most of these websites will let you message the host directly, and most will be more than happy to help.
Luckily, there are also several Facebook groups devoted to helping Canadians find the perfect place to stay in the Sunshine State. These groups are full of helpful advice from fellow snowbirds, and you can often find great deals on vacation rentals by connecting directly with members renting out their own properties. So if you're looking for a little help in finding your next Florida vacation rental, be sure to check out these Facebook groups:
Working with a Local Real Estate Agent
You can always hire a real estate agent in your area if you don't feel like doing the legwork of looking for a rental property on your own. They will be familiar with the area and can help you find a rental that meets your specific needs and budget. Plus, they can answer any questions you may have about the area or the rental process. Don’t forget to research potential agents beforehand to ensure they’re reputable and have experience working with Canadian snowbirds.
Getting Recommendations from Friends and Family
Your friends or family members who have previously rented a Florida vacation home may have some excellent suggestions for you. After all, word-of-mouth is always one of the best ways to find anything—from restaurants to vacation rentals. Though you may not personally know anyone with Florida rental experience, chances are someone in your extended network does. Ask your inner circle for any recommendations they may have by reaching out to them.
No matter which method you choose, take your time researching different options until you find the perfect rental for your needs. And once you arrive at your rental, enjoy all that sunny Florida has to offer!
Read the reviews for your Florida vacation rental
Once you've found a few rentals that meet your criteria, it's time to start reading reviews. Pay attention not only to the overall rating but also to any common themes among the negative reviews. For example, if multiple reviewers mention noisy neighbors or thin walls, that's something you'll want to consider before making your final decision.
Soak up the sun this winter in Florida
With some preparation, you can find the perfect snowbird vacation rental in Florida that fits your budget and meets all your needs. By being aware of what to look for and reading reviews, you can feel confident that you're choosing the best option for your winter getaway. Happy hunting!
Make sure to contact a soNomad agent to discuss your travel insurance needs for your winter in Florida.
They will help you find the best policy to protect you while you're away.