What Is a Snowbird?
In travel terms, people traveling to warmer areas in winter are known as snowbirds. The name, snowbird, is derived from bird species such as junco and fieldfare, which cover long distances to warmer climates in the winter. Therefore, don’t be surprised if someone calls you a snowbird when you’re flying south to get away from the cold.
The snowbird phenomenon is more common than most of us may think. For instance, recent research by NY Post indicated that a whopping 91% of Americans want to travel south because they feel depressed by the gloomy weather. This is also true for Canadians who are known to actively participate in social groups related to snowbird travel.
The Demographic Shift
In the early days of the snowbirding phenomenon, it was mainly the retirees that regularly traveled south. Travel agents and real estate brokers loved them because their clients were keen to find second homes and stay longer at a particular destination. Many people stayed at one place for months and used the place to explore nearby areas.
While retirees and mature travelers still constitute the majority of snowbirds, millennials are quickly catching on. Families and people as young as 35 are finding it irresistible to join their older counterparts. It seems that everyone wants to live an active outdoorsy lifestyle and become a snowbird.
What Are Snowbird Flights?
Snowbird flights are regular scheduled flights or charter flights to sunny destinations.
The concept of snowbirds may have originated in North America but it was the European travelers who started to book entire aircraft to travel south in the winter. The trend is still intact as several tour operators in Europe charter large airplanes to take travelers south.
Where Is the Sun Belt?
Sunbelt destinations in the South are known to provide year-round activities to tourists. These include Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and California. The southern parts of Nevada, North Carolina, and Mississippi also fall in the Sun Belt.
Vibrant southern cities such as Tampa, Miami, Orlando, St Petersburg, San Diego, Miami, Phoenix and New Orleans attract snowbirds throughout the year. However, not every snowbird destination attracts tourists as some are known for their laid-back lifestyle.
In recent years, Sun Belt cities have also started attracted families, retirees, and younger individuals who want to buy a second home or settle permanently. Many snowbirds travel south so they can get a better idea of the local real estate and lifestyle.
Overall, the trend of moving from North to South is not limited to leisure activities only. As snowbirds find it easier to move long distances and work remotely, they are likely to contemplate staying in places longer. In fact, the future population growth of the United States will occur in these southern regions.