Many online sources are available to help snowbirds find the perfect winter retreat.

Many online sources are available to help snowbirds find the perfect winter retreat.

Each winter, snowbird retirees flock to warmer climates. There they will bask in the sun and put thoughts of snowstorms and heavy coats out of their minds. But before they can make their seasonal migration, these snowbirds first have to secure a home for the winter.

For snowbirds who do not own a second home, vacation rentals are a common way to spend the winter in a sunny southern locale. Yet, first-time snowbirds and those looking for a rental home in a new area may not know where to find out about extended stay homes, especially if they are hoping to find a rental home within a 55+ community. Rental homes that are located in 55+ communities are often rented out by their owners, instead of being handled through real estate agents or other institutions. As such, most owners are looking for long-term renters, and would prefer to have the same people stay in their home through the whole season. Renters who like a house may come back to it year after year, but others prefer to try out different locations each year. Fortunately, there are a few resources available online to help snowbirds track down rental homes. VRBO.com — VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) is designed for anyone who wants to rent a vacation home. You can browse by location and check availability for your travel dates. Although the site does not give you an option to search specifically for 55+ communities, those who are search engine savvy will find that advanced search operators may help narrow the prospects. For example, going to Google.com and typing [ site:vrbo.com “55+ community” ] will bring back listings on vrbo.com which include the phrase “55+ community.” SnowbirdCondo.com — This rental home website is designed specifically with snowbirds in mind. Featuring rental homes in the southern United States, South America and nearby islands, Snowbird Condo helps renters find several types of homes including condos, villas, townhomes and single-family homes. You can even sort by the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, or the property’s pet policy. SnowbirdHelper.com — As a site created for snowbirds, Snowbird Helper includes a lot of information for winter travelers, including its own listing of rental homes in popular snowbird markets. The main list is arranged by state (or country for international listings) and each rental has its own link to a web ad with more information. Many snowbirds also find great rental opportunities through word of mouth. By getting to know other snowbirds, you can share your experiences, learn from each other and tap into a great resource for finding future rental recommendations.