Each year as the weather turns cold, thousands of retirees from the north begin planning their escape to warmer weather. They leave in time to avoid the frigid winter temperatures and they arrive back home in time to watch the flowers blossom in spring. These retirees are affectionately known as snowbirds. Spending the winter in someplace warmer certainly has its appeal, but it can also present a few logistical challenges. If you are going to spend months someplace, it is nice to have a vehicle at your disposal so you can get out and enjoy the sites and attractions at your destination. However, it might not be feasible to drive your own vehicle such a long distance back and forth. Renting a car for several months can also be quite costly. Your best option is to have your own vehicle shipped to your destination so you have the freedom to get out and explore. If you are a snowbird and in need of options for transporting your vehicle, this guide will help you navigate the car shipping process.
Common Snowbird Routes
In general, all routes from the north to the south could be considered snowbird routes, but there are some states that are more popular than others. These include Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Alabama, and South Carolina. During snowbird season, you can expect shipping prices on these particular routes to increase due to high demand. While it is normal to shop rates, be advised not to be lured by the lowest price, as this could be a red flag that your car will not arrive on time or the company might not be reputable.
Cost of Auto Shipping
This is understandably the biggest question most customers have but the answer depends on a few different factors:
-Vehicle make and model
-Open or enclosed transport
-Location and distance
-Supply and demand
In order to get an accurate quote, you must account for all of these factors. Be sure to inquire about all of your shipping options and look for ways to save money such as terminal-to-terminal shipping and using an open carrier instead of enclosed. Again, research the company, verify licensing requirements, and read reviews before choosing a shipping company. If you base it on price alone, you could end up waiting for weeks to get your car or you could end up with an unskilled carrier.
Benefits of Car Shipping for Snowbirds
Driving in the winter can be dangerous. If you are traveling hundreds of miles through winter conditions, you risk encountering snowy and ice road conditions. Not only could this lead to significant travel delays, but it can be quite dangerous to navigate winter roads.
You can save time and money. When it comes time to begin your vacation, most people don’t want to waste multiple days driving from Point A to Point B. It could take up to a week to travel across the country and this means the costs will add up as well. When you factor in the cost of food, lodging, gas, and car repairs, you will soon find that you aren’t saving much money by driving yourself. Not to mention the wear and tear you will be putting on your vehicle.
You can travel safely and comfortably. Long-distance road trips can be exhausting and dangerous. Car transport makes the logistics of getting to your destination so much easier. You can simply hop on a plane, sit back, and relax knowing that you will soon be at your destination. Your car will arrive shortly after, saving you a great deal of time and hassle.
Tips for Booking Car Shipment
Book in advance. With such a high demand for car shipment during the snowbird season, it is important to act early and book your shipment well in advance. This ensures you will have a spot on a trailer for the time and location that you need.
Do your research. There are several car shipping companies out there but there are also many scams. Do your research and only work with a company that is properly licensed and insured. You also want to compare reviews and pricing.
Avoid holidays. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are among the most popular times for travelers and this can impact pricing and scheduling. If possible, pick a time that is not around these busy holidays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.