Flying South for the Winter
By Donald C. Turowski
While everyone is familiar with the idea of birds flying south for the winter to spend the chillier months in a more accommodating climate, what is perhaps less well known is that this phenomenon is an increasingly popular strategy for humans as well. The tactic is such a popular one that a term has been coined to describe those families and individuals who "migrate" north and south to spend part of the year in a milder climate: snowbirds. For snowbirds everywhere, the annual trek south (or, in the case of Southern residents looking to escape the extremes of summer heat, north!) is a ritual that is undertaken with a mix of trepidation and weary acceptance.
Between the stress and chaos of the road, the unavoidable expense of the journey, and the inevitable hassles and hazards of a long, exhausting trip, these snowbird road trips can feel less like a vacation and more like an ordeal that must be endured. Fortunately for these weary wanderers and weather-seekers, there is a convenient and cost-effective solution that is growing in both availability and popularity: professional vehicle transport services. A growing industry that is expanding its service offerings in response to demographic and behavioral pattern shifts, vehicle transport offers a wide range of significant benefits to snowbirds and other travelers looking for more convenience, safety, reliability and peace of mind.
While snowbird numbers elude typical census data-gathering methods and are notoriously difficult to quantify accurately, an oft-quoted University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research study found that nearly a million seasonal residents visit the Sunshine State every year. The same study also noted the phenomenon of reverse migration, detailing the astonishing fact that approximately 1.5 million residents leave for at least three months of the year to spend time in cooler regions. Florida's temporary residents are made up of states from the Northeast and the Midwest, with New York, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania making up the lion's share of the seasonal populace. Perhaps not surprisingly, Canadians also make up a significant portion of the snowbird population.
Needless to say, overland travel from the northern tier of the country to warmer locales like Florida and Arizona is not something that is engaged in lightly or easily. The trip can last several days and take a toll on mind, body and vehicle - not to mention wallet. The benefits of using a vehicle transport company can help avoid virtually all of those headaches, and can transform what for many is a daunting, miserable experience into a worry-free process.
Convenience and Flexibility
Most snowbirds do not have the luxury of having two vehicles in two locations across the country year round. However, individuals still require the function of their personal auto be available to them at all times. Enter the convenience of vehicle transport service. The best vehicle transport providers offer a wide range of pick-up and drop-off options for travelers, enabling them to drop their car or truck off at a local office and pick their vehicle up at their destination. Some providers even offer door-to-door service. As the popularity of these services continues to grow, the infrastructure improves as well, with more flexible routes and scheduling options, and a greater number of conveniently located hubs. Retirees and other active adults may find these services especially appealing, as the physical toll of a long journey can be a particular burden for them. Utilizing a vehicle transport service lets snowbirds flock to their desired destinations as fast, and easily as possible, and leaves the potential burdens of traffic jams, construction delays and problematic weather issues for the professionals to tackle.
Safety and Security
For both the car owner and their vehicle, the added safety and security of an investment in a vehicle transport service is significant. The transport option enables snowbirds to avoid the potential dangers inherent to any long trip with a tired driver, while simultaneously protecting their car from the unavoidable wear and tear of the road. One of the most exciting innovations in vehicle transport is the recent advent of enclosed vehicle transport. This extraordinary new concept utilizes fully enclosed transports with an unprecedented degree of protection for the vehicle. Completely secure from the outside elements, some of the new, environmentally sealed hard-shell transports are setting impressive standards for enclosed transport; raising the bar for the competition and providing their customers with a newfound confidence in these services. This extra level of protection shelters your precious cargo from all of the elements, such as rain and snow, as well as road debris.
Confidence and Reliability
With guaranteed pick-up dates and efficient point-to-point service, vehicle transport options are a reliable alternative to the traditional road trip option. Many carriers offer guaranteed delivery dates, and a constant influx of new and improved technological innovations have made receiving updated tracking and delivery information a snap. Some transport professionals even use GPS tracking to provide customers with real-time online real-vehicle locations and precise delivery estimates. Not only can some providers pinpoint the exact location while in route, they can also utilize technology to identify potential construction or traffic issues ahead of time, so your vehicle arrives as scheduled.
Value and Peace of mind
An unavoidable part of every long car trip these days is the significant financial component. Between the money snowbirds and other travelers have to spend on food, highway tolls, hotels/motels, the unpredictable cost of gasoline, and the lost long-term value that comes from the tremendous wear and tear of putting thousands of unnecessary miles on a vehicle, road trips are an expensive undertaking. With vehicle transport services becoming increasingly affordable and cost-effective, the notion of driving long distances to try and save money makes less and less sense. As a result of this gradual shift in the cost-benefit equation of long journeys, the appeal of vehicle transport services is continuing to grow.
But perhaps the biggest reason snowbirds are turning to vehicle transport in greater numbers has nothing to do with the checkbook. The real value of these innovative new services lies in their ability to provide something that is genuinely difficult to put a price tag on: peace of mind. For snowbirds, who are already dealing with the many complications and logistical headaches of moving from one residence to another at least twice a year, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their vehicle is in the hands of a company and a service that will treat it with the same respect, care and attention as they would themselves is worth every penny of the transport costs. And with quality providers offering comprehensive insurance coverage for all transported vehicles, that peace of mind is backed by rock-solid financial certainty.
As snowbirds continue to make their biannual "migrations", it seems a certainty that more and more savvy travelers will be turning to vehicle transport services to make their journey a safer, smoother, and more secure experience. The convenience of date flexibility, guaranteed delivery and expedited service, combined with the appeal of competitive pricing, comprehensive insurance policies, and all-important peace of mind seem likely to continue as will the ranks of snowbirds and other travelers who view the services of a vehicle transport professional as not just sensible, but indispensable.
Donald C. Turowski is director of single unit operations for Romulus, Michigan-based United Road, one of the largest vehicle transportation logistics solutions providers in the United States. With over 1,500 employees and a nationwide network of 1,200 late model vehicle carriers, United Road is the technology leader of the industry via its proprietary web-based, real time OVISS information system.
Donald can be reached at 734.947.7939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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