Heading South for Winter: Car Shipping Tips for Snowbirds

Every year, as winter’s icy grip takes hold in Canada, a migration begins. Retirees and sun seekers embark on their annual journey south to escape the frigid temperatures and bask in the warm embrace of Florida and other sun-soaked destinations. For snowbirds, this migration is a tradition, and having their own vehicle at their disposal is a must for making the most of their winter retreat. To ensure a smooth transition from the Great White North to the Sunshine State, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of shipping a car from Canada to the United States, and particularly to Florida.

Why Snowbirds Choose to Ship Their Cars

The snowbird lifestyle is all about escaping the cold and embracing the sun. As such, having your own vehicle is essential for maximizing your winter stay in the southern United States. Here are some reasons why snowbirds choose to ship their cars:

  1. Convenience: Having your own vehicle provides unmatched convenience and flexibility. You can come and go as you please, exploring the area at your own pace.
  2. Cost-Effective: Shipping a car from Canada to the United States is often more cost-effective than renting a vehicle for an extended stay, which can add up quickly.
  3. Familiarity: Your own car offers a sense of familiarity and comfort, making your transition to a new location smoother and less stressful.
  4. Mobility: Florida and other snowbird destinations offer a wide range of attractions, from beaches to national parks. Having your own vehicle allows you to easily explore these destinations.

Car Shipping Tips for Snowbirds

Shipping a car from Canada to the United States, and especially to Florida, requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some essential tips to ensure a successful and stress-free car shipping experience:

1. Choose a Reputable Car Shipping Company

Selecting the right car shipping company is paramount. Look for a company that specializes in cross-border car shipping and has a strong track record in transporting vehicles from Canada to the United States. Ensure the company is licensed and insured, providing peace of mind in case of unforeseen incidents.

2. Plan Well in Advance

Don’t wait until the last minute to arrange car shipping. Snowbird season is a busy time, and it’s advisable to plan and book your car shipment well in advance to secure your preferred dates and avoid any delays.

3. Request Multiple Quotes

Obtain quotes from several car shipping companies to compare prices and services. This allows you to find the best value for your budget while ensuring reliable transportation for your vehicle.

4. Prepare Your Vehicle

Before your car is loaded onto the transport carrier, you’ll need to prepare it for transit. Remove all personal items from the vehicle, ensure it’s clean, and make sure the gas tank is no more than a quarter full. Document any existing damage or issues for your peace of mind.

5. Choose the Right Shipping Method

Select the appropriate shipping method for your vehicle. Open transport is a cost-effective and suitable choice for most cars, while enclosed transport offers added protection for high-value or classic vehicles.

6. Verify Customs and Documentation

Understand the customs and documentation requirements for transporting your vehicle from Canada to the United States. This involves completing the necessary paperwork, including the Vehicle Import Form and complying with safety standards.

7. Insurance Coverage

While car shipping companies take precautions to protect your vehicle during transit, investing in insurance coverage is a smart move. Insurance provides an additional layer of security, giving you peace of mind regarding your investment.


For Canadian snowbirds, heading south for the winter is a cherished tradition. With the right planning and preparation, shipping your car from Canada to the United States, particularly to Florida, can be a seamless process. The benefits of having your own vehicle at your disposal are invaluable, providing convenience, comfort, and the freedom to explore your winter destination to the fullest.

So, if you’re a snowbird planning your next sun-soaked adventure, consider the convenience and benefits of shipping your car to your winter haven. With careful consideration of these car shipping tips, you can ensure a smooth transition from the snow-covered North to the sunny shores of the South and fully embrace the joys of the snowbird lifestyle. Safe travels and enjoy the warmth of your winter retreat!