WARNING: The winter weather might be causing us to lose our minds.  Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.

Growing up in Minnesota, I never imagined that I would ever want to move to a warmer climate. The winter was full of fun – skiing, sledding, snowball fights, and of course hockey. Besides that, I thought that I would miss the change of seasons. How could I possibly live without experiencing the wonders of Spring, the hot days of Summer, and the cool crisp air and beautiful colors of Autumn? I knew that I never wanted to leave my home in the colder climates of the North for the perpetual summer of the South.

Then, I grew a brain…or became a wuss, depending on your perspective. Either way, I’m OK with that.

The last few weeks in the northern half of the U.S. has brought ridiculously frigid temperatures and literally feet – yep, not inches but feet – of snow. Suddenly, the allure of temperatures that are perpetually above 50 degrees farenheit doesn’t seem so bad after all. The older I get, the more I think that the trade off for missing Spring and Fall by moving to a warmer climate may not be that bad.

Still, there is a cost associated with leaving the Great White North. (I know Canadians…that usually refers to you. Nobody is trying to usurp your title here, so don’t get your frozen behinds all bent out of shape!) Of course, there is the emotional cost of moving away from your family and friends. Furthermore, there can be a financial cost to moving as well. So during these cold winter months, here are a few ways that you can get a taste of warmer climate living.

Take a Vacation

Not sure if you are ready to take the plunge and move to Antigua just yet? Why not go ahead and visit it first! You can experience the best that warm weather places have to offer without having to pack up your stuff and move. If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, taking a winter vacation to a warm weather climate can be just what you need to break up those dark and cold winter days.

Holly and I have decided winter vacationing is a must at our house. One of the biggest keys for us is strategically scheduling the vacation toward the back half of winter. By hitting the beach in the early part of February, we know that there will only be a few more weeks of Winter to suffer through once we return home. Furthermore, we get to live the beach life for a fraction of the cost of moving there – even if it is only for a short time. Recently, we saved even more money by using credit card rewards to vacation for free! Score!!!

Become a Snow Bird

If you don’t want to move permanently to a warmer climate, try living there for just a few months each year. Many snow birds purchase their own place somewhere near the coast.  Then they pack up their stuff and head down where it’s warm during the winter months.  While that may sound expensive, many snowbirds rent out their place during the summer to make up for all, or most, of the cost associated with their place.  So, if you have the time and the money to do so, becoming a snowbird may help you to avoid those brutally cold winter days.

Move to the Carribean

So, you just can’t take it anymore and you need to get out of the cold permanently, huh? Try buying a place in the Carribbean. Housing prices in many of these small countries are far less than what beach homes would cost stateside. An island paradise could literally be yours at a fraction of the cost.  When we were in Mexico last summer, we browsed through a bunch of housing magazines and found many beach houses available for less than $300,000.

Pretend

I like pretending. Sometimes that is the only thing that can get me through the day. So, when all else fails, simply imagine that you’ve escaped the icy north and found yourself in a tropical paradise. After all, the beach life really is a state of mind, right? You could throw a hula party or run around your house in nothing but your bathing suit. Personally, I find a nice drink mixed with coconut rum helps to set the stage appropriately. And usually, the more drinks I have, the easier it is to relax in my new “beachfront” condo daydream. Ahhhh, now that is the life!

Do you have any tips for leaving the cold weather behind? Fire away in the comments below!