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Snowbirds and COVID-19 | Should you head south for the winter?

If you plan ahead, you can make a safe trip down south.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Snowbirds, this is your time. When our weather gets cooler, you usually pack up and head south. But should you do that this year? We sat down with some experts to help you figure it out.

“There are some advantages to going south for the winter,” said HealthPartners Infectious Disease Doctor, Greg Siwek.

That’s good news, my southbound friends! Turns out, your warm destination might actually be a good idea.

“It does allow people to be a little bit more social, do their activities outside, meet with their friends safely, which will be difficult for us to do around here,” says Dr. Siwek.

Dr. Siwek says the warm weather and exercise will literally do a body good, but just plan ahead.

“That would be important to make sure you have something established, especially this year, if you're going to a new location. Make sure you have a plan in place if you feel ill, if you're worried about COVID-type symptoms, that you know where to go for testing," he says.

And of course if you're someone who is at very high risk of COVID complications, maybe the trip isn't worth the risk. Talk to your doctor to figure out what's right for you. 

RELATED: Here is the CDC's guidance for a safe Thanksgiving

And, if you do go, how are you getting there?

“I just read today that you can't stay in Chicago from Minnesota, unless you quarantine for 14 days, so that's new,” says Linda Snyder, VP of Travel and Retail for AAA.

AAA says if you plan to drive, pay attention to the restrictions in each state along the way. Their website has a list of them, and they change often, so be sure to check right before you go. They also now offer housekeeping ratings so you can feel confident in picking hotels that are following cleaning protocols. You should pack multiple masks, sanitizer, and possibly a cooler to cut down on the stops you need to make. 

And if you go by plane, don't get cocky and try to cut it close.

“People think, oh nobody's flying. I can get out there at the last minute. That's not true. You still need to allow that two-hour time frame to check in and get through TSA. The airports are picking up,” Snyder says.

So, if you are feeling up to it, you can still keep your snowbird status this year. Just remember to bring us back some sunshine.