Heading south for the winter? Compare seasonal holds that can save you money from afar

Lisa Hyman
LH
Lisa Hyman
Nov 27, 2019

A seasonal hold, also called a vacation hold, lets customers temporarily suspend their internet, TV and phone services at a minimal cost. Traditionally, this service has been of particular interest to snowbirds — northerners who travel south during the colder months of the year then return north in the spring. But now, we’re seeing additional customers taking providers up on this offer increasingly every year. 

Reason for the season(al) holds

So, why the uptick in timeouts? Between retirees taking advantage of their freedom by splitting time between two locations, and the advent of Airbnb-type services, over nine million Americans own or rent more than one property. With all this back-and-forth, it’s no surprise that seasonal holds are becoming so popular. 


Putting your home phone, internet or TV service on hold can be a real money-saving option if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • Retirees or snowbirds 
  • Families with second homes 
  • People who rent out multiple private properties
  • Families who need a break from services due to personal or financial reasons (hospital stays, digital detox, etc.)
  • Long-term travelers

Why is a seasonal hold better than disconnecting service?

Disconnecting and reconnecting services is the other option for part-time residents, but this method can be much more costly. Getting set up with a brand-new service is expensive since most companies have fees for activation, installation, one-time equipment costs, early-termination fees (ETFS) and deposits.

Suspending service via a seasonal hold lets you avoid most fees and makes it easier to reinstate your service when you return from your sabbatical. Plus, when you suspend service, you can typically:

  • Keep your same phone number and/or email address 
  • Save any unwatched DVR content 
  • Keep any complicated equipment setups undisturbed

Top providers’ seasonal hold plans 

Provider
Seasonal hold time limits
How to contact
More details
Monthly fee*
AT&T
Min. of 30 days to a max. of six months
800.288.2020
AT&T seasonal hold
$7/mo. and up
CenturyLink
Min. of one month to a max. of six months
Enter your ZIP code here to get your regional number
CenturyLink seasonal hold
About $20/mo.
Cox Communications
Min. of one month to a max. of nine months
866.936.7123 or stop by a Cox store
Cox seasonal hold
$9.99/mo. and up
DIRECTV
Min. of 30 days to a max. of six months
800.288.2020
DIRECTV seasonal hold
$7/mo.
DISH
Up to nine months
888.876.7918
N/A
$5/mo.
Frontier
Up to nine months
877.379.9516
Frontier seasonal hold
$5.99/mo. and up
HughesNet
Up to six months
866.347.3292
HughesNet seasonal hold
Must pay monthly lease charge ($9.99/mo.)
Mediacom
Min. of two months to a max. of six months
855.633.4226 or text 66554
N/A
$10-$15/mo.
Optimum
Up to six months
Call your region’s number from the Optimum phone list
Optimum seasonal hold
$5/mo. and up
Spectrum
Min. of two months to a max. of one year
833.267.6094
Spectrum seasonal hold
$4.99/mo. and up
Verizon
Up to nine months
Sign into My Verizon or use the My Fios app
Verizon seasonal hold
One-time fee, varies by region
Xfinity (Comcast)
Min. of 60 days to a max. of 270 days, availability varies by region
Call or text 888.936.4968
N/A
$8/mo. and up

Read the fine print

As with any change, make sure you pay attention to the fine print and don’t be shy about asking questions. Before you suspend your service, most companies will require:

  • Your account is in good standing
  • You have had the service a minimum number of days (varies by company)
  • You request the turn-off and turn-on date far enough in advance

They may also insist that government taxes and regulatory surcharges continue to be paid while the account is on hold.

If you are in a contract, be aware that a seasonal hold does not count as time toward the contract. For example, if you suspend the service for six months, those months will be added onto the back end of the term. The upside is you can usually maintain your promotional rate throughout the contract. Again, make sure you request these details if they are not on the company’s website. 

Once you’ve found the provider in your area that works for your lifestyle, check out our Facebook page to get the latest content, savings tips and insights into new tech.