Any avid fisherman or woman will tell you that river fishing is a different kind of sport. Many anglers consider river fishing to be relaxing and something that doesn’t always require a lot of gear. You can fish right from the shoreline or riverbank just as easily as out on a boat. With that in mind, here are some river fishing tips for all the anglers out there:

Assess the Water:

The big difference between river fishing and other types is that you have to think strategically because there’s a current involved. Often, in swift flowing rivers, like the Mississippi, fish will seek refuge in the calmer backwaters. Fast flowing rivers can create eddies that occur in the space downstream from or behind large exposed rocks or debris. An eddy is a term that describes the swirling and reverse currents that form from an obstruction in the flow of water. Insects and other bait-like things can get caught in the eddies which is why you’ll often find these spots to be great for fishing.

Use Your Bait:

Try bouncing live bait off the bottom of the river to lure fish. Be sure to bounce the bait with the current as opposed to against it. Make sure you research the right lures for river fishing. Rivers can be murky, calm, rough, rocky, fast, or a combination of any of those things. That said, different areas may require different lures.

Know the Lay of the Land:

As previously mentioned, some patches of the river will be extra weedy, some will have islands you can fish from. Chances are, if you come across an overly weedy part of the river, you’ve probably stumbled into some prime fishing. With the current and flow of the water, many fish like to make the weeds their home. Some of the island areas of the river can have some great fishing as well. Just be careful if you wade out there—drop offs can come on suddenly! If you get a good feel of the lay of the land you can determine the depth, shape, and movement of the water. You’ll have an easier time finding where the fish are hiding!

If you’re looking for a seasonal community on the river, check out Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi.  They have one of the best fishing spots around!

One of the best things about spring is the return of the migratory birds. It’s probably one of the first tell-tale signs that the weather is warming—the sounds that begin to wake us up as spring arrives. The sounds of birds chirping are both a welcome sound and sometimes rather annoying. After all, what do birds have to be so excited about at 6am? Either way, one joy of living on the Mississippi River is birdwatching.

The Mississippi Flyway is the migration route followed by 40% of all waterfowl and shorebirds in North America. Vast wildlife refuges, state forests, federal forests and parks protect the habitat and food sources these birds depend on. Bald Eagles, Warblers, and Hawks are just a few of the birds you can expect to see on the Upper Mississippi. Seeing as Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” you can expect to see quite a few different bird habitats.

Not unlike the snowbirds we often discuss, actual migratory birds are common in Minnesota for many of the same reasons many of us head south for the winter. The crazy Minnesota temperature and weather swings tend to be just as irritating to the bird population as it is to the Minnesota residents. There are many different birdwatching hotspots throughout Minnesota and to find more information about that click here. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to birdwatch right from you windows as the snowbirds, feathered and otherwise, begin to return home.

When you’re decorating a second home or seasonal space your inventory can get pretty full. Whether the space is used all year round or just as a family getaway space, items tend to accumulate pretty quickly. In an attempt to help avoid landing on an episode of Hoarders, here are some decorating hacks that are sure to save you space and money:

 

Play with Paint:

The quickest and least expensive way to spruce up any space is by adding a fresh coat of paint. Try painting the ceilings for added dimension and depth. Choose colors that will complement the natural light for each room. This is the way to personalize the space without adding more stuff to the equation.

 

Reuse and Recycle:

You’ve already probably got an entire house full of stuff. Chances are you have at least one room in your home that is packed with stuff you’re not entirely sure what to do with. Take old necklaces and rhinestones to adorn your curtains or curtain rods. That way you’re decluttering one space and making the other feel more like home.  (Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi has a free thrift exchange for members called Give ‘n Take.  Drop off the usable items you don’t need, pick up the ones you do – for free.)

 

Creative Storage:

Include furniture and shelving that doubles as decoration — end tables that can hold blankets, wall shelves as closet space. These hacks will help you with storage while avoiding taking up floor space and adding clutter.

Family is the foundation of life. Spending time with family is at the crux of everything positive this life has to offer. For many, that time goes by in the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of every moment. One of the best ways to do just that is to invest in a family cabin. This isn’t always possible for every family, but when you think outside of the box (i.e. a traditional cabin), you can open up a whole new set of opportunities. Here are a few ways that everyone can afford to have family time on the water.

 

Houseboats:

This is a great option for families that enjoy spending as much time as possible on the water. You can often find public water accesses for easy entrance and it gives you the opportunity to enjoy different locations. Think about a family road trip except by boat!

 

Campers:

As with houseboats, campers and RVs allow families to travel and see different places without the expense of hotels and dining out. Public parks and campgrounds are everywhere so finding a spot to park and rest shouldn’t be a problem.

 

 

Recreational Community:

If you’re looking for leisure, convenience, activities, relaxation, and community, look no further than a recreational community. This is the best option for families who want access to the water without the price tag of a traditional cabin or the added costs for recreational activities! Traveler’s Country Club on the Mississippi provides opportunities for boating and fishing, plus there are community events, a 9-hole golf course, and heated pool for residents. It’s conveniently located north of the metro area so you can make it a weekend getaway or plan for something longer.

Now that you’ve got some fun ideas to get your winter going, it’s also important to do some things that will just make your life easier when spring comes. None of these things or the things on the previous list has to be done one at a time. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to do a fundamental task while you’re engaging in something fun. Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and simplify your life before the spring:

 

Fundamentals:

It feels good to accomplish things and be prepared ahead of time! That’s not to say you spend your whole winter cleaning, organizing, and preparing. You can just do a few things that will make it easier to accomplish when the time comes!

 

Purge! You’re bound to have things that you don’t use or that wear out over the winter. You don’t have to hold onto that stuff, in fact, getting rid of it just means less to pack and bring north. It could be clothing you didn’t wear over the summer that you can donate before heading back. It could be cleaning out those craft supplies you didn’t use while making that quilt. Whatever it is, the less you have to bring back and forth, the easier the adjustments will be.

 

Budget! Start a budget or start planning for things you want to do either over the summer or the following winter. It’s never too early to plan your fun! Sometimes it takes a little longer to plan that perfect trip or to get everyone’s schedules to align. Take the lead with your friends and family, everyone will be super appreciative and you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves better when the fun actually starts if it’s already been planned and prepped for.

 

Ask for help! The whole point of this list is to make things easier for you! If you begin your list and realize you have a lot on your plate, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you’ve created a community of people you can rely on who are in similar places in their lives. Work together to accomplish things. It’ll make the spring cleaning and decluttering more fun and efficient!

 

 

It seems like the winter months either drag on or fly by, there’s no real in-between phase. One minute you’re planning to head to a warmer climate for the winter and the next thing you know, it’s almost time to head back. The holidays can get crazy and hectic. October through Mid-January can sometimes feel like one big month. So, how do you make the most out of your winter without compromising or sacrificing? Here are some ideas to get you started so you fit everything in and still enjoy your season:

 

The first thing you should do is organize your to-do list into categories–even if it’s just something as simple as “Fun” and “Fundamentals.” That’s how we’ll break up the list.

 

Fun:

Enjoy the slow! No, not SNOW. We know you went south to avoid the snow—enjoy the slow. Things are just a little slower moving during the winter months, regardless of your location. People tend to spend more time indoors and more time with friends and family. Don’t let the hectic hype of the holiday season distract you from the relaxing and enjoyable time with the people you care about.

 

Take advantage of what your southern location has to offer. Different climates have different things to offer. Find things to do you wouldn’t or couldn’t normally do in your northern location!

 

Create, craft, or conceptualize! Seriously, we’ve all got that one project we’ve been meaning to do or that new skill we’ve been excited to learn. Take the time to nourish your hobbies and passions. If you’ve been trying to finish that quilt, set a goal and finish it! If you’ve wanted to learn some new cooking techniques, find a course in your community. Once the summer hits and school is out, you’ll be spending time with grandkids or hanging out by the lake. Use this time to do something for yourself!

Take that trip! Just because you live in two different locations doesn’t mean going from one to the other is a vacation! If you’re driving to your secondary location, take the long way and make it a road trip. Once you get settled in, plan a trip somewhere with the friends you have in Arizona (or where ever it is you winter). You’ll make memories and you’ll have a blast—even if it’s just a stay-cation and you turn a weekend getaway into an adventure! It’s important to do those types of things! Rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul!

 

There are plenty of other things you can do to make the most out of the time you’re away: read that book, watch that television series everyone’s been talking about, or volunteer. You’ve got time to enjoy yourself so start doing just that!

 

Stay tuned for our next blog post which will cover the “fundamentals” list! In the meantime, start having some fun!

 

 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and the weather already turning cold, most snowbirds are settled into their winter homes and prepping for the holidays. A concern that many people have in regards to seasonal living is about being away from family on the holidays. After all, family is really the driving force behind holiday celebrations. If you’re across the country, or even the world, from your family, is it still special? How do people adjust? Is there a way to ensure the holidays are special even if you’re away from family? The short answer is, yes! Here are 3 tips to make sure the holidays are special, no matter where you are:

 

Christmas in July:

Ok, it doesn’t actually have to be in July but you get the idea. Choose a time when everyone is together and bring out the Christmas lights and deck the halls! It’s a fun way to start a new tradition and, it’ll probably alleviate some of the holiday stress during the winter months because you don’t have to worry about “sharing” your family with the in-laws.

 

 

Technology:

In this day and age, it almost feels like we never disconnect from each other. Often, with all the social media platforms it can feel like we were actually at an event instead of just watching videos, looking at pictures, and reading first-hand accounts. Plus, you can always use a video chat application like, Skype or something similar.

 

Give Yourself Permission:

You love your family. Your grandchildren are the light of your life. That doesn’t change simply because you decide on some self-care over the holidays. Give yourself permission and don’t apologize for doing what YOU want to do. They say that grandchildren are the reward for raising happy, healthy, children. While that may be true, they can also be exhausting. Take some time for yourself and enjoy the things you want to do. You’ve earned it!

 

 

Now that the weather is turning and the snow is falling, most snowbirds are settling into their secondary homes. Maybe you’re planning on a vacation or you’re just tired of the same old routine. We know you’ll never go anywhere that compares to the beauty and serenity of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but if you’re looking for some winter destinations that will bring you a break from the snow and provide some fun adventures, we’ve compiled the perfect list for you.

 

 

1. Georgetown, South Carolina

The average high in January is a comfortable 60 degrees. This charming town hugs the Atlantic coastline so you can enjoy spending time in the sand, fishing on the sea, or walking down the harbor. Georgetown also has a historic downtown that will transport you back in time.

 

 

2. Peoria, Arizona

Don’t forget to pack your ball caps when you come to Peoria. In this toasty town, the average high in January is 70 degrees. You can catch a Mariners baseball game or go out sailing on Peasant Lake.

 

 

3. Palm Springs, California

Any time is the right time to have a cocktail and sit by the pool here! The average temperature in January is 71 degrees. Visitors like to walk the Andreas Canyon Trail or stop by the nearby Desert Hot Springs.

 

 

4. Laughlin, Nevada

This town is nestled along the Colorado River. If you like the thrill of gambling but also the thrill of reeling in a large trout, there will be no shortage of things to do here. There is a great mix of city and nature and the average temperature in January is a nice 65 degrees.

 

 

5. Orange Beach, Alabama

This city boasts beautiful white sand beaches and seafood to die for! They also have a festival just for snowbirds, creatively called the Snowbird Festival. The average temperature in January is 60 degrees. It may be a little too chilly to take a dip in the ocean, but the sound of the waves is relaxing enough to make up for it!

 

 

Who says you can’t learn new tricks?! Experiencing new places and adventures is a great way to stay rejuvenated. Nice places to hunker down during the winter months are not limited to this list. There are many more places for Snowbirds to fly to and soak in the sun including Gulfport, Mississippi; Mount Dora, Florida; Ocala, Florida; or Harlingen, Texas. It really depends on your taste and what you prefer. While enjoying your summer back home, start some research on your new adventure for next year. There’s no time like the present to try something new.

 

 

Each year, millions of people migrate from the colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny, warmer locations like Florida, California, or other Sunbelt states. Living a snowbird lifestyle offers the best of both worlds: you can maintain friendships and stay connected to family and familiar places, but you can also escape from the cold, often treacherous, winter weather. It sounds like a dream come true, right!? Well, before you start packing, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the advantages of a snowbird lifestyle while avoiding some of the challenges:

 

Cost:

The best way to plan for the cost of dual-living is to get organized and do your research. You’ll be responsible for two house payments, two utility bills, two water bills, two electric bills, etc. You’re maintaining two households. A perfect option to balance that is community living. If you’re part of an association, often times your yard maintenance and things like that are taken care of for you. Renting a place in your secondary location is another option. This allows you to enjoy two locations without being responsible for buying two sets of appliances and the like. Seasonal parks allow for home ownership without all the hassle. Often, these living communities have planned events, hobbies, and community get-togethers. Your quality of life will improve but the costs will stay low.

Living Expenses:

The traditional route a snowbird takes is to a Sunbelt state in the U.S. Another option that may be less expensive is to relocate overseas. Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama are all popular retirement spots and you can, on average, retire there for around $1000/month. Your dollar will stretch a little further and you can afford to reduce your costs while you’re away.

 

Downsize:

For many retirees, it’s hard to let go of the home they raised children in, the home that was a staple for everything their family represented. The problem is, that home is now much too large, especially if you’re planning on living in two locations. Downsize to a smaller place in each location to make it more affordable. A smaller living space would also save you on utility costs.

 

Rent:

The beauty of this technological world we live in is the advancements out there to make life a little easier to navigate. Airbnb is a perfect chance to rent out your family home and, if the mortgage is already paid off, earn some extra income. Your friends and family are close by to help out with cleaning in between guests and to restock any supplies they may need. You could also just rent out your home for a season. Again, you’ll feel better knowing that friends and family are nearby to help if the renters don’t work out.

 

Get a Side Gig:

Finding a part time job to supplement some income while you’re away is another great option. You can often find jobs in retail or some other flexible position. Those types of jobs have high turn-over rates and are usually looking to hire someone dependable, even if it’s just for the season.

We all have certain fears about traveling. One of the main concerns is what will happen if a bag is lost or you have to cancel the trip at the last minute. Travel insurance is a plan you purchase that protects you from certain financial risks and losses that can occur while traveling. These losses can be minor, like a delayed suitcase, or significant, like a last-minute trip cancellation or a medical emergency overseas. It’s easy to understand why travel insurance is a good idea, but the logistics of choosing a plan can be trickier to navigate than the new locations you’re traveling to. To help you make sense of travel insurance, here are a few tips you should consider:

 

Travel insurance can be categorized into two broad categories: trip cancellation and medical insurance. There are, of course, different add-ons or packages in each category, but understanding those two basic ideas should prove helpful.

 

Trip Cancellation Insurance covers any added expense that may come up while traveling. For instance:

  • Actual cancellation of your trip—if something comes up last minute and you need to cancel, you’ll be covered.
  • Trip interruption—should you need to return early, those expenses are covered.
  • Baggage—various policies cover things like lost or damaged luggage or property.
  • Other—there may be other benefits like travel delay, ID theft protection, or car rental coverage, but these vary among policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Medical Insurance:

This option is recommended for people traveling for an extended period of time. This is a great idea for snowbirds who travel seasonally in different countries. There may be restrictions with a primary insurance when overseas and travel medical insurance can help with those costs. Some policies will include emergency medical evacuation or transportation should that become necessary.

 

Wherever you’re traveling and for however long, it’s never a bad idea to find out more about travel insurance. It could just end up saving you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long-run.