Summer is finally here; the weather is warm, the kids are out of school, and everyone wants to be outside. Keeping cool in the summer heat is critical for safety and for comfort alike. There’s nothing better for keeping cool and enjoying summer than a good swim! There are plenty of benefits to water activity but it’s also important to understand the safety concerns and be aware of procedures that alleviate those concerns.

Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years of age.

Here are a few safety tips to help keep your family safe in the water this summer:

The first step in water safety is to stay close, stay alert, and watch closely.

  • Never leave your child unattended near the water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other things that can trap them.
  • Have a means of contacting emergency services at all times.
  • Don’t rely on floaties, inflatable toys, or pool noodles for life preserving.
  • Share your personal safety instructions with family, friends, or neighbors so everyone is on the same page.

Teach, learn, and practice water safety.

  • Teach your children to swim and identify their limits.
  • Learn CPR for children and adults and update those skill regularly.
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in an emergency.
  • Swim with a buddy; there’s safety in numbers!
  • Avoid alcohol. It impairs your judgement and coordination.
  • Enter the water feet first. It’s not always easy to determine water depth.
  • Always be aware of body temperature; don’t get too hot and don’t swim if it’s too cold. This can hinder your ability and motor skills.

When you’re swimming in a river or lake, make sure your skill are top notch—this isn’t the same kind of swimming you do in a pool. The earlier in the summer the more uncertain the currents of a river will be so use caution. Always enter the water feet first as you don’t know the depth and it’s harder to gauge when you can’t see the bottom.

Make sure you know that rivers, lakes, and streams are natural bodies of water and as such, there can be any number of things that could injure or drown you. Watch for:

  • Tree limbs
  • Boulders
  • Weeds
  • Logs
  • Trash

These things can hinder your ability to swim as well as you otherwise might. Wear a life jacket just to be sure!

Swim safe and have fun!

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.

 

As the warm weather begins to wane, many snowbirds begin preparing, at least mentally, to head to the Sunbelt state of their choosing. For others, being home for the spring and summer around friends and family makes it hard to want to leave. You don’t want to miss the beauty and reverence of a crisp autumn morning; you don’t want to miss spending the holidays with your family; you definitely don’t want to be here when the snow starts to fall. That begs the question: when is the right time to fly south for the winter? As they say, timing is everything, so how do you know when that timing is right?

 

Honestly, that question is really about personal preference, but there are a couple things you might want to consider.

 

 

Location:

Yes, you’re trading in snow boots and mittens for flip flops and sunglasses, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t particular patterns of weather where you’re going that need to be looked into. For example, in Florida, November has the lowest amount of rainfall so that might be a perfect time to head south. The beaches are usually the least populated during the late fall as well. You’ll be able to settle in before tourists arrive.

 

 

 

Method of Travel:

 

Many snowbirds choose to either rent or own a home in both states in which they reside. This makes it easier to readjust to either location. The packing and unpacking is less intensive, there are many cost-effective living options that are designated for dual living, and you won’t have to worry about cross-country travel accommodations. Considering airfare and finding the best prices can impact the time someone might leave.

 

 

The melting snow and the familiar yet welcome sounds of chirping birds can only mean one thing: summer is on its way! The birds are back and it’s time for the snowbirds to return as well. Yes, we do have summer in Minnesota and it’s time to start thinking about setting up your summer home. There’s a lot of prepping that goes into setting up your summer home, but the good news is that it’s (mostly) FUN prepping!

 

 

Home Prepping

Preparing your summer home when you arrive is a fairly simple process once you compile a list of things you need to accomplish. Sometimes it’s things you wouldn’t have even thought of.

  • Make sure you’ve updated any home security measures you have in place.
    • Check the locks on your doors and windows to ensure they haven’t rusted or damaged over the winter months.
    • If you have a home security system, make sure it’s up-to-date and that you have the codes you need.
  • Double check all of your first aid kits and emergency supplies.
    • Summer storms can be intense so flashlights and batteries are important.
    • Restock first aid kits if anything is expired or running low.
  • Prepare for pest control.
    • The summer heat creates the perfect conditions for cockroaches, ants, bees, and other household pests. Protect your windows, doors, and foundation from invasive bug entry.
  • Consider how you’ll clean when you arrive.
    • You may need to buy new cleaning products or replenish what you already have.
    • Open your windows! The warm weather lends itself beautifully to air out that musty winter smell from your home.
    • Do you need to buy new bedding or did you store your summer bedding in the house? If it was stored over the winter you’ll probably need to wash it.
  • Plan for some outdoor cleanup.
    • Your gutters and downspouts may need to be cleaned. Leaf and debris clogged gutters can lead to leaks and damage from summer storms.
    • Yard maintenance may be something you need to consider depending on where you’re living.

Now that you’ve done the home prepping and you’re settling in, it’s time to consider the scheduling factors to setting up your summer home.

 

Schedule Prepping

Since you’re home for the summer your friends and family will be excited to spend as much time with you as possible. Preparing your schedule in advance will help with the chaos associated with houseguests.

  • Prepare for houseguests.
    • Set up spare bedrooms and bathrooms.
    • Restock your fridge and cupboards.
  • Do some entertaining!
    • Plan your guest arrivals with events around town.
  • Summer home community events
    • If you live at a summer home community you and your guests will never be bored. The abundance of things to do might actually need to be planned ahead of time.
    • Clearing your schedule or planning around events and guests is a good idea. This will allow you to plan which events and activities you want to attend.

 

After all of that planning and prepping you’re ready for summer! Setting up your summer home is basically another element of settling in. You’re home again. Enjoy the weather with your family and friends from the comfort of your summer home.

Some snowbirds go back and forth between the same seasonal jobs every year. Others try new adventures and move around every season. The great thing is that there is an abundance of seasonal work opportunities that snowbirds can tap into. Here are just a few of the many opportunities available to snowbirds.

 

Campground Host

Campground hosts, or workampers, manage campgrounds across the country. In exchange for a free site to pitch a tent or park an RV they perform small tasks – greet guests, answer questions, do routine maintenance, light cleaning, and possibly collect campground fees. It’s an easy job that anyone who enjoys traveling, living outdoors, and not paying a mortgage can do. You can commit for a season or only for a few weeks, but you always get to move on to someplace that’s just as cool as the last.

Campground hosts can find jobs by contacting parks or RV campsites. Check with state and government groups like the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, or the US Forest Service. Also look into jobs with private companies like KOA, Recreation Resource Management or Aramark. These companies employ a large number of campground hosts across the country. Private companies are more likely to pay you for your services, while a government site will want volunteers.

 

Pet Sitter

Do you consider yourself to be a dog lover? Are you willing to welcome a stranger’s dog into your home? Would you prefer to leave your 9 to 5 job, have a flexible schedule, and get paid to play with dogs? If you answered yes to any of these, then it’s time to find a job in the peer-to-peer pet sitting niche.

By using specific smartphone apps such as Rover or DogVacay, Pet owners can search for pet sitters by zip code or location. They can browse pet sitter profiles that highlight experience, property type, dog details, certifications, rates, services, and other information. Then they select the best person for the job, coordinate further arrangements via the app or website, and drop off their dog. Anyone can do it – students, retirees, stay-at-home moms, freelancers, families, and dog lovers. It’s easy to work part-time, full-time, or whenever you want. There is never any pressure to work, but the more you work, the more you can make.

 

Resort Employee

Resorts of all shapes and sizes across the Sunbelt increase their staff during winter months. You might find work in any number of capacities, from bartender or gardener to parking valet or room cleaner. If you love golf, there might be openings in the pro shop or as a groundskeeper. Boaters should check out marinas for odd jobs. Gambling fans can investigate Gulf Coast casinos. Fitness professionals such as massage therapists and Pilates instructors may find seasonal jobs with a resort’s spa operations.

 

Seasonal Retail

Most malls and retail outlets need extra hands during the holiday season and if you’re a pro at customer service, pop into stores you think you’ll enjoy working and ask about opportunities. Lots of local businesses and stand-alone chains need additional help through the holidays and sometimes beyond, and you may be able to land a gig super close to home by broadening your search.

 

Restaurant Staff

The food and beverage industry covers a wide variety of restaurants. They cover different menus, preparation styles, prices, atmospheres, and goals. From fine dining to fast food, nearly everyone goes out to enjoy a restaurant once in a while. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that has been successful for centuries. Yes, restaurants come and go, but people are always looking for a good meal, some snacks, or a cup of coffee.

 

If there are restaurants near you, you can find jobs like these. You can also find these jobs at most restaurants around the world. Lodges, resorts, casinos, hotels, national parks, cruise ships, franchise restaurants, grocery stores, airports, and fine dining establishments are always in need of people like you.

What to pack, store or leave behind is a huge issue when deciding to head South for the winter. We advise creating a list of essentials beforehand.  However, many people often forget. So, we’ve provided one for you!

  1. Bring all of your important documents.

Packing all of your important documents is essential in the case of an emergency or simply to help clear up any of those little life problems that can happen anywhere. Documents to bring include insurance policies (health, car, home, rental, and any other insurance you have), tax documents for preparing your tax return, and any medical history and list of pharmaceuticals you may use (see #2 below). It also means anything relating to your home and your home away from home, including leases and utility information.

Also, make sure you have your bank cards, checkbook and contact information for important people (e.g. your landlord, handyman, neighbors, doctor and dentist, emergency contact, etc.) in your winter location as well as back home. By scanning or taking photos of key documents, you can save some space and avoid ruining some of the most valuable papers in your life. Save them on a secure software program so you can access them with your digital devices wherever you are.

2. Be proactive about your prescriptions

Prescriptions can get complicated when you travel. For example, if you have a prescription for Schedule II drugs — which generally include opioid painkillers, steroids or drugs that may cause dependence — it may be tough to get your prescription refilled out-of-state. Schedule III, IV and V drugs, on the other hand, can often be filled at any pharmacy if your doctor faxes a prescription. If possible, consider coordinating the transfer of your pharmacy provider from up north to down south before you leave.

Paying is where things vary. If you have insurance through a national provider network, the answer to whether or not your coverage carries over to a different state is usually “yes.” If you have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the answer is “probably.” If you use Medicare, things get fuzzier and you may need supplemental insurance to be safe. AARP has a good checklist on out-of-state Medicare issues you should look over.

It’s easiest if you just discuss this with your pharmacist when packing and planning. If you can legally purchase a long-term supply of your prescription drugs before leaving, you can cross medicine off of your packing list and avoid living in fear that you may be without your meds.

3. Consider your hobbies

Whether you’ll be passing your time in the same ways you do at home or using your new location as an opportunity to try out different hobbies and entertainment options, figure out what supplies you’ll need to bring with you. It may be that equipment can be easily rented or bought where you’re heading. If not, you’ll have to pack your own. Think about whether you’ll want specific books, arts, craft supplies or kitchen gadgets as well.

This will also include items for the road like MP3 players, laptops, books, games, and puzzles. If you plan on reading a lot on the way or after arrival, you should consider adding a tablet or e-reader to your packing list. Amazon’s 8GB Kindle Fire, for example, can hold over 6,000 books, saving you a little room. Also, don’t forget any recreational items like fishing poles, hiking gear, golf clubs, sporting goods, exercise gear and tennis or Pickleball racquets.

 

4. Don’t forget your chargers

Phones, laptops, cameras, and the like are obviously important, but in the bustle of packing, don’t neglect the chargers, cords, and extra batteries that keep your electronics going. Yes, you can almost certainly buy replacements for these things, but it’s easier to avoid the inconvenience and costs by packing them in the first place.

Seasonal migration offers the best of both worlds. It gives you the opportunity to keep ties to your family and friends while also enjoying a change in scenery during seasons you’d rather avoid. While being a snowbird is great, it can come with certain challenges that must be overcome. Here are some tips on what to consider helping ensure that you retire successfully as a snowbird.

Where should you go?

This is a very personal decision because you must consider what type of person you are. Think about what you like to do and where you like going. Do you prefer going to shows and eating out, or would you rather enjoy the outdoors and grill your food? It’s important to think about these things to ensure you’re comfortable where you’re staying and to find a place where the people living there enjoy the same things as well. With an abundance of locations to choose from across the nation, it becomes easier to find a place that you’ll thoroughly enjoy for part of the year.

How long should you stay?

This really goes hand in hand with the first question. Where you choose to go for your second home, and where you’re coming from, will determine how long you should, or could stay. If you’re coming from the North to avoid the winters, which is usually the case, around 6 months is about the average time snowbirds stay south. This provides ample time to enjoy the beautiful summer season in the north while avoiding the colder weather during winters. If the season of concern is a month early or late, it’s common to change to a 5/7 month schedule as well. Be flexible so you can enjoy the season how you want to spend it.

Should you fly or drive?

Sometimes driving is really just not worth the hassle. If it’s looking like you’d have to drive multiple days to reach your second home, you may want to consider flying. Many times, snowbirds find a good place to store their vehicles, disconnect the battery, and leave it behind for the season. It really depends on the costs of each. Calculate how much it’d cost to drive versus fly and choose the cheaper alternative. This is your first step in saving money throughout the year.

Take care of your mail

The post office will forward mail with a beginning and end date, making it easier to continuously receive your mail.

Turn off everything

This means water and everything electrical. Make absolutely sure that nothing is leaking, even the smallest leak will add up over several months. Also turn off the water heater if you have one as the tank will burn when the water has run out. Water damage can be expensive; this’ll create some piece of mind when you’re gone. When unplugging electrical appliances, unplug everything. Even if you don’t think it’d take much juice, just like water, it can definitely add up in cost over several months and no one wants to come back home to ridiculous expenses when they weren’t even there.

Think of your services

Most services such as TV, internet, phone, and garbage can be turned to a “vacation/hibernation” setting. When done, the services will be stalled and unable to use but you won’t be disconnected entirely. All you have to do when returning is make a call to turn everything back on and you’re good to go. There may be small fees with using this setting but it’s often much more costly to leave the services on or to restart the service when returning. The vacation setting is definitely something to look into and can save you a good sum of money.

Make it look like you’re home

Alarm systems are good to have but are intended to go off when a thief arrives to your home. It’s a good idea to make it look like someone is living there so no one thinks it’d be easy to rob. Leave the blinds open a crack, decorate the front door before leaving, or tell your delivery person not to leave a pile at your door so it’s not obvious. Also try to get some neighbors or relatives to check on your house every now and again to ensure all is well there.

With all of these tips and things to consider, you should have a good idea on what you’ll need to know when deciding to become a snowbird and retire in style living the life that you want.

If you’d like to see how Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi could fit into your retirement plans, just give us a call at: 320-743-3133, email us at: tccomoffice@gmail.com, or check out our website at: www.travelerscconmiss.com.