Hot Pink Travel
7 tips for traveling during hurricane season.
The winds blow and the rains come hard, but there are some great deals out there for travelers who are willing to take their chances with the less predictable weather that September and October can bring.
Still, if ever there is a time to be prepared, hurricane season is it. We asked some smart travel agents for tips on traveling when the weather is iffy, and here's what they suggested.
1. Don't let it stop you
Hurricane season runs from June through November, but weather is unpredictable and the chances of a storm hitting where you are on the exact date you are traveling are very low. If the airline or cruise ship cancels, you will get a refund; if the area is considered unsafe, you will have the option to cancel.
Cruise lines adjust the stops and route if they see a storm might hit the area.
2. Consider a cruise
There are great deals on cruises — and indeed, you might be better off at sea than on land. If you are cruising, and a hurricane is looming, they have fair warning, with the weather technology available, and can easily outrun the storms and head out to sea. It's often preferred over having someone stuck on land.
Another piece of advice: Pick a destination that is less likely to be hit. It's a big globe out there. If you are concerned about storms, consider Hawaii, Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao.
3. Get the right travel insurance
There are many types of policies, and each involves different amounts of risk. Some pay travelers in cash and some in future travel credits; some pay only if the trip is canceled by the supplier or if a storm is named, not if the traveler is just afraid to go because a storm is headed their way. I encourage my clients to purchase a good 'Cancel for ANY Reason' policy. Also consider that while a travel agent can explain and suggest which insurance to choose, the traveler is the one buying the insurance. They need to follow up by reading the fine print and making sure they understand what is covered and what is not.
4. Go with the flow
Be prepared for change and do not let it ruin your trip. On a cruise, for example, the captain will make changes based on safety. These will vary by trip. His job is to keep the passengers and crew safe.
If you are cruising, take a look at some other ports that aren't in your current itinerary, just in case your ship gets rerouted, That way, you will have an idea about what to do in other destinations.
5. Factor in buffer travel time
Consider ways in which a possible hurricane might affect your trip. Travel out a day or two in advance in order to give yourself more buffer time, especially since you have some dealing with tornadoes or big storms near home while also worrying about hurricanes during the trip. Leave an extra day or two at the end of the trip, as well. You don't want the most important business event of your life or a daughter's wedding to be missed because you are delayed.
6. Take some extra items
Be prepared for an additional travel day or two by bringing extra clothes and medication in case you get delayed flying home. Also keep your iPad, phone charger, medication and other essentials in your carry-on if you are changing planes on a bad-weather day, lest you and your checked bag become separated. If you are traveling with a companion or a child, put one or two outfits of each person's clothing in each checked bag, so you both have something to wear if one bag gets lost.
7. Choose travel providers with extra clout
A well-connected travel agent and a reputable hotel company can make a big difference in how a traveler is treated. The better the resort, the more that is done to care for the clients.
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