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hurricane season

What to do when on Vacation in Hurricane Season

The benefits of vacationing “off-season” are often extolled by travel bloggers and experts alike because of the low flight prices, cheap package deals, fewer crowds and shorter lines can all be found off season. Plus the Caribbean off season coincides with the school summer vacation and is a great place to go on a family vacation.

Have you ever wondered, however, just why low season is, well, “low” season? It’s got little to do with the school vacations and a huge amount to do with weather patterns. You see from June 1st to November 30th it is officially hurricane season in the Caribbean, and though the peak season is technically August to October there is still a, reduced, risk of being caught up in a hurricane when vacationing off-season.

If you think it’s worth the risk, however, then you should read our 6 tips designed to make sure that a hurricane doesn’t ruin your vacation.

  1. Check your cancellation options
  2. It used to be pretty much a guarantee that resorts and rental accommodation in the hurricane zones would have guarantees in place for their customers in the event of a hurricane. When hurricanes force planes to be grounded it’s pretty much standard for them to waive change fees and allow people to rebook their flights within a certain amount of time. You should be sure to check that your resort or accommodation will give you the same benefits. For example, if you’re staying in a beach condo you should see if the owner will refund you should you need to evacuate during your stay. Most of them won’t. Likewise as your hotel about their hurricane guarantees.

  3. Determine what to do if you have to abandon your vacation
  4. You should also have a plan for what to do should you find out a hurricane is on the way to your vacation location. It’s one thing to cancel your trip before you go, but finding yourself stuck on vacation while a hurricane bears down on you is another matter all together. Get all the details on your flight and accommodations so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do. While you’ll most likely be safe hunkering down and waiting out the hurricane, it’s not exactly a dream vacation.

  5. Get good travel insurance
  6. The right kind of travel insurance can be a real life saver when a hurricane comes to town. Most basic coverages will ensure you’re reimbursed should your accommodation be rendered entirely uninhabitable by the hurricane, and will cover any medical bills incurred, but it’s worth paying a little extra for “cancellation coverage”. This will guarantee you get a full refund on all pre-paid costs should you cancel for any reason at all.

  7. Do a little emergency planning
  8. Planning for an emergency could save you a real headache if things do go wrong, so be sure that you always: Have a simple travel medical portfolio for everyone who’s travelling with you; make up a basic travel medical kit and keep it on hand in case someone needs medical attention and you can’t get to a doctor.

    Of course it would be better to stay away from hurricanes in general, if you can, but having these small emergency measures in place can be helpful.

  9. Watch the weather channel
  10. Though the National Weather Service keeps an eye out in hurricane season and, of course, will put out warnings it never hurts to have one eye on the weather. Keep an eye out for these signs: rip currents, storm surges, heavy rainfall and high winds. These can all be signs of an upcoming hurricane.

  11. Think of a Plan B, just in case
  12. If you have wisely invested in an insurance plan that covers cancellation as well as damage then you should definitely have a back-up vacation in mind! This means that if a hurricane seems to be likely you can cancel your booked vacation, get your money back and still have the option of booking your back up. After all you want to want to make the most of your vacation time; it’s very precious!

How to Stop Hurricane Season Ruining your Vacation

Tropical destinations are a great choice for summer vacations, but what you might not have realized is that the summer months is hurricane season for many. Travel agents and experts recommend traveling “off-season” for many different reasons. Firstly you’ll find that there are fewer crowds, cheaper flights, shorter lines for attractions and better resort prices. But have you ever considered why it is considered “off-season”? Well, despite what some people think, it has nothing to do with school vacations and everything to do with the weather because in tropical nations winter is hurricane season.

The Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season begins, officially, at the very beginning of June (around the 1st) and ends at the very end of November. From August to October is generally considered hurricane “peak” season and, as such, poses the highest risk. Vacationing at either end of the season still poses a risk of getting caught in a hurricane, but it’s a much lower one.

Hurricane season has become the time when travel agents and vacation suppliers try to tempt budget conscious travellers with great deals despite the media coverage of hurricanes. If you’re one of those price savvy shoppers then we have some tips to help you ensure that a hurricane won’t ruin your Caribbean vacation.

  1. Check the small print for cancellation options
  2. Traditionally speaking most hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals within hurricane areas have what are called “hurricane guarantees”, but in recent years they’ve started to disappear. What these guarantees mean is that, if a hurricane is imminent and flights are grounded, many airlines will waive the usual change fees and let you rebook within a certain time. If you’re renting a beach house then check your rental contract to see if the owner will reimburse you should an evacuation take place during your stay (most won’t), and if you’re staying at a resort remember to ask them about their hurricane guarantees.

  3. Determine how to abandon your trip
  4. Be sure to check the details of your lodgings and flights to get a good idea of what can and cannot be done in the event of a hurricane because it’s one thing to cancel before you get there, but it’s entirely different to be there when a hurricane lands. Most likely you’ll be safe riding out the hurricane in your resort, but most likely you won’t have the vacation you wanted.

  5. Buy travel insurance
  6. Travel insurance is always a must have, but this is especially the case when you’re travelling in hurricane season. Hurricane coverage can ensure you’re reimbursed for all pre-paid costs if your destination or primary residence is rendered totally uninhabitable by the hurricane. If you add “cancel for any reason” coverage you can get your money back even if the resort isn’t completely destroyed. The right travel insurance plan can do wonders!

  7. Do a little emergency planning
  8. Doing some emergency planning can do a lot to ensure that you ride out uncomfortable situations with a degree of ease.

    • Make sure you have a simple travel medical portfolio for each member of your party.
    • Have a basic travel medical kit to hand just in case someone needs medical care.

    You’re really best to avoid travelling in hurricane season if you can, but if you’re already there and a hurricane is on its way you might be ordered to evacuate. If you are then be sure to follow all instructions you’re given quickly and without argument; the authorities are used to dealing with these situations.

  9. Pay attention to the weather
  10. Keeping one eye on the weather is a critical part of staying on top of the situation. Hurricane hazards can come in many forms including unusually heavy rainfall, storm surges, inland flooding, rip tides, and high winds. The National Weather Service does keep on top of these indicators, and issues warning where and when appropriate, but nonetheless it’s still a good idea to pay attention to the weather if you’re travelling in hurricane season.

  11. Have a backup vacation plan
  12. If you don’t get a lot of vacation time you’ll want to be certain that you’re going to get away, and as such it’s best to have a back-up plan. Get “cancel for any reason” cover for your Caribbean trip and have a backup in mind so that if you think a hurricane is drawing in you can cancel, book your backup and still have a great vacation.