How to Vacation During Tropical Storm Season
Are you dreaming of an island vacation but think you can’t afford? You might be surprised to find how affordable this can be if you’re willing to take a chance and plan your vacation during the off season.
Before you reject the idea as crazy, keep in mind that the vast majority of storms that cause travel delays are minor inconveniences to hotels, resorts and other tourist services. Most will recover within a day of a storm. Travelers can weather most storms with good humor, planning and the right equipment.
Review Travel Insurance Options During Hurricane Season
Travel insurance works in different ways during hurricane season, the website TravelInsuranceReview.net says. You want a policy to cover:
Flight and other travel delays
Trip interruptions due to severe weather
Trip cancellations due to a hurricane threatening or destroying the destination; this will also return a “non-refundable” deposit if a cancellation occurs before you depart
If the policy doesn’t include hurricane coverage, get a “cancel for any reason” rider.
Policies must be purchased before a storm is apparent. The travel journalist Peter Green says
the cut-off is usually before a storm develops from a tropical depression into a named storm.
If you worry about costs related to delays — let’s say you live far from an airport — the InsureMyTrip blog says to look for policies that also cover reasonable costs for meals and a hotel stay. Almost all travel insurance policies offer evacuation services and have 24/7 customer telephone assistance.
Get Storm-Proof Equipment
If you are nervous or feeling like your trip might be more than you bargained for, pack some of these suggestions. They’ll help you rise above a storm, should one strike during your stay.
Pack a carry-on with a change of clothes and toiletries in the event your travel plans change after you check your bag.
Rent a satellite phone for your trip. Cell phone towers will get knocked out during a storm but satellite phone services are essentially storm-proof.
Download Yahoo’s free weather app to your cell phone. Also follow the National Weather Services’ live Twitter feeds.
Bring waterproof outerwear. Bring a raincoat or poncho with you and one pair of closed, water-resistant shoes. Don’t bother with an umbrella; it won’t stand a chance with hurricane-force winds. Take a look at PackPoint, an iOS and Android app that looks at the forecast for your destination and recommends what to pack for it.
Ask About Storm-Related Refunds
Some hotels will offer refunds or credit for future stays if a storm forces you to evacuate, so check with the front desk before your departure. Some will even offer a full replacement trip taken within a year.
Some airport hotels will also offer discounts if flights are delayed until the following the morning.
Register with the Local US Consulate & Listen to Local Authorities
Before you leave, register with the local U.S. Consulate or Embassy at your destination. The State Department has a website for this purpose.
Keep in mind, local authorities manage disasters. Well-managed resorts and hotels are experts on handling hurricanes, so follow their instructions and advice.