Hurricane Travel Advice: What to Do About Your Trip After Harvey and Irma3 min read
You’ve waited all year for a dream vacation with your family. Maybe you’re going to Disney World in Florida or plan to spend a relaxing week sipping fruity drinks on a Caribbean beach while the kids play in the waves. You followed the advice of your travel agent, rolled the dice, and booked your travel plans for the “off peak” season — when there could be the chance for a hurricane.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t hear about your much-needed vacation and a hurricane is barreling down on your plans. What do you do now?
Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have caused mass destruction this hurricane season. Much of the Caribbean has been devastated, and the storms could cost the U.S. economy nearly $290 billion in lost property and reconstruction costs. Keeping yourself out of harm’s way and minimizing your own personal financial loss will obviously be top-of-mind if you have or had a vacation planned during these hurricanes — or any of the other hurricanes that could materialize on the horizon this season.
Here’s what to do.
Review Your Hotel’s Hurricane Policy
Before you book a hotel in an area prone to hurricanes, check their hurricane policy. You can usually find the policy on the hotel’s website in an FAQ section. While you likely won’t be reimbursed if a hurricane hits during your intended stay, many hotels will allow you to reschedule your stay for another date.
Typically, to qualify, a hurricane warning will have to be issued for your travel dates by an organization such as the National Hurricane Center or the National Weather Service.
While you’ll be able to travel at another time, you’ll still experience some inconvenience. Most hotels will not honor any discounts or special packages if they expired after your original travel dates.
Get Travel Insurance Early
If you’re traveling to an area during a time when hurricanes are common, it’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance will give you some protection if your trip is canceled, delayed, interrupted, or if you miss a connection due to the weather. Travel health insurance is also a good idea since it can help you find the care you need if an injury or illness occurs while you’re traveling.
However, don’t wait to get travel insurance until the last minute. Many policies will cover you in an “unforeseen” weather event, like a hurricane that hits months after you book your travel plans. If you try to buy that insurance a few days before leaving and a named storm is already approaching, this is no longer an “unforeseen” storm.
Don’t Give Up Too Quickly
If you’re already at your destination when bad weather hits, you should check with your hotel and your travel insurance policy on what’s covered. A few rainy and windy days may spoil your good time, but they are not typically covered by a hotel policy or insurance policy unless it is an official hurricane. Instead, grab a deck of cards, go to the local movie theater, or find another indoor activity to pass the time while the rain falls.
Listen to the Authorities and Be Prepared
When a hurricane approaches, don’t ignore the advice of authorities if you’re advised to evacuate. While it may mean the end of your vacation and be an unfortunate drain on your wallet, your personal safety is paramount.
You should also bring a few simple emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit, in case you’re stuck away from home for longer than expected. It’s also a good idea to bring your basic medical records, especially if you have an existing health condition.