The weather is warming up, the kids are enjoying some time off of school, and it's the perfect time to head out on a vacation. But this beautiful time of year coincides with hurricane season; a risky time to travel for many reasons. With that in mind, we thought we'd offer a few tips on how to plan your trip with hurricane season in mind and what to do should the worst happen.
Officially speaking, hurricane season in the Atlantic and the Caribbean starts on June 1st and goes through November 30th. And while the peak of this season has historically been August-October, hurricanes can of course happen anytime during the entire season. That means you have to be prepared if you choose to travel to any of the affected areas during these popular vacation months.
Thanks to modern meteorology, we all have a good idea many days in advance of when a hurricane is likely to form. Of course we all plan our trips many months and even years in advance, so what do we do if a hurricane is suddenly heading straight towards that beautiful Caribbean resort we've been dreaming about? First, make sure you stay up to date with all warnings well in advance of your trip. An easy way of doing this is signing up for alerts with your airline, but you can also just check the web site for The Climate Prediction Center, who is in the business of predicting storms. Of course, if a major storm is on the way, chances are local and national media will be robustly covering the event as well. Naturally, the best way to prepare for last minute trip cancellations is by having the appropriate level of travel insurance.
First, you need to buy the travel insurance in advance. Taking out a policy AFTER a hurricane warning has been issued is fine, but it also means that your eventual claims will likely be denied. The best practice for any seasoned traveler is to take out the travel insurance when you book your trip. RoamRight's policies cover weather-related natural disasters. Conditions vary by policy, so read the details before you buy, but in general, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage will go into effect when:
- Weather causes a complete cessation of services of Your Common Carrier for at least 24 consecutive hours.
- A Natural Disaster at the site of your destination renders accommodations uninhabitable.
- Local authorities in your destination order a mandatory evacuation due to a hurricane or other Natural Disaster. You must have 50% of Your total Trip length or less remaining on the Trip, at the time the mandatory evacuation ends, in order to cancel the Trip.
- Your arrival on your trip is delayed and you lose 50% or more of the scheduled trip duration due to a reason covered under the trip delay benefit, such as a delay of your Common Carrier due to weather.
We decided to highlight this particular travel style because, thanks to great deals, it's very popular during hurricane season. But, naturally, it's hurricane season, so being prepared for a storm is an important part of booking a cruise. After you make your initial trip deposit, make sure to take out the appropriate level of travel insurance that covers natural disasters and the trip cancellations and delays they can sometimes cause. If a hurricane approaches while you're at sea, the good news is that the ships can reposition to safer waters, usually guaranteeing an uninterrupted trip. If, however, a storm prevents your arrival to the departure port, you may have an issue as cruise line don't have to compensate passengers if they don't arrive at the port, no matter what the conditions. That's one reason why it's smart to build in an extra day or two in advance of the cruise, to take into account any disruptions. That's also why it's vital to take out a RoamRight travel policy; RoamRight policies are much more robust than plans offered by cruise lines. This is your vacation; don't let Mother Nature ruin it.
Be Cautious But Not Scared
As with any trip, you should always be cautious and plan ahead, but that doesn't mean you should be fearful. The summer months are a popular time to travel for a reason - the weather is wonderful! So go ahead and plan that much-needed break, just be sure to do your research and take out the appropriate level of travel insurance beforehand.
Do you have any questions about hurricanes and travel insurance? Let us know in the comments below!