Unfavorable weather while traveling isn’t something you can necessarily anticipate, but you can take extra precautions when you’re traveling to a destination that may have a chance of bad weather that time of year. Sadly, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season has proved to be one of the most catastrophic on record, so it’s worth taking some additional precautions if you are traveling into areas affected by or prone to hurricanes.
The best way to help reduce stress and potential financial issues due to traveling when bad weather hits is to purchase travel insurance beforehand. Some hotels and airlines may have favorable cancellation policies in place, but if the storm hits while you are on the trip, you may not have any recourse. Travel insurance can offer options allowing you to end your trip early or cancel outright if you’re scheduled to depart for a destination that is expected to receive a major storm in the coming days. It is important to note that travel insurance must be purchase prior to the storm.
Remember that the Caribbean is not the only region prone to catastrophic weather. Parts of Asia are subject to Pacific Ocean typhoons, and cyclones strike popular destinations in the South Pacific. When you throw in other natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, a RoamRight travel insurance policy is worth the added investment to ensure your yearly vacation doesn’t get ruined.
If you’re already in a destination where an impending storm is likely to hit, call the airline immediately and try to get yourself and family members on the first available flight out. Some people opt to wait until it’s too late, hoping to ride the storm out. As the recent 2017 hurricane season has shown, hurricanes are completely unpredictable and can cause catastrophic damage, and/or change course suddenly.
Travelers who contact the airline as soon as a risk is announced have a better chance of getting out on a scheduled flight versus the people who wait until the last minute. The fear of missing out due to cutting your vacation short if the storm doesn’t hit isn’t necessarily worth being stranded for days or weeks.
If you’re staying put during a storm, get supplies as soon as any weather risk is announced. Don’t wait until the last minute to get extra water, flashlights, batteries, etc. Even if you’re in a hotel, it’s worth picking up extra water and non-perishable food items to have on hand since you have no idea what the situation will be like following the storm. Stores sell out of supplies quickly, and while it may be expensive to purchase additional water and food that you may not end up needing, it’s worth the peace of mind if you find yourself without power and access to food and water for days or weeks.
You can always donate the unused supplies after the weather risk has passed, or give them to hotel staff who may be in need as well.
In many cases, people who find themselves at the receiving end of a nasty weather situation on vacation are fearful that it’s also going to hit them back home if they live in the storm’s path. If you’re leaving on vacation, always ensure your own home is ready for a storm. Have adequate supplies already stocked and storm shutters on.
Leave all your travel information and details with trusted family members and friends so they know exactly where you are. Phone service may be disrupted after a major weather incident and they can look at news reports to see damage in your immediate area if you are unable to make contact right away.
Lastly, be sure to register for STEP, the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive information from the embassy about travel alerts and safety information for destinations you plan on visiting. This also helps the embassy reach you during times of emergency.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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