How willing are you to travel during hurricane season? If you decide to take a risk on the less predictable weather during this time, you can find some great deals out there! Here are some ways you can take advantage of the savings and be prepared for the weather.
1. Don't let the weather stop you
Hurricane season is from June through November, but the chances of a storm hitting exactly where you are on the exact date you are traveling are very low. If the airline or cruise ship cancels, you will get a refund.
2. Consider a cruise
There are great deals on cruises during hurricane season. If you are cruising, and a hurricane is approaching, the crew has fair warning, and can easily divert the ship and head out to sea.
3. Get the right travel insurance
There are many types of policies, and each involves different amounts of risk. Some pay travelers in cash and some in future travel credits; some pay only if the trip is canceled by the supplier or if a storm is named, not if the traveler is just afraid to go because a storm is headed their way. For total peace of mind, you can purchase a "cancel for any reason" policy. Read the fine print on your insurance policy and make sure you understand what is covered and what is not.
4. Be flexible
Be prepared for change and do not let it ruin your trip. On a cruise, for example, the captain will make port changes based on safety. These will vary by trip, but any change is to keep the passengers and crew safe.
5. Factor in buffer time
Plan an extra day or two at the end of the trip, just in case weather does affect your trip.
You don't want the most important business event of your life or a child's wedding to be missed because you are delayed. Think about where you park your car also. Many cruisers returned to Florida to find their cars under water in last year's flooding, because off-site locations are usually ground floor. Pay the extra money and book the on-site garage on a higher level, just as an extra precaution.
6. Take some extra items
Be prepared for an additional travel day or two by bringing extra clothes and medication in case you get delayed flying home. Also keep your iPad, phone charger, medication, and other essentials in your carry-on just in case you and your checked bag become separated. If you are traveling with a companion or a child, put one or two outfits of each person's clothing in each checked bag, so you both have something to wear if one bag gets lost.
7. Use a travel advisor
A travel advisor can provide some extra clout just in case things go wrong. You will find the same prices, and a well-connected travel advisor will book you with reputable companies, which will make a big difference in how you are treated.
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Ann Jones, CTC, MCC