Taking summer vacations when the schools are out is a great idea to keep your family entertained. Getting away for some sunshine is a great idea, but as you may know summer time counts as “off-season” for many tropical destinations which means you’re also likely to find good deals.
Travel agents and vacation providers are always trying to tempt budget conscious travellers with low prices during the off season, and bloggers will often extol the virtues of travel at this time of year. Low prices, shorter lines, fewer crowds and cheaper flights– what’s not to love, right? But have you ever wondered why off-season is so cheap? Well, despite what some people say, it’s got little to do with school vacations and everything to do with the weather.
You see, June 1st to November 30th is hurricane season in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Though the peak time, so to speak, is between August and October there is still a (slightly lower) risk of being caught at either end of the season.
However, despite all the media coverage about the damage hurricanes cause, travel companies will still try to tempt you with deals and little extras. If you think it’s worth the risk then you should read our top 6 tips for how to make sure a hurricane doesn’t ruin your valuable vacation time!
- Check the small print for cancellation options
It used to be fairly normal for hotels and resorts in the hurricane-prone areas to have guarantees in place should a hurricane hit, but these are not so common these days. Most airlines will still waive the change fees if your flight is grounded due to a hurricane, and will allow you to rebook within a certain time, but you need to make sure your resort will allow you the same provisions. For example, if you’re renting a beach condo you should check the rental contract to see if the landlord will reimburse you should an evacuation be ordered during your stay. Most won’t.
- Determine how to abandon your trip
It’s one thing to cancel a trip before you go, but it’s an entirely different kettle of fish to be caught by a hurricane once you’re in your vacation destination. It’s key that you look into the details of your flights and accommodation so that you know what is and isn’t an option in this event. You should be safe hunkering down and waiting out a hurricane, but you won’t have the perfect family vacation!
- Buy travel insurance
Travel insurance is always a must, but when you’re travelling in hurricane season it’s definitely a necessity. Basic coverage should ensure that you’ll get back all pre-paid costs if a hurricane renders your accommodation uninhabitable, but you should consider investing in the kind of cover that will get you a full refund should you need to cancel.
- Do a little emergency planning
Planning for the worst case scenario might seem pessimistic, but if you’re going to a hurricane prone country during peak season then you’re going to need an emergency plan.
- Ensure you have a simple travel medical portfolio to hand for each person
- Have a basic travel medical kit with you just in case someone needs medical attention and you can’t get to a doctor.
As always your very best bet is to simply avoid being caught in a storm, if you can, but of course that’s not always feasible. If you’re ordered to evacuate then you should follow orders quickly and to the letter.
- Pay attention to the weather
Though the National Weather Service does put out warnings when a hurricane is on its way you should still look out for the following signs that a hurricane is inbound; storm surges, heavy rainfall, inland flooding and rip tides.
- Have a backup vacation plan
If you have invested in the right kind of travel insurance then you should have a backup vacation in mind. This means that if you think a hurricane is looking likely you can cancel, get your money back and book your backup.
Your vacation time is precious, so you should make sure to take all possible precautions to preserve it.