Hurricane season is upon us – and some of the world’s most popular destinations are located right in the middle of hurricane zones. Caribbean islands, Florida, and other beaches on the eastern coastline can all experience the torrential rains and high winds of a tropical storm.
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to the end of November, and you can’t predict very far ahead of time when a hurricane will hit your chosen vacation spot. But you don’t have to cancel your trip to New Orleans, Bermuda, or Miami this July just because you’re concerned about a hurricane. By being prepared, you can stay safe and still enjoy your trip. Before leaving, here are some things you should know.
- Hurricanes are usually pretty predictable.
Overall, it’s pretty rare that a hurricane will take a city completely off guard. Most of the time, meteorologists can predict a hurricane at least a week ahead of time. They can also tell how severe the storm will be. If you’re worried about it, keep an eye on the weather before deciding whether or not to go on your trip.
- Most hurricanes are pretty mild.
Not all hurricanes will rip up houses and demolish cities. A great deal of storms are highly reminiscent of a thunderstorm. You don’t want to be out sightseeing in these conditions, but you’d be safe to stay inside your hotel room.
- Use weather apps to monitor the situation.
You can watch the weather in your destination of choice before heading out with apps like RadarCast, Storm Shield, Weather Underground, and Dark Sky. Then, you can keep an eye on the readings daily. If it looks like a storm is heading your way, you can get updates on the severity and decide whether or not you want to try to leave. These apps will also send you warnings when you need to find shelter quickly.
- Travel insurance can offer some peace of mind.
When booking a vacation during hurricane season, include travel insurance. It will cover your flight and hotel if you have to rebook because of a severe storm. Additionally, if your stuff gets trashed in a hurricane while you’re on a vacation, some policies have a contingency fund to cover the damages.
- Avoid peak hurricane season.
Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but the peak of the season is from late August to late October. This isn’t a particularly convenient time of year for travel anyway, so most people won’t have to worry about vacations during this time.
- Bring cash with you in case of an emergency.
If the power goes out because of a hurricane, it means no credit card readers. You’ll want some cash on hand to cover food and travel expenses as you work your way home.
- Book a hotel with hurricane forgiveness policies.
Some hotels will offer a no-hassle vacation replacement package. In the event of a hurricane, they’ll either refund your stay or allow you to book another vacation for the same amount of days within a calendar year. These hotels may be a little pricier, but it’s worth it if it secures your investment.
- Visit some of the hurricane-free islands.
Some places are less of a target for hurricanes than others, primarily in the southern part of the Caribbean, outside of the hurricane belt. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao rarely experience hurricanes and would be ideal destinations for your summer vacation.
- Know the procedure during a hurricane.
If you end up in a hurricane while on your vacation in New Orleans or somewhere in the Caribbean, know what to do. Most hotels have an escape plan in each room, but you can ask the concierge if you have other questions about that plan.
The most dangerous part of a hurricane is not the high winds but the flooding. For that reason, always seek high ground and avoid getting stuck in a room with few exits, such as your hotel room. Recognize your escape routes and act quickly when a warning comes.
- Most people who book trips during hurricane season go without a hitch.
Hurricanes can be catastrophic, but most of the time, they’re mild. Additionally, they’re not extremely common, and most people don’t have to change their travel plans. For that reason, travel is still recommended during this time of the year as long as you’re prepared for the possibility of changing your plans last minute.