Current hurricane warning: Hurricane Lane, Hawaii.
Hurricanes are never good, but especially if they happen while you’re travelling in an unknown place. Flash floods, extreme winds and destructive waves wreak havoc on a coastline and cause many repercussions throughout the world and on your travel plans. Here are some general facts and tips on travelling during Hurricane season.
Hurricane season runs from June to November, with peak time from August to October, so with that in mind, it is as important as ever to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to any potential risky area. Purchasing cancel-for-any-reason, medical and evacuation (if that isn’t included in your medical plan) would be your best bet. You want to be covered if the storm hits the day after you book your flight, the day before you leave, or while you’re there. Be sure to scrutinize the fine print on your existing insurances though, as many credit cards cover certain cancellations or lost luggage, while some home plans cover your belongings while you’re away with them as well. Then fill in the gaps of what isn’t covered with travel plans! Even if you aren’t traveling to a directly at-risk area, keep in mind that the plane you might be booked on could be coming from an at-risk area, meaning you could face delays anywhere in the world. One reassuring aspect of Hurricanes is that meteorologists are able to quite accurately predict when they will hit well ahead of time, so you hopefully won’t get stuck in one!
Many airlines may waive fees and fare differences for travellers to reschedule their flights in the event of any natural disaster, but you don’t want to depend on this. If you didn’t purchase travel insurance prior to the naming of the storm, it will be too late. Similarly, if you’ve prepared for a hotel or excursion plans already, they are most likely closed due to the storm temporarily, so don’t expect a refund to come right away if you are entitled to one.
There are also many apps and websites available to monitor existing, upcoming and potential storms. RadarCast, Storm Shield, Dark Sky and Weather Underground are all great options if you really want to stay up to date on any risks- with notifications coming straight to your phone in live time. If it seems like you’re headed for trouble, be sure to take out some emergency cash in case the power and internet goes out and you can’t access your bank.
If you are already mid vacation when the storm hits, do not hide in your hotel room. The hotel will have a plan in place, so follow their directions exactly as instructed. Your hotel room most likely has a large glass window, which is at a major risk of shattering, so don’t think you’re better off in the room than wherever the staff wants you to go! If you aren’t able to consult with the hotel, head to any interior room or a stairwell without windows.
After the storm is over, your problems won’t be! The airport may take a few days to reopen, and once it does it will be a gongshow. Travelers should prepare to be staying for a few extra days while they look for a flight or to wait out the rush. The good side to this is that the hotel you were at shouldn’t be booked up, as there won’t be any new guests arriving.
Additionally, even if you’re not travelling to an at-risk destination, any travel at all during hurricane season can be disrupted due to delayed, rerouted and cancelled planes. When travelling anywhere with a connection, be prepared to experience delays or lost luggage. Book a large connection time and have as much as you can, if not everything, in your carry-on.
Overall, you shouldn’t avoid travelling during hurricane season, just take extra precaution and enjoy the cheaper fares and less crowded beaches!