Rough Waters Ahead: How to Plan Your Beach Vacation During Hurricane Season
What you need to know about traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season.
Heading to the Caribbean might be the last thing you want to do after hearing “hurricane season,” but you might want to do just that. While travelers should always consider weather advisories, especially considering the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-normal year, hurricane season can certainly have its perks. Between June 1 and November 30, the official dates of hurricane season, several hotels offer discounted rates, some destinations see fewer tourists and you can often find cheap flights to Caribbean destinations.
From perks to consider to travel insurance tips, here’s what you need to know about traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season.
Choosing Your Destination
Some Caribbean destinations are safer choices than others. The hurricane belt is a region that typically sees severe weather more often, but if you’re prepared with a game plan and travel insurance, it doesn’t have to be a no-go zone. “There are some islands that haven’t had a hurricane in 10+ years like Turks and Caicos, though they are situated within the belt and have the same risk, however unlikely, as other Caribbean islands,” Daniel Marmontello of CheapCaribbean.com says. Your safest bet is to consider islands outside of the hurricane belt. Hurricanes can still strike or send related storms to these islands, like Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, but it’s a lot less likely. More islands outside of the hurricane belt to visit include Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Providencia Island and San Andrés.
“The ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, & Curacao) islands truly are some of the least likely to have bad weather in the Caribbean during hurricane season,” Marmontello says.
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Perks and Benefits to Consider
When traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season, ask hotels what kind of discount rates and severe weather protections they offer. “Discounted hotel and airfare pricing can be as much as 40 percent less than peak season,” Marmontello says. Hurricane season usually means fewer guests, too, which can also mean more beach per person and more attention from the hotel staff. Another reason to visit during hurricane season is you can witness turtle nesting season (March – August). Several hotels such as the Bucuti & Tara Suites invite guests to watch the nesting and hatching on their beach while taking incredible care to ensure the turtles are not disturbed.
Travel Insurance Tips
Hope for the best, and plan for the worst. In the event severe weather strikes and causes flight cancelation or results in you having to cancel your trip entirely, travel insurance can save you from a major disaster.
First, you need to know your coverage options. When purchasing travel insurance, Carol Mueller, vice president of marketing at Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, says travelers should purchase insurance as soon as they put down their initial trip deposit, especially since you never know when bad weather will strike this time of year. Mueller says Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection sees a 40 percent increase in claims across the board during hurricane season. To be covered for hurricane-related incidents, you have to purchase insurance before a storm is named, otherwise, you won’t be eligible to claim. Check out Mueller’s tips on what to consider when traveling to the Caribbean and buying travel insurance.
— Read your Description of Coverage carefully, and make sure you understand what your policy covers for specific weather issues.
— Be flexible with your travel schedule. If bad weather hits your destination, you could be stranded for some time. Try not to schedule important meetings or activities close to your return date. Make sure before you leave that your home is in order and any pets or children left behind will be safe and cared for if your trip is extended.
— If you’re traveling and a hurricane strikes, contact your insurer as soon as possible. Not only will they be able to quickly initiate your claim, they can offer invaluable information, service and support to get you back home quickly and safely. You’re not alone in an emergency with a team of trained travel professionals behind you!
Other good questions to ask about your coverage: Does my policy cover weather-specific issues? Is my travel insurance comprehensive enough? Does it include fixed benefits such as flight cancelations and missed connections?
Time to plan a trip to the Caribbean!