Summer is one of the most popular travel seasons and with good reason – the kids are out of school, the office is quieter, and the weather is great…right? If you’re making plans to visit coastal destinations, keep in mind that summer travel coincides with hurricane season (June 1 – November 30). If your summer travel plans feature a Caribbean or an Atlantic-adjacent destination, consider the following:
Flag your trip. If you’re a U.S. citizen, enroll in the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to register your trip with your destination’s nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Doing so will make it much easier for the U.S. to update you and keep you in touch with family and friends in an emergency.
Maintain access. Make sure you have access to a radio, a TV or a mobile device that can
keep you apprised of severe weather updates. If you have internet access, the National
Hurricane Center website is a great resource for monitoring the status of storms before and during a trip.
Stay in touch. Keep in close contact with tour operators, cruise lines, hotel staff and/or local officials to learn the correct protocol and procedures for inclement weather. Ask about evacuation routes, so you’re prepared to take action should evacuation become necessary on short notice during your tip.
Call ahead. Confirm weather-related cancellation policies with hotels, airlines and booking services. Each service is likely to have its own policies, so it pays to explore each one’s change and refund options. Some hotels in the Caribbean, for example, offer “hurricane guarantees,” while others hold travelers wholly responsible for this risk.
Fuel up. If you’re renting a vehicle at your destination, be sure it always has plenty of fuel. Weather can change quickly and tropical storms may blow in without much warning. You don’t want to have to stop for gas on your way to a safer area, so as possible, stay ahead of the game with a full tank!
Pack travel protection. Some travel insurance plans provide coverage for natural disasters under the Trip Cancellation benefit and will refund prepaid, forfeited, nonrefundable trip costs up to the limit of coverage. Travel Guard plans also come with 24/7 assistance services designed to help rebook cancelled flights and get travelers to safety.
For additional information on hurricanes and other tropical storms, please visit the State
Department’s Natural Disaster website.