Many people travel during hurricane season, and for a great deal of reasons. Therefore, having some hurricane smarts can’t hurt!
In the last month however, we have seen a lot of destruction due to hurricanes. This year seems to be one of the worst for damage to many of the vacation hot spots. This blog is to help you understand a bit more about hurricane season in the Caribbean, and learn about some things you can do to ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch!
So, don’t stress too much if you are thinking about planning a trip during hurricane season. Being prepared can help take the worries away if something does come up!
Why do People Travel During Hurricane Season?
Hotel and Airfare Deals
Many airlines and hotels offer reduced pricing for this season. Keep in mind that many countries rely on tourism for their economy to strive, so reducing the cost of hotel prices helps ensure people keep on coming! If you are looking to go somewhere at a cheaper price, check out the great deals during this season!
Often times, beaches and excursions are not as busy during hurricane season. Of course, tour operators and other marketing agencies do not want to draw attention to potential bad weather, but they will certainly market the savings on their services! This is a great time to take advantage of them as they can fill up quick or be a bit more money during the more popular seasons.
Hurricane season corresponds with rainy season, but if you have travelled to one or more of the Caribbean countries before, you will know that the rain comes in bursts and quickly disperses. So, if it does start to rain, don’t fret! The rain will likely clear up quickly and you can get back to enjoying your sunny vacation and working on that tan!
As you are Planning
If you are at the planning stage of your vacation, give these tips some thought so that you are prepared should anything come up before (or even after) your departure.
- Hurricane season in Exuma is June 1 to November 30.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Make sure you buy a policy that will meet your needs! Here are some of the common ones:
Trip cancellation – if the reason for cancelling your trip is covered under your policy, you can recover up to 100% of your pre-paid non-refundable trip costs if a hurricane wreaks havoc on your holiday.
Trip interruption – this coverage kicks in after you depart from home and it reimburses you for unused pre-paid travel expenses and unexpected additional costs if you have to cut your trip short to avoid a hurricane.
Missed connections – if you miss your connecting flight or cruise due to a hurricane, this coverage will kick in.
Travel delay – this coverage will reimburse you for reasonable expenses if you are delayed over a certain number of hours as a result of hurricane-caused travel delays.
***Remember that every insurance company and every policy wording is different, so make sure you read the coverages to ensure you are purchasing ones that work for you!***
Download Weather Apps on your Mobile
There are many great apps you can get on majority of phones these days. Some of them go as far as tracking your phone’s GPS and keeping you in the loop on weather updates while you travel. You will always be in the know if there is something brewing that could be a risk to your vacation. Be on top of it by utilizing these informative sources! If there is a threat to your safety, you will know about it right away.
Check out some of these apps:
- Radar Cast
- Dark Sky
It might be a good idea to put these apps on your phone before you depart, in case you are unable to download while you are on vacation.
Booking through a Travel Agent
If you are one of those travelers who does not want to worry about checking their apps, or you simply like to take a break from technology while on vacation, consider booking through a travel agent rather than on your own. A travel agent can keep on top of weather alerts and inform you if there is an imminent risk to your vacation or safety. They will be able to help secure you on a flight home before a hurricane hits. This way, you can sit back and relax on your vacation without having to worry about checking your weather tracker app.
- Check with different travel agencies to see what kind of services they offer to their clients once the vacation package is booked.
Know your Cancellation Options
Travel with some Cash on Hand
It is advisable to travel with some cash in case the power goes out. This can happen during any storm, let alone a hurricane. However, it is better to be prepared just in case. If the power goes out, bank machines and machines that accept credit or debit cards as forms of payment, may not be able to process your payment. Don’t risk getting stuck somewhere!
Country Notification Programs
Depending on which country you are travelling from, it many have an enrollment program that you can register with so that your country can notify you, or the embassy at your destination, to provide important information in preparation for an emergency, including a natural disaster.
- If you are travelling from the U.S.:
Register online for the Safe Traveller Enrollment Program > travel.state.gov
- If you are travelling from Canada:
Register online for the ‘Registration of Canadians Abroad’ Program > travel.gc.ca
Have an Emergency Plan
Whether you are travelling during hurricane season or any other time of the year, it is always recommended to have an emergency plan in place. If an emergency does occur, you want people back home to know how to find you, and to know if you are safe or in need of assistance.
Make sure you can be contacted in case of emergency
- Leave a detailed travel itinerary and contact details with family or friends in Canada
- Provide family or friends with the telephone number for the Emergency Watch and Response Centre through your government
For your own safety
Have a simple travel medical portfolio for each member of your party. This portfolio can include information such as:
- Who to contact in case of emergency
- Any pre-existing medical conditions
- A list of all of your vital medications
- Who will speak for you if you can not speak for yourself?
- Care provider’s information
- Your travel insurance information
- Note if you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant
Have a basic travel medical kit on hand in case someone needs basic medical attention. This can be something as simple as a basic first aid kit that you purchased at home and brought with you, or it can be made to include items such as:
- Prescription medications that are taken daily (in the original containers)
- Favorite over-the-counter meds needed for common illnesses ie: headaches or stomach aches, cuts and minor wounds
- Antibiotics for preventing infection and antiseptic wipes
- Oral rehydration solution packs for treating severe dehydration
- Moleskin, bandages, triple antibacterial cream, and topical anti-fungal cream
- Digital thermometer (less easy to break during travel)
- Insect repellent (with 30-50% DEET)
- Sunscreen and sunburn treatment ie: aloe vera gel
If Your Vacation Has Started
- A few of the above noted suggestions apply to this section as well, such as following the weather apps. In addition to this, there are many social media sites you can follow to be in the loop on the current and changing weather conditions. Keeping on top of this information will help you to decide if you want to end your trip early, or if there will be an evacuation plan in place for you to follow.
- If you booked through a travel agent, they will be able to help you make sure you are where you need to be, and help you leave your vacation spot to return to safety.
- Hotel staff do an amazing job of taking care of their guests through these situations. Remember, they are used to this type of weather and can be considered experts on how to react. So follow their lead and instructions! This is the best thing you can do to ensure your safety.
- If there is a risk of a hurricane, or a hurricane is quickly approaching, check with the hotel staff on where to go and what to do. They will direct you to the safest place to wait out the storm.
- If you are not near hotel staff, or do not have time to get to them take care by finding an interior room or stairwell without windows.
- If an evacuation does occur, be sure to keep in the loop so you can get to the airport and get on one of the rescue flights. The airports tend to fill up quickly as everyone wants to get on the next flight. If you know there is a risk, get in touch with your airline or travel agent promptly to make arrangements and ensure you are on an upcoming flight.
This blog is not meant to scare you! Rather, it is here to serve as an informative source to help you prepare and plan for your vacation. It is uncommon for destructive hurricanes to occur, and the hurricane season lasts for a few months. Most often, you can feel safe and not have to worry! However, it is important to ensure that you know what to do just in case something does come up.
With the recent hurricane affecting many of the Caribbean Islands, thank you to all of those who have expressed concern for the safety and well being of all Exuma residents, as well as the Hideaways at Palm Bay staff and guests. Hideaways did not endure too much damage, and everyone remained safe during the storm. Your support is truly appreciated, and Hideaways welcomes you for your next Exuma vacation!