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Hurricane Season: Too Risky for Caribbean Travel?

Gary Lee

This year should bring a more stormy hurricane season to the Caribbean than 2006, by the account of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In all, we should expect 13 to 17 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes, NOAA said in its annual hurricane season report, released a few weeks ago. There have already been a couple of named storms this year. Tropical storm Barry poured rain on Florida in early June. And the water and air in the region are warmer than usual this year, making for ripe hurricane conditions

But how should the possibility of a hurricane affect your plans for a Caribbean trip?

Not at all, according to most experts. Travelers can minimize the risks by choosing islands like Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao or Trinidad and Tobago, all located so far south that they are rarely hit by major storms.

What if you wind up in the minority who are caught in a deluge during hurricane season? As a seasoned Caribbean traveler, I have found that few road warriors make enough advance preparations for a storm. At the minimum, travelers headed to the Caribbean anytime in the next four months should:

1. Check to see what policies their airline offers in case of a storm. If you are stranded, will it put you up in a hotel? Will it refund your ticket?

2. Find out what evacuation procedures their hotel has. Is there an evacuation facility on site?

3. Determine what refund policy hotels offer. If the trip is cut short due to heavy storms, will they allow guests another stay in another less stormy time?

Having the answers to these questions beforehand might save a lot of headache and scrambling later.

Any thoughts on this subject? Have you postponed a trip until after the storm season? Have you braved the elements? Any other hurricane-related tips?

By Gary Lee |  July 19, 2007; 10:54 AM ET  | Category:  Gary Lee , Travel Survival Tips
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If you are really worried about a hurricane ruining your trip, travel insurance can be a boon. My parents were forced to evacuate the Outer Banks one year due to a hurricane, and eventually got a substantial refund on their trip costs. Be sure to read the fine print of the policy, however, and make sure you understand what's covered and what isn't. Some policies only come into effect if an evacuation is ordered, not if you choose to leave on your own.

Posted by: notea42 | July 19, 2007 1:48 PM

Ditto on the insurance suggestion. Same thing happened to our family in OB. Rental company found us 1/2 price house in Hilton Head instead. Longer drive but still had a vacation.

Posted by: ditto | July 19, 2007 4:00 PM

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