Sometimes, "stuff" happens even with the best made vacation plans.The photo here is one I took after witnessing the strength and destruction of hurricane Wilma in Cancun a few years ago.
Most families plan their vacations around a school calendar. Hurricane season is unfortunately a reality of summer vacation. The season runs from June 1 – and ends November 30th. August through October are considered to be the height of the season.
Many gorgeous beach areas of the Caribbean, Mexico, The Pacific and Southern U.S. are popular family destination spots also visited by hurricanes. There is no reason to fear planning a summer family vacation to these areas. These are HUGE geographic areas. The good weather odds are in your favor. To help alleviate any remaing worries, here are a few tips to help:
1. Book Your Vacation with an Experienced Travel Agent - Good travel agents have first hand experiences with destinations and especially resorts. Sure, they have restaurant and sightseeing tips but experienced agents know even more. An experienced agent knows which hotels have been built to structurally withstand storm damage. When Our Vacationkids staff do hotel inspections, we ask to see "hurricane" centers that some resorts built right on property with plenty of generators, food, water and supplies. They also have local contacts on the ground that can be invaluable in emergency situations. Check out these two recent reports from Hurricane Odile that recently hit Los Cabos Mexico. The first is a CBS News Report of one family's ordeal. The second is an article written by a travel agent who was also vacationing with her own family but had a completely different experience.
2. Travel Protection Insurance - Nobody has a crystal Ball and this is why Travel Insurance gives you peace of mind. It not only protects your family with features like medical coverage and theft protection, it also protects your vacation investment. When it comes to dealing with hurricanes, pay close attention to these policy features -
Cancel For Any Reason - as the name of this coverage suggests, you can simply cancel your reservation for full reimbursement. This type of coverage usually costs a bit more but you don't have to worry about reading all the fine print coverage details.
Trip interruption - This coverage reimburses travelers for any unused pre-paid travel expenses and unexpected additional costs if they have to end their trip early and leave to avoid a hurricane. It is important coverage to have because last minute flight prices during a high demand storm time are very pricey.
Missed connections - this coverage reimburses travelers for unused pre-paid expenses and reasonable additional expenses if they miss a connecting flight or cruise departure as a result of hurricane cancellations.
3. Know Your Cancellation Policies - Airlines and hotels will often waive any last minute cancellations or change fees if there is an impending storm. Announcements are noted on airline and hotel websites. If not, your travel agent will know how to find out this information for you.
4. Stay Informed- Yes, you're on vacation but do not be oblivious to the rest of the world. Log online for a couple of minutes to get the latest weather updates. Even if you are in a foreign speaking country, chances are you can tune into CNN or the BBC to see what is going on with the rest of the planet. If all else fails, ASK some one at the hotels.
5. Listen to the Locals- When it comes to local weather and procedures, they are the experts. If they have rules and procedures in place, remember it is for your safety. Local friends explained what hurricane winds and flood damage could do. I didn't believe it until I experienced it and saw it with my own eyes.
6. Take Responsibility- When it comes to natural disasters, think like Macgyver. Think about basic life necessities your family will need.