Traveling During Hurricane Season

Many vacationers look forward to traveling during the

summer months to the Caribbean, Florida and vacation

resorts along the Gulf of Mexico.While the late spring and summer offer tremendous

travel bargains, these months also correspond with the

start of the hurricane season. Recently there has been

an increase of travel in the “off peak” months of July

and August, when many families have the opportunity to

get away on vacation. This year in particular, many

potential vacationers have been unsure whether to plan

a vacation in the areas mentioned above.The people of the Caribbean sum up hurricane season

with the following saying: June – Too Soon; July –

Stand By; August – Look Out You Must; September –

Remember; October – All Over.
What you need to understand about the nature of the

current hurricane patterns
The experts agree the rise in the number of hurricanes

in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are likely to

continue. Most of the experts in this field believe

global warming is responsible for the fuel that turned

Katrina from a slow moving tropical storm into one of

the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. The water

temperature in the Gulf was higher than normal, and

whether you believe in global warming or not, the

facts are the Caribbean and Gulf regions will be

dealing with more active hurricanes for at least the

next 15 years.First of all, we usually think of hurricanes as highly

destructive wind storms, but it is the water that

kills people, animals and vegetation. It’s the storm

surge that produces flooding, such as what happened

in New Orleans, and storm surges produced the deadly

mudslides in the Caribbean island of Haiti last

summer.Currently the Caribbean/Atlantic hurricane season

starts officially on June 1 and ends on November 30.

Hurricanes are uncommon in June, early July and

November, and the peak months are August, September

and October. But changes in the world’s climate

indicate that hurricane season could be extended to

include May and December. In the coming years, July

and November could be seen as peak months. The good

news is that tropical storms that develop at either

end of the season are usually weak.Can you find a “storm free” vacation during the summer

months?
Most hurricanes form over the North Atlantic, coming

off the coast of Africa. They then head in a westerly

direction towards the Caribbean, then usually turn

north towards the U.S. coast. Some of the storms may

turn northwards in the open waters of the Atlantic

before reaching the islands of the Caribbean.The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are located beyond

the southern end of the Windward Island chain, and

these two islands experience much less storms than in

the islands that lie further north. Barbados has also

been lucky in that the island has not experienced a

direct hit in over 20 years. The ABC islands of Aruba,

Bonaire and Curacao, are also located outside of the

usual hurricane belt, along with Margarita Island,

which is located just off the coast of Venezuela. The

Seychelle islands in the Indian Ocean have escaped

tropical storms by the close proximity to the Equator.While the islands listed above have not seen recent

hurricane damage, there is no guarantee these islands

will always be completely safe during hurricane

season. However the chance of running into a hurricane

is actually very small – millions of people travel to

these areas and enjoy a wonderful tropical vacation.Since 1995, the Atlantic hurricane season has been

above normal, which means more storm activity. From

1970 to 1994, the activity was below normal, and these

cycles come in 20 + year spans. So we will be dealing

with more active hurricane seasons for quite a few

years.What to do if you are caught in a hurricaneHurricanes do not come up suddenly, and there is at

least a 3 day warning on a specific, direct hit. Most

vacationers immediately leave their vacation spot when

threatened with a hurricane, however some will choose

to ride it out, or fail to realize there will be no

flights to get them out at the last minute if they

finally decide to leave.When a hurricane approaches the first thing you need

to do is move far away from beach areas to avoid the

storm surge. Hurricanes season is nothing new to

Caribbean islanders, and many have dealt with plenty

of hurricanes before. The only advice that can be

given is to follow the directions of local officials,

and evacuate to the nearest storm shelter or

designated facility.The most damaging winds of the hurricane are found

within a 50-100 mile radius of the storms eye.

Normally an island in the path of a hurricane will

experience a day or two of normal activity – depending

on the intensity of the storm.Tropical storms in other regions of the worldTropical storms always occur in oceanic basins inside

the tropics. The only difference is we call these

storms by different names.In the Atlantic/Caribbean, Pacific cost of Mexico we

call these storms hurricanes. In the north-west

Pacific region around Taiwan, Japan and the

Philippines, these storms are called typhoons, and

cyclones are the name given around Australia and in

the Indian Ocean. No matter what you call these storms

around the world, they are in essence the same thing.No one can be promised a “storm free” vacation during

hurricane season.
Here’s a few important things we advise travelers to think about . . .(1) Travelers booking vacations on their own need to

be better informed about hurricane season, and the

particular locations safety policies and procedures.

Working with a travel professional can definitely be

an advantage if you need to change travel plans, or be

advised of safety information prior to your trip. If

you decide to book at one of the online travel sites,

you cannot expect to get much assistance in an

emergency.(2) Take a look at travel insurance policies. There

are many policies to fit any vacationers needs, and we

suggest you read the fine print to make sure what is

covered, and what is not. If you cannot afford to lose

the money you invested in your trip, you need to

purchase travel insurance.The purchase of travel insurance policies have doubled

over the past few years, and the major cancellation

reasons are illness, death and weather related. Most

policies are over 10 pages, and you can ask for a

policy interpretation if you do not fully understand

what the policy covers.(3) Take advantage of Last Minute Vacation Packages.

Not only can you save a bundle, there will be no

chance of getting caught in a tropical storm or

hurricane activity since there is plenty of advance

warning. Last minute vacations are available within 14

days of travel.(4) Always use a credit card for travel purchases. You

can always file a claim with your credit card company

for services or goods that you have not received.Using debit cards can be tricky since the actual funds

have already been taken from your account. With a

credit card, a hold is often put on your account

before the actual charge appears. This same hold can

turn up on your bank account. In other words, a charge

can show up twice on your bank account. A hold can

stay on your account for up to a week in some cases.

Once the “hold” falls off, you will have access to

that money, however in the meantime, you may find

yourself without available funds.

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