Hurricane season runs from June 1 through the end of November with the hot time being mid-September through mid-October. However, as we all know, Mother Nature is pretty unpredictable. Hurricane Sandy made landfall in late October of 2012, devastating the East Coast. Some hurricane seasons are worse than others. 2005 saw 28 hurricanes while 2000 saw 15.
So, when planning do you avoid heading to the Caribbean or the Sunshine State during hurricane season and steer clear of New England during winter in case of a blizzard? Most people would say no. Yet, if Mother Nature does stir up a hurricane or drop a mountain of snow on your vacation spot,what do you do ?
Take a Deep Breath
Sure, you’ve been planning and planning for the ultracool getaway to the Caribbean or that Disney cruise to the Bahamas. However, if there’s a hurricane coming, it’s the last place you want to be. Sorting through all of the cancellations and finding out if you can get a full or partial refund is going to take patience and time. So count to ten and breathe deeply.
Contact your Travel Agent
If you booked your trip through a travel agent or site like Expedia, your first step is to contact them. Typically, they handle the rest. If you made the travel arrangements , you will have your work cut out for you. First off, contact the airline and then work down the list through rental cars, hotel accommodations and more.
In some cases, you may be able to get a full or partial refund. However, it all depends on how you booked your trip. If you made a reservation without putting a deposit, normally you can cancel without a penalty. For folks that paid in full for a discount on a booking website, you may not be eligible for a refund in many cases. Most all-inclusive offers will include an addendum that may allow you to reschedule or see you as eligible for a partial refund. Some hotels and resorts have an ‘act of God’ clause in the contract that gets them off the hook for most natural disasters like hurricanes.Make sure to always read the fine print.
Should you buy it? Well, if you purchase travel insurance before the Weather Channel starts hyping that potential hurricane that will hit Orlando, you’re in luck, especially if your vacation destination is deemed unsafe. However, if you buy travel insurance after the bad weather makes the news, you are sunk. They won’t pay.Travel insurance also will not pay out if your hotel reopens and the surrounding area is still in shambles.
When Mother Nature wreaks havoc, many cruise lines try and steer you down a different path. You may still get your cruise, it just may not be where you originally planned. If your cruise is canceled outright, cruise lines typically give a full refund and offer you an incentive for booking another cruise by offering a discount on that outing.
Every airline is different. Some carriers may waive fees if you rebook a trip to a different destination by a certain deadline others may not. Contact your travel agent if you booked your flight through them. They can usually go to bat for you with airlines. If you’ve exhausted all other avenues, see what your credit card company can do for you.
Do Something Else
Kids aren’t the only ones that look forward to vacations. Everyone does. Sometimes it’s the thought of that ski trip or the trek around Ireland that gets folks through the dark days. So, if your vacation dream has been dealt a major setback due to the first major blizzard to hit Nashville in a hundred years, don’t let it beat you. Do what you need to do regarding the necessary cancellations and then go somewhere.
If your Caribbean cruise got sunk, book an Alaskan cruise instead. Even a getaway on a smaller scale can be rejuvenating. And remember you wouldn’t have wanted to be holed up in a hotel or stuck in an airport in the middle of a hurricane or a blizzard anyway, especially with kids in tow.