Hurricane season is here, and major storms have been impacting travelers across the country. This is often a big concern for our clients, especially couples planning fall weddings and honeymoons. Have you ever wondered about booking travel during hurricane season? We’re sharing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about planning a vacation this time of year.
When is hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, or mid-May through November for the Eastern Pacific. Peak hurricane season is typically late August, September, and early October.
Which destinations are affected by hurricanes?
Hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean can affect the entire eastern coastline of the United States from Florida to Maine, plus states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Destinations in the Bahamas, most Caribbean islands, and the east coast of Mexico—particularly Cancun and Riviera Maya—are the most likely to experience storms. Hurricanes in the Pacific tend to be less severe, but they can affect popular vacation destinations like Hawaii and the west coast of Mexico.
If I want to avoid hurricanes, which destination should I choose?
Besides the obvious—Europe, anyone?—there are some tropical destinations that tend to have fewer or less severe storms. The ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are outside the hurricane belt. Statistically speaking, Costa Rica and the more southern Caribbean islands, such as Barbados and Grenada, have a lower risk of major storms.
Don’t forget that in addition to affecting your final destination, storms can also impact flights at your departure and connecting airports. This trickle-down effect can cause issues across a much wider area, since a storm in one region can change airplane and crew availability down the line in other cities.
Does that mean I should completely avoid traveling during hurricane season?
Not necessarily. The chances of your trip being affected by a major weather event are slim, but you should be aware of the possibility. Travelers have different comfort levels, including how much risk they are willing to accept that a storm could disrupt their vacation plans. One of the best protections is purchasing a travel insurance policy—more on that later.
What happens if my trip is affected by a hurricane or tropical storm?
This varies widely depending on the type of trip, the extent of the storm, and the policies of each travel provider. In anticipation of extreme weather, a cruise line may change which ports you visit, possibly shortening or lengthening the cruise if your arrival or departure port is affected. Hotels and airlines sometimes waive change fees during major storms, but availability of alternate lodging and flights can be extremely limited. Spending unexpected nights at a hotel or resort will usually be at your own expense, although some properties will offer a reduced rate to stranded passengers.
Why should I think about purchasing travel insurance?
Travel insurance helps protect your vacation investment, and many plans provide assistance if a hurricane affects your travel, including possible reimbursement for things like change fees and extra hotel nights. Carefully review the details of any policy before your purchase it, to understand how, when, and what type of coverage may apply for storm-related issues. Remember that insurance can’t be purchased to cover something that has already happened, so your policy must be purchased before a tropical storm system is named—adding it at the time of your first trip payment is recommended.