Hurricane season travel tips
1. Know the risk
Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and southern U.S. are not only popular vacation destinations, they’re also hurricane-prone regions. Atlantic hurricane season normally lasts from May 15 to November 30, with peak season between August and October. Catastrophic storms can cause extreme damage to infrastructure, cutting off communications and access to transportation, emergency assistance, medical care, food and water.
2. Be prepared before you go
- Monitor weather forecasts for the area where you will be travelling. Hurricane information is posted at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
- Check the Government of Canada’s travel advisories to ensure it’s safe to travel.
- Give your family and friends a detailed travel itinerary (flight details, hotel name) and your contact information.
- Make sure your emergency contact information is written in your passport and leave copies of all your travel documents and insurance details with someone in Canada.
- Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, in case of an emergency abroad.
- Find the location and contact information for the Canadian embassy or consulate closest to your destination.
3. Get travel insurance
For peace of mind, buy a travel insurance policy when you book your trip to a hurricane-prone region. Travel insurance can help you recoup the costs of cancelled or interrupted flights, unexpected hotel stays, and lost luggage. While some credit cards may cover cancellations or lost luggage, and certain home insurance policies cover the belongings you take away with you, it’s a good idea to get travel insurance to fill in any gaps.
4. Plan your transportation
Even if you're not travelling to a hurricane-prone destination, any travel during hurricane season can be disrupted due to rerouted and cancelled flights. If you have a connecting flight in a hurricane region, be prepared for delays. The longer the layover time, the better. Try to pack as much as you can, if not everything, in your carry-on. Once the storm passes, the airport might take a while to get back into full operation, so be prepared to wait out the delay.
5. Get an app for that
There are a number of weather apps you can download to help you track severe weather, including the Government of Canada’s Travel Smart, RadarCast, and Weather Underground. For more precise alerts, download The Personal app and get the RadarTM app feature that warns you if severe weather is headed your way.
6. A hurricane is on its way – now what?
If you’re already mid-vacation when a hurricane forms, follow the instructions provided by your hotel or resort. They are likely experienced in helping their guests ride out hurricanes and tropical storms. Before the worst of the weather hits, take out some emergency cash in case the power goes out. Read our article: What to do in case of a natural disaster so you can prepare an emergency kit to ride out the storm: bottled water, packaged food and snacks, portable phone chargers with full charge, and all of your ID, passports, travel insurance stored in a zippered plastic bag.
7. Precautions for snowbirds
If you own a trailer, condo or house in a hurricane-prone area, hurricane season comes with the added stress of keeping your property safe and secure during a storm. For some snowbirds, this means you may have to travel down early to secure your home, ask a trusted friend or neighbour in the vicinity to batten down the hatches, or pay a property management company to install shutters or take other actions to secure your home.
If you have a backup plan and flexible travel dates to avoid severe weather conditions, you’ll be ready to enjoy the plus side of hurricane season travel – cheaper airfares and less crowded beaches.
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These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
TM Radar is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc., used under licence.