Saturday, August 11, 2012

Preparing for Vacation During Hurricane Season

Prepare Before 
You Go

Trip Planning

Hurricane Season Ahead

You've decided to take your vacation during hurricane season.  This might be your only trip this year, so you want to be assured that you and your family will enjoy their vacation.  A little bit of planning can assure that you've done everything within your control to guarantee that.  Some of the information here is applicable regardless of when you are traveling, so everyone should get some useful information in this article.

Don't Wait Until Last Minute to Plan
Everyone knows that as you get close to departure time, there's a lot to do.   For example, you'll stop your mail or make arrangements for someone else to get it for you,  arrange for your pets to be taken care of, stock up on sunscreen and other supplies for your trip ... the list may seem endless.

While threre will be some things that have to wait for the last minute, it's best to make a list of things to do and complete as many as you can early.  We've prepared a checklist, most of which can be done early.  While this is slanted towards a cruise vacation, most of the items are applicable to resort vacations as well.  It is important for suppliers to be able to contact you before you leave and during your trip.   Severe weather can quickly cause travel deviations.

  • Monitor hurricane warnings before your trip
  • Activate cell phone international roaming if necessary
  • Make sure cruise line and travel agent have current contact information
  • Make sure airline has current contact information
  • Setup flight notifications with airline if possible
  • Share your itinerary with family and friends
  • Review your travel insurance policy for potential coverages
  • Call travel insurance provider to answer any questions about coverage
  • Provide emergency contact information to cruise line, travel agent, and airline
  • Keep passport, credit card, and necessary medication with you while in port
  • If you have a balcony cabin, put all personal articles away
  • Follow instructions given by ship's personnel
Resources to Help You 

As you get close to your departure date, one of the key things you'll want to do is stay on top of the weather forecast.   Scientific monitoring of weather systems has improved over the years and conditions that are favorable for tropical cyclones can be detected much earlier than years ago.  In many cases, an approaching storm will give at least 24 hours advance warning before strengthening into a powerful tropical storm or hurricane.

We've just updated the hurricane section on our Weather tab making it easier to find the resource (links) that you will want to visit.   We've broken the section into three main topics: 
  • Hurricane Preparedness & Predictions
  • Hurricane Educational Sites
  • Hurricane & Tropical Weather Monitoring

Throughout hurricane season, we maintain our Hurricane Zone with updated information:

We also have live news feeds from various agencies, such as the NHC and NASA.  You can find these in the left-hand navigation on our blog.

International Travel

Our International Travel tab also has important planning information.   Here you'll find information about documenation requirements, local consulates, travel advisories, and general information about the countries you are visiting.   It is important for you to know about the destinations before you depart.
Review the Tips for Traveling Abroad.  You will have an enjoyable time if you use some common sense and follow some simple guidelines while traveling in foreign lands.  Make sure to listen to any advice given by your cruise director staff or resort staff.

On Your Trip
You and your traveling companions may be together most of the time, but not necessarily all the time.  It is important that each member of your traveling party knows the plan for meeting should you become separated and need to meet in the event of an emergency, or even just to return to your ship or resort.   

As you depart your ship or resort, pay attention to information about when you should be back.  Make sure that you have the same time as the ship / resort.  It is your responsibility to be back to the ship on time.  Also be sure that everyone has information about how to contact local authorities or port agents if assistance is needed.  This information is provided in the daily guide or supplemental material for the port.

Top 10 Reason For Trip Insurance
Protect Your Investment

Traveling during hurricane season increases the likelihood that you'll need some sort of assistance before, during, or even after your trip.  We highly recommend travel insurance regardless of when you travel, but especially during hurricane season.

When you think about travel insurance, you may think - I'm not planning on cancelling my trip, so why would I need travel insurance.  Recall what we said in our first installment of this series...   Expect the Unexpected.

Should you arrive at the airport and find that your flight has been delayed due to inclement weather, wouldn't it be comforting to have a pleasant voice on the other end of a telephone working on your behalf to salvage your hard-earned vacation plans?

What if someone in your party gets injured by something blowing around in the storm?   What if someone back home gets sick and needs your help?  The list of possible reasons for needing assistance are endless.   Did you know that it could cost upwards of $25,000 to be extracted from a ship in the event of a medical emergency?  Did you also know that Medicare and most health insurance companies do not cover you in a foreign land - and perhaps more importanly may not be in a position to recommend somewhere for you to get assistance in your time of need?

Discuss With Your Cruise & Vacation Specialist

We've provided you with a lot of information here which may be a bit overwhelming.   The goal of this article is not to worry you, but rather to reassure you that if you take the time to plan in advance, you will be prepared for the unexpected.   We hope that you'll never need any of the emergency assistance which is available to you through Travel Guard, our recommended provider, but if you do, we know they will be there to help you.

We'd be glad to answer any questions you might have on any of the information provided here.   Our goal is for you to have a wonderful, worry-free vacation.  Thank you for taking the time to read this important information.  

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