Friday, August 10, 2012

Thinking About Vacation During Hurricane Season

So You Want To Cruise or Vacation at a Resort During Hurricane Season ...

What to Expect
Pros & Cons
How to Prepare
Protecting Your Investment

The kids are out of school, you've saved up enough time to take a vacation, but you find out that the only time you have available is right in the middle of Hurricane Season.   Do you throw in the towel and forget your plans?   Or, is there hope after all that you can have a vacation?

What to Expect

That's an easy one to answer.   First of all, Expect the unexpected!!  You might think that sounds a bit ominous.  Well, not really.   If you have a plan in mind for unexpected situations, you can easily adapt to whatever comes your way.  We'll talk about how to prepare a bit later.

Hurricane season runs approximately from June 1 - November 30th.   This year, the first storm came a few days ahead of schedule, helping to make our point about expecting the unexpected. 

Secondly, Expect that your plans might have to change!!  There is only so much that you have control over in your life.  You certainly have no control over the weather, and the impact it may have on your plans.  

Finally, Expect that Safety will take Precedence over your vacation itinerary!!  Regardless of whether you are staying at a vacation resort or about to get on a cruise ship, you can be certain that a tropical storm heading your way can potentially alter your original plans.

Pros & Cons

Let's assume that you have decided to go ahead with a vacation in a tropical region that has the potential for tropical storms and hurricanes.   Knowing differences between the two major categories of vacations can help you select the right vacation for you.

We are making the assumption that you have planned your vacation in advance.  This means that you aren't selecting your destination with prior knowledge of the current weather forecast.   Tropical storms often form quickly with little or no warning and can often change course.

Some of the major differences:

Land - Resort
  • Can select destination based on past history of tropical storm activity impacting the region.
  • Selecting a location inland may lessen impact of a storm approaching the coast
  • Everyone at the resort has the same experience in a storm (don't have to contend with rough waves for example)
  • If the resort is part of a family of properties, they may be able to offer alternative plans if a storm is approaching
  • Safety is of utmost concern to the resort management - they will enforce measures to protect guests, staff, and property
  • Activities may be curtailed in advance of the storm
  • Resort might have to evacuate due to the storm, ending your vacation
  • A previous storm may have made reaching your destination impossible, causing cancellation
  • Vacation destination is in a fixed location which can't move to avoid a storm
  • Majority of activities are outdoors (such as water sports) so there is little to do during heavy rains of a tropical storm
  • It is highly likely that your vacation could be cancelled or terminated early due to weather
Sea - Cruise
  • Can select cruise destination based on past history of tropical storm activity impacting the region.
  • Ships can adjust their schedule to avoid approaching tropical storms and other severe weather
  • Even if the embarkation port is unreachable or damaged from a prior storm, alternate plans can be made to depart from a different location
  • There are activities indoors  (often including water sports) so there is still plenty to do during heavy rains of a tropical storm
  • It is unlikely that a cruise will be cancelled or terminated early due to weather 
  • Safety is of utmost concern to the cruise line management - they will enforce measures to protect guests, staff, and property
  • You may not get to the destination(s) you planned
  • Ports may be skipped and others substituted
  • Embarkation and debarkation ports could be changed causing travel deviations (eg. flights)
  • There could be rough seas causing discomfort for those that have problems with motion sickness 
  • Depending on your cabin location on the ship, you may feel the effects of the sea more than others

Flexibility is a Must

Each of you will look at the table above and draw your own conclusions.  One thing we want to point out is that your plans should be flexible if you are traveling during hurricane season.  If you desire to get away to some tropical destination and aren't set on a particular port, a cruise could be the perfect choice.  For example: it is highly probable that an East Caribbean vacation could instantly become a Western Caribbean cruise if a tropical storm warning is posted for the other region.

In the Atlantic this season, there have been six named storms to date.  Of those, only two of them impacted cruises at all.  The most recent storm, Ernesto, was the most disruptive impacting several ships in the region.  In all those cases, there were changes to destination ports and the cruise continued providing a tropical vacation.   Resorts in the area, were drenched by heavy rains.

To be Continued ...

In our next installment, we'll look at preparation and tell you how to take steps to protect your investment in a vacation.  Preparing for Vacation During Hurricane Season

No comments: