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Traveling During Hurricane Season: What You Need to Know

Last Updated On 9/10/2020

When we travel, one of the biggest things we take into consideration is weather. While that usually just means whether or not it will rain, or how hot it will be, sometimes it’s a little more extreme. For example, during certain times of the year in coastal regions, you need to be aware of the potential for hurricanes and tropical storms.

If you’re planning to travel to the coast during hurricane season–May 15th through November 30th, depending on the region–don’t worry. You are unlikely to be caught in a hurricane without notice, as the technology that tracks major storms is so advanced, hurricanes are almost always predicted in advance of their arrival.

As long as you take the necessary precautions, it can actually be a good thing to travel during hurricane season, as you may be able to get cheaper flights to and accommodations in many destinations. Plus, it’ll likely be less busy when you get to your destination, which is always a bonus. Before we share our travel tips, here’s some key information about what hurricanes are and when they happen:

Hurricanes are simply storms with violent winds caused by a rotating low-pressure weather system. They can cause flooding and other types of damage, and their intensity varies greatly from storm to storm. And if you’re wondering what the difference is between hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones, there isn’t one—they are all different names for the same weather phenomenon, just in different regions. Hurricanes occur in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, typhoons are in the Northwest Pacific, and cyclones are in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

If you’re planning on traveling to a hurricane-prone area, this handy guide from the U.S. Department of State will let you know when different regions will be in hurricane season:

Region Start of Season End of Season
North Atlantic June November
Northwest Pacific July November
Northeast Pacific May November
Southwest Pacific October May
South Indian October May
North Indian April December

Okay, now that we have a better sense as to what we’re looking at when we talk about hurricane season, let’s now discuss why we’re here: how to prepare for travel during hurricane season. If you do decide to travel to a coastal region during hurricane season, here are some important steps you can take to keep yourself safe, manage the risk, and have a good time:


Stay on top of the weather

If you’re planning to travel to a region during its hurricane season, it’s important that you stay aware of any potential upcoming storms leading up to your travel. The first thing we recommend is setting yourself up to receive alerts from your airline, so they email or text you when there are any changes to your flight itinerary, or even cancellations of your trip entirely. Then, check the National Hurricane Center website for updates leading up to your trip – they usually know when one is coming 36 to 48 hours in advance.

You can also enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Through STEP, you can opt to receive updates about safety conditions in your destination. Plus, the U.S. Department of State will be aware of your whereabouts should anything dangerous happen. You should also alert several family members and friends of where you’ll be headed so they can keep tabs on you if you’re without power.


Buy insurance – and do it early

When traveling during hurricane season, insurance is more important than ever.

You’ll want to make sure your policy will cover you if you need to cancel at the last minute due to a storm advisory, whether you’d actually be in danger or just feel uncomfortable making the trip. You should also make sure your insurance will cover you if you do experience any emergencies while traveling due to severe weather. Make sure both you and your belongings are covered in case of injury or damage respectively. Even if something minor happens, you’ll be glad you’re covered. On the off chance that you end up in a dangerous situation, insurance that covers medical evacuation services will allow you to get out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.

The reason why you need to purchase your insurance early is because you have to buy the policy before a storm or hurricane in your destination is officially declared or named. If you wait until after that happens, you won’t be able to buy travel insurance that protects you regarding claims for that specific storm –not generally a risk we’d recommend taking.

No matter what season you’re traveling in, we highly recommend setting yourself up for an easy experience by getting travel insurance. Quote travel insurance policies now! We can’t tell you how many times it’s saved us stress and hassle while on vacation.

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Be flexible

As we all know, weather can be very unpredictable. Even if the forecast says it’s going to be sunny the whole time you’re away, you may end up getting caught in the rain regardless. If that’s the case, there are often so many ways to make the most of it—but flexibility is key. Make a list of the indoor activities that your destination has to offer, from museums to adventure centers to historical sites, so you have it on hand on a rainy day. If you’re traveling with kids, this is especially important. Or you can opt for the a more low-key route, and really relax at your hotel with some snacks and movies. As long as you’re prepared and in the right mindset, the weather won’t get in the way of a great vacation!


Bring an emergency kit

If you ask us, we’d always rather be safe than sorry. And, if you’re traveling in hurricane season, that means bringing an emergency kit with you. This kit should include supplies such as a portable water filter, a three-day supply of food, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, first aid supplies, a whistle, your medications, and other key elements. This equipment will vary depending on who you’re traveling with—it will look very different if you’re traveling with children, for example. Think through what you would need if you were to be in your hotel room for several days. Again, the likelihood you’ll need it is slim, but it’s worth it to have it on hand, just in case.

Do you have travel tips for those traveling to potentially stormy locales? Share with us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@insureyonder)!

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