How to Prepare for Travel to a Hurricane-Prone Region

Over the past several days, Hurricane Harvey has torn across the Gulf Coast of Texas, causing major damage and claiming at least eight lives, and counting. In light of this, we want to be sure that all travelers know what to do to prepare for a trip to a hurricane-prone place – and where those places are during which times of the year.

As you likely know, weather is a major consideration in terms of travel preparation, no matter what type of climate you’re traveling to. It dictates what you should pack, what type of accommodations you’ll need, and what kind of travel insurance you should get. This is particularly true when it comes to traveling to areas prone to major weather phenomena, such as hurricanes.

If you’re thinking about heading to a destination that is on a major body of water at any point, here are some things you should know about hurricanes and how you can prepare for your travels to a hurricane-prone region:

What is a hurricane?

Hurricanes are simply storms with violent winds caused by a rotating low-pressure weather system. They only form over warm bodies of water near the equator, as they require warm, moist air to fuel them. NASA calls them the “most violent storms on Earth,” as they can cause flooding and other types of damage, though their intensity varies greatly from storm to storm.

According to NASA, these are the five categories of hurricanes, determined by wind speed, damage at landfall, and storm surge:


Wind Speed (mph)

Damage at Landfall

Storm Surge (feet)


















157 or higher



Okay, now that we have a better sense as to what we’re looking at when we talk about hurricane season, let’s talk about why we’re here: how to prepare for travel. 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 and have a good time:

When is “hurricane season”?

First and foremost, you need to know when hurricane season is. It differs from region to region, so it’s important that you know when it will happen in different parts of the world. Here’s when hurricane season is in different regions around the globe, according to the U.S. Department of State:


Start of Season

End of Season

North Atlantic



Northwest Pacific



Northeast Pacific



Southwest Pacific



South Indian



North Indian



What are the predictions around the 2017 hurricane season?

This year’s hurricane season was predicted to be more active than usual, as compared to historical averages. Earlier in August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), increased its prediction for 2017 to say that five major hurricanes could occur in the Atlantic region this year, with anywhere from fourteen to nineteen hitting land in total. For comparison, in an average hurricane season, you can expect to see twelve hurricanes maximum. Meteorologists have said that Hurricane Harvey could be the strongest storm that has hit the U.S. in twenty years. That said, it may not even be this year’s biggest storm, so you should definitely do your research before traveling anywhere on the Atlantic in particular. In the Philippines, Vietnam and southeastern China, where hurricanes are referred to as typhoons, a number of smaller scale storms are predicted as well.

How will you know if it’s safe to travel to a hurricane-prone region?

Thankfully, hurricanes can generally be predicted several days before they hit land. If you’re traveling to a hurricane-prone region, make sure you check the National Hurricane Center website in the days prior to your trip – they’ll likely be able to let you know if a hurricane is coming anytime from 36 to 48 hours in advance, so you can take whatever measures are necessary to stay safe.

How can you prepare for travel to a hurricane-prone region?

If you’re planning a trip to a hurricane-prone region, the first thing you need to do is get travel insurance. We’d recommend acquiring a comprehensive insurance policy, since your major concern is most likely about being refunded for the cost of your trip if you have to cancel. Trip Cancellation & Interruption coverage would allow you to cancel your trip or return home early if a hurricane is named and heading toward or recently arrived at your destination. This coverage would refund you for those nonrefundable, prepaid deposits or payments you had insured.

We also recommend that you sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Through this program, you’ll receive updates about safety conditions in the place where you’re headed, and the U.S. Department of State will know where you are if a hurricane does occur. And don’t forget to set up a communication plan in advance of your trip with a few people back home, so they’ll know what your status is if any bad weather should arise.

Two more quick tips:

1. The best way to know as soon as possible if your flight is altered or cancelled is to sign up for text or email alerts from your airline, so be sure to set those up when you book.

2. No matter what, pack an emergency kit with a portable water filter, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and your medications, just in case.


Do you have travel tips for those traveling to hurricane-prone regions? Share with us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram (@insureyonder).

Get an instant travel insurance quote!