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  • Visiting the Caribbean During Hurricane Season

    2014-06-27

    Hurricanes get a lot of attention from meteorologists, and while you don’t want to be in the way when a Category 5 storm with 130-mph winds comes a-calling, hurricane season shouldn’t deter you from making travel plans to the Caribbean during the summer and fall. This time period brings lower rates and fewer crowds, making it a particularly attractive time to head to the islands.

    The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, but that doesn’t mean that the Caribbean is besieged with storms for seven months. In an average year, there are 2.4 major (Category 3 or higher) hurricanes in the Atlantic. Some years have more and some have less, so it can be difficult to know exactly how the season will shape up when you are planning a trip. Some storms never end up touching land at all, though there is always the chance that air or sea travel (like cruise ships) throughout the region may be disrupted because of severe weather.

    If you’re thinking about planning Caribbean travel during hurricane season, here are some tips to make the most of your trip:

    • Consider traveling before the start of hurricane season or after as hurricanes and tropical storms are most likely to form June October.
    • Look into destinations like Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao — all are outside of the hurricane belt — or Barbados, Grenada, the Cayman Islands, or Turks & Caicos, other destinations that are less likely to be affected by hurricanes. Generally speaking, the islands of the southern and western Caribbean are less hurricane-prone than those of the eastern Caribbean.
    • If you’re weather watching from home before your trip, be aware of typical Caribbean weather patterns: most storms form over the open Atlantic off Africa and move westward. Most remain low-strength “tropical waves,” while others can strengthen into tropical storms or hurricanes. On the other hand, hurricanes may weaken and die out over the ocean without affecting land, so don’t panic just because a hurricane report is in the news.
    • Pack for emergencies, just in case, by bringing items like extra cash and a portable cell phone charger; be sure to have a list of phone numbers on hand in case you need to make contact with those back at home.
    • Travel insurance can provide assistance if financial losses result due to hurricanes. Travel Guard, for example, offers coverage if your trip is interrupted or canceled by a “named” (Category 1 or higher) hurricane. (Keep in mind that this insurance must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to when a hurricane has been named for trip cancellation and interruption benefits to be active.)

    In the end, bad weather doesn’t have to be bad news. Be smart and take advantage of low-season rates on flights and hotels, and chances are you’ll be basking in sunshine in the islands with plenty of elbow room on the beach, even if the TV weatherman is waving red flags back home.



    *Paid endorsement

     



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