Disney Destination? What You Need to Know About Vacation Travel During Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is underway, and that means additional risks for travellers, especially those heading to the coastal U.S. for vacations. Areas popular with Canadian tourists, that could be affected by catastrophic weather events such as a hurricane, include:

  • The East and Gulf coasts of the United States (Florida in particular)
  • Mexico and Central America
  • The Caribbean
  • Canada’s Atlantic coast

Hurricanes can have a dramatic impact on your travel plans. Big storms can ground flights, prompt mandatory evacuations, and completely disrupt your family vacation. How can you protect yourself against having your travel plans swept away by gale-force winds?

Monitoring Weather Alerts and Warnings

The majority of large hurricanes come with a significant amount of early warning, as they advance slowly from the ocean and build steam as they approach landfall. If there is a storm system brewing, consider postponing your family adventure until a more advantageous time. You can check the travel advisories as well as the Hurricane Center to find out if there are concerns near your travel destination.

Buying Trip Cancellation Insurance to Protect your FInances

Having travel insurance can help protect you in the event of delayed flights and lost baggage. Purchasing specific trip cancellation insurance can help you recoup your costs if your trip is cancelled due to circumstances beyond your control. Trip cancellation insurance can cover non-refundable parts of your trip, such as

  • Flight cancellation due to weather
  • Natural disaster at home
  • Travel advisory regarding destination
  • Travel interruptions due to delayed flights
  • Loss of baggage or baggage delays

Timing Your Trip Cancellation Insurance Purchase

Put your trip in the best position by purchasing trip cancellation insurance as soon as you begin booking flights and tickets; at least 48-72 hours before you start travelling. Check which portions of your trip are non-refundable and consider travel insurance that includes trip cancellation to help defray these costs.

By the time the Government of Canada issues a travel advisory or warning, or the World Meteorological Organization names the hurricane, it is typically too late to purchase trip cancellation insurance. Buy early if there’s even a chance that a storm could delay or disrupt your travel plans.

Knowing the Difference Between Cancellation and Interruption

Trip cancellation insurance usually includes trip interruption insurance as well, which covers incidents that can disrupt your trip without outright cancelling it. Trip interruptions may include:

  • Hotel bookings resulting from being stranded between flights
  • Missed flight connections (including weather or flight delay)
  • Medical emergencies (whether caused by a weather event or not) forcing you to return home early
  • Mandatory evacuations, such as hurricane-prompted requests from city mayors or state governors
  • Assaults (such as a mugging or other attack) on you or a travel companion. These can be common during vulnerable times such as extreme weather events

Preplanning and having travel insurance and trip cancellation policies in place can help you recover from a scrapped trip - and save the funds for another (less rainy) vacation.

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