I wrote this blog a few years back. Long before any of us ever heard of COVID-19. Yet, as the Caribbean will most likely be the first to welcome visitors back to its shores, we need to keep in mind, they will be doing so during the annual hurricane season. Resorts will be offering great values to entice visitors. Once it is safe to return to travel, it will be a bargain hunter’s dream market place. And I’m sure you are eager to get your fins wet again in warm and wonderful waters again. So with that said, please keep these things in mind.
These days most of us are still trying to max out the value we get for our dollar. I mean who wouldn’t – right? That includes trying to get the most bang for your hard-earned buck when it comes time for your well-deserved vacation. Everyone always wants more for less, which often leads us to bargain shop. Well, sometimes you can achieve that goal of awesome value while paying a little less, if you decide to take a gamble on Mother Nature. I’m talking about traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season.
This is when those great values (and smaller crowds) can be found
Now when I talk about value, I’m not talking about bargain-basement cheap. I’m talking about shopping for a package that is worth every penny. Given the unpredictability of the hurricane season, tourism will drop off a bit and island resorts will generally lower their prices to attract those travelers willing to take a risk. This is when those great values (and smaller crowds) can be found.
The North Atlantic Ocean hurricane season generally runs from June through November, with the greatest chance of hurricanes peaking during the period of late August into October. You’ll find that a lot of people shy away from traveling to the Caribbean during this time of year, but this is when resorts wanting your business will lower prices or add more into their packages. Smart travelers, with good travel insurance, who are willing to take a chance, know this is the time to take advantage of some awesome values and quieter islands.
The most informed travelers know there are a few lucky islands out there that don’t seem to suffer from hurricanes that often and still offer great values during this season. Islands closer to South America, like the ABC’s (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), are rarely affected by hurricanes because these storms tend to travel away from the equator. Other safe bets are Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. Most days of the year it’s business as usual for these southeastern Caribbean islands. Conditions in September are often much like they are in February, but you pay a better price to travel there.
Always make sure to hedge your bet
But let’s not forget one important thing when deciding to gamble, always make sure to hedge your bets. Yes, I’m talking about buying travel insurance. Most travel insurance packages will cover cancellation or interruption if a destination is deemed uninhabitable, as long as the policy was purchased before the storm was named. The cost of hedging you bet is calculated based on the destination, the trip cost, the benefits desired, your age and where you reside. It is a small price to pay (generally between 3-10% of your vacation price) for peace of mind. And definitely well worth it if you need to use it.
And if a hurricane does strike…
These days Caribbean resorts are more experienced at dealing with the impact of a hurricane and are better at planning ahead and activating shelters or evacuation plans because of improved communications about the storm’s predicted path. Weather forecasters can now alert islands when a storm forms along the African coast and more accurately predict the storm’s ETA. So, if you have indeed booked your vacation and a hurricane looks like it is going to hit, don’t panic (insurance or not). These days, if an impending storm looks serious, most hotels and airlines will let guests cancel or reschedule without penalty, but make sure to ask about hurricane season policies at the time you book. Find out how your airline, resort, and even car rental, inform their guest when a hurricane is approaching, what actions they take, and what refund policies they have in place. Keep in mind that a direct hit to any one particular destination by a major hurricane is an extremely rare event. If trouble seems to be looming before you depart from home, make sure to inquire again about all your options to be completely informed before making a decision about your vacation plans.
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