Friday, August 28, 2009

Vacationing in the Caribbean During Hurricane Season

One of my readers emailed me about the possibility of a hurricane during her vacation. She didn't know this was hurricane season and had planned a trip to St. Thomas right in the middle of the season.

Unfortunately many travel professionals are often tight-lipped about hurricane season to travelers heading into those destinations.

After all, if you knew a hurricane was possible during the time and at the place of your vacation, you'd probably think twice about going there.

Now, there's good news and bad news about making the decision to vacation or not vacation in such an area at such a time.

I would go ahead with travel plans unless a hurricane is currently on the way to your vacation destination. If so, don't go. Or, at least wait until it passes, or until you have more information about it.

If nothing is on the way, then take a chance and go. You definitely get the best bargains during hurricane season. So, go ahead. Take advantage.

Once a hurricane is reported to definitely be heading to your vacation destination, (particularly to a Caribbean island), airline seats off island will disappear faster than a cold beer on a hot day. Not only will vacationers change their exit dates, but residents of the island will be buying up those seats as well.

If you're already at your vacation destination, and you learn a hurricane is on the way, pay attention to what's being said by local authorities. When they say, it will probably hit your location, immediately call the airline and change your return date. By the time it's definite the hurricane will hit, it's usually too late to leave the island by air. Seats are gone.

While living in St. Thomas, I stayed up one night for the 5am weather report, which was going to have more info on the approaching hurricane. By that report, they would know and be able to tell the public if the hit was definite. When the report came on, it was a sure thing that the storm would hit St. Thomas.

I called the airline immediately. No seats available. Every seat on every airplane leaving the island was gone.

Before the storm hits, all the airlines fly their airplanes off the island and are gone until such time as the storm is over.

So, bottom line, I would definitely go ahead with any plans made to travel to the Caribbean, or anywhere hurricanes are a fact of life. I would, however be very aware of the weather and weather reports, and be ready to act quickly in the event something blows up.

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The adventures ... and misadventures of a city slicker turned mellow islander.