How To Travel Safely During Hurricane Season

(VIA- COND’E NAST TRAVELER) This checklist of storm-season advice—some of which Condé Nast Traveler recently shared with AccuWeather—will help you avoid storms entirely and stay safe and up-to-date when foul weather threatens, no matter where your summer travels may take you.

Before you go…

The same rule of thumb that works at home works on the road: Be prepared. Have storm supplies handy, make sure family members know your emergency plan, and share your plans with a friend or relative not traveling with you. Also keep a copy of all your important documents—itineraries, passport ID page, driver’s license, credit cards—in a safe place in case the originals are lost.

The website has good preparation tips, as does

As you’re planning…

There’s a reason hotel rates in the Caribbean are cheaper during hurricane season. That said, most of the time the weather is fine. Occasionally, resorts will offer “hurricane guarantees,” which offer refunds or replacement vacations if a storm ruins your trip; confirm these details over email with the property, so you have records of the specifics, before booking.

Cruises are an alternative: Ships can simply plot a course around the storm and avoid it completely, though sometimes that means missing a planned port of call. Also keep in mind that a few islands—Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao—are well south of the usual path of storms but still offer many of the same attractions as other Caribbean destinations.

If you’re going on a road trip…

The FRX2 American Red Cross radio ($45) is a must-have, with weather band as well as AM and FM stations. It’s about the size of a bottle of water and has a built-in flashlight, a hand crank if the power goes out, and can even charge your cell phone.

You’ll also want to pack some drinking water, shelf-stable food, and a surplus of any daily/regular medications you may need, as well as a flashlight, first-aid kit, and flares or warning triangles to be used in the event of a breakdown.

If you’re taking your own car, replace your wiper blades to improve visibility in the event of thunderstorms. Also make sure your spare tire tools are in working order and that your spare tire pressure is correct.

If you’re heading to the Caribbean…

Hotels do an amazing job of taking care of guests in severe weather and often have local insight that can keep travelers safe: In other words, your best bet is often to follow hotel staff instructions about severe weather. At the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York, for example, the hotel has a backup generator, a supply of water, and flashlights readily available for guests, all of which were used during Superstorm Sandy, which hit the city in 2012.

If you’re considering trip insurance…

Not all plans cover hurricanes or other severe weather, so if that coverage is important to you, read the fine print to make sure it’s included in the specific insurance plan you purchase. Reading the specifics of the plan you buy is the only way to be sure of what’s covered and what’s not. (You can compare multiple plans from multiple providers at InsureMyTrip.)

Trip interruption insurance is helpful because severe weather elsewhere can often cause missed connections or other problems getting to your destination, even if you’re not headed into the path of the storm. (Again make sure that your specific plan works when weather is a factor.)

Be sure to buy a policy soon after you make your initial trip deposit and well in advance of departure: Often policies only cover “unforeseen” circumstances, which means you can’t buy a plan after a hurricane starts chugging toward your destination.

If a hurricane is approaching…

Hotel staff are again a great resource—and their job is to keep guests safe and comfortable. Internationally, the U.S. State Department has made great efforts recently to improve its communication with citizens, including about severe weather. Follow the department on social media for updates, visit, and consider the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which makes it easier for embassy staff to communicate with you in the event of an emergency.

Wherever you go, download these weather apps…

One of our favorite weather app is the free offering from Yahoo, which shows details as well as beautiful photos that illustrate current conditions.

For severe weather, though, the live updates from the National Weather Service on Twitter and Facebook are a great way to stay on top of conditions.

AccuWeather offers free ZIP code-specific severe weather alerts by email that travelers can sign up for before their trip. The StormWatch+ app ($1) for both iPhone and Android also gives “push” notifications of severe weather nearby.

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