ABCs of Hurricane Sandy Travel


C is for Cruises. It's extremely rare that a cruise would be cancelled; instead, it's far more likely that your cruise line will set sail on a different itinerary than the one you booked. So, you might have booked a five-day Bermuda cruise, but if a storm's brewing, chances are you're headed up the East Coast to Canada instead. Even if your cruise ship is able to "outrun" or get ahead of the storm, you might encounter more turbulent waters than expected. Pack medications accordingly.

So what happens if you packed for the Caribbean and you find yourself shivering in Canada? Not much except you'll be out a few bucks on a new sweater. Cruise line fine print allows them to change and cancel ports at their discretion. More common on Caribbean cruises: a ship scheduled to sail in the Western Caribbean will switch to the Eastern Caribbean. Again, the chances of your particular sailing being changed because of a hurricane is statistically very slim.

I is for Insurance. Travel insurance can be helpful, but is generally not in the case of bad weather. Weather is rarely covered in travel insurance policies with the exception of the most expensive 'cancel for any reason' policies. Whenever you buy travel insurance, read the policy very carefully to make sure it includes coverage for the specific set of circumstances you anticipate. Illness, death of a family member and mechanical issues are commonly included.

There are the other ABCs too; the ones that come in the form of islands. The ABC islands refer to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, three Caribbean islands that are outside the traditional hurricane belt and all but immune from the storms that other islands get. Consider these islands if a Caribbean vacation is in your plans this hurricane season, but be aware that you might not find the discounts quite as deep as on other islands.

Finally, as with all travel, it's crucial that you pay with a credit card. In the case of a cancelled or ruined trip, you'll have more recourse with a credit card than if you paid with your debit card. Your credit card company can often handle any dispute on your behalf and often will return the money to your credit limit while the issue is being resolved.

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