Tropical Storm Begs Question: Why Travel During Hurricane Season?

Tropical Storm Isaac is the ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. It threatens the eastern Caribbean and the southern U.S. coastal areas with flight and power disruptions, cruise ships detours and more. But as we head into September, traditionally the most active month of the hurricane season, some travelers are still eager to drive, fly or sail through the area – but why?

Considered “off season” in the tropics, school will be back in session and vacation time over for many. Still, bargain hunters know that peak hurricane season is traditionally a time for some of the best deals of the year.

To get deeper into reasons for traveling during hurricane season we turn to a poll by Travelguard, a leading seller of travel insurance, who polled travelers to learn how hurricane season, running through the end of November affects their travel plans.

Scheduling is key- The study indicated that travelers are able to overlook the threat of a hurricane disrupting their vacation because summer schedules make it more convenient. It’s when they can go. Travelers also cited travel deals (19%) and fewer crowds (13%) as reasons to travel within the hurricane belt during summer and fall.

Taking the Kids, or not- Though hurricane season falls during the peak summer travel season, only 9% of travelers polled actually travel with their children during this time. The majority (59%) prefers to travel with their significant other, while other popular travel companions include friends (12%) and multi-generational family (10%), with 10% opting to go solo.

Willing to take their chances with cruise vacations– During hurricane season, one-quarter of travelers polled opt to brave the open seas and cruise to multiple destinations within the hurricane belt. Back on land, popular destinations for travelers include Florida (16%), Mexico (11%), Georgia and the Carolinas (9 %). Only 5% of those polled visit the popular Caribbean destinations of Jamaica, Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.

When it Rains, It Pours- Travel can be unpredictable, and traveling to a hurricane-prone destination during hurricane season even more so. As a result, more than half of respondents to the Travelguard poll are most concerned with weather-related trip cancellation or interruption, loss of non-refundable expenses, medical emergencies, or inclement weather making accommodations uninhabitable.

Thinking about buying travel insurance now? If traveling during hurricane season, travel insurance companies require that insurance be purchased before a storm is named to be covered if it affects travel plans.

Flickr photo by Stuck in Customs

Paradise Flooded: Fiji Closes To Tourists

Tropical storms have battered Fiji in recent days, causing flash floods that have stranded tourists, forced mass evacuations and caused upwards of three deaths. Now, the Pacific island nation braces itself as a tropical cyclone approaches the main island of Viti Levu with forecasted gusts of 68 miles per hour and the certainty of even more damage. Already, the government has declared a state of emergency. Sometimes, you just can’t catch a break.

Apart from causing widespread destruction, floods in the main tourist towns of Suva and Nadi have also wreaked havoc on Fiji’s tourism industry. Thousands of visitors were forced to remain in their hotels with limited resources until the waters receded and the air embargo was lifted on Monday. They now face chaos at the Nadi International Airport trying to secure flights back home. Australian and New Zealand news sources describe frantic scenes straight from a natural disaster flick.

The photo gallery below offers a glimpse at the current scene on the ground.


New Orleans & Katrina Revisited: A Photo Gallery

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of one of the costliest not to mention deadliest storms to hit U.S. landfall — Hurricane Katrina. To prepare for the occasion last Friday USA Today featured a photo gallery and fairly detailed report on the state of tourism affairs in the grand ole’ city. This being the first summer since the storm hit last year business owners are said to be down 60% compared to last year. Thing is areas like the French Quarter, Garden District, Warehouse and Arts District which made it through the storm much better than other areas are just waiting for tourists to come. If there’s a way to bring the much needed dollars in to help the city blossom again people are going to have to take a trip to the bayou and start sight-seeing.

They’re ready. And I know I’m long overdue. What are you waiting for?