By Claudine Zap
Satellite view of a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean (Photo: Getty Images)
Hurricane season officially kicked off on June 1, which happens to be around the time when folks are planning beach vacations.
Fortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a relatively quiet storm season.
Since most travelers don’t want to encounter a hurricane — unless it’s one of these — we put together some tips on how to best steer clear of the storms:
Surfers at the beach in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (Photo: Getty Images)
Check for places most likely to see action
Before you book a trip, click over to Hurricane City, which ranks 153 cities and islands that had near brushes or were hit by weather events in the past.
The website includes locations throughout the coastal United States, Mexico, and all Caribbean islands. The rankings are based on “all hurricanes as well as tropical, subtropical, and extratropical systems.”
Destinations such as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas; and Boca Raton, Florida all made the list.
Book outside the hurricane belt
There’s no guarantee of a hurricane-free trip. A safer bet is to book trips outside the traditional hurricane belt. That includes “the Caribbean Sea, the mid-Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico,” John Clifford, luxury travel adviser of InternationalTravelManagement.com, told Yahoo Travel.
Clifford recommends the “ABC islands” of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, as well as nearby Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada in the West Indies. “Travelers can also enjoy tropical beaches in Panama’s Bocas del Toro and San Blas Islands in Central America,” he said.
“More exotic and up-and-coming tropical getaways, normally outside of the hurricane belt, are Providencia Island Colombia; and Venezuela’s Margarita Island,” he added.
Plan your trip — but be prepared
Hurricane warning sign (Photo: Getty Images)
On the flip side, hurricanes are a known unknown. “Go ahead and plan it,” National Hurricane Center’s Dennis Feltgen told Yahoo Travel. “But make sure you have travel insurance.”
Along with insurance, here’s a good rule for trips: Ask for your hotel’s hurricane plan. “If the hotel can’t answer that, I wouldn’t recommend staying there,” he added.
Check if your hotel, tour operator, or cruise have hurricane guarantees. This kind of protection allows the vacationer to reschedule or even cancel without a penalty in the event of a strong hurricane. Some hotels in Bermuda and Cayman Islands offer such worry-free deals.
Stay on top of the weather
This is one of those times that being a Weather Channel addict could pay off. The National Hurricane Center continually updates its website and Twitter feed: @NHC_Atlantic. For local weather reports out of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, head to stormcarib.com.