Travelers be well advised, the Caribbean is open for business despite last month’s hurricanes. Fortunately, most Caribbean islands did not see major damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, making the region a top AAA recommended destination for fall and winter getaways.
“The Caribbean remains home to some of the world’s most popular travel destinations,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Vacationers, travel suppliers and the islands welcome guests to enjoy the relaxation, culture and recreation of the Caribbean.”
AAA experts recommend that travelers look to these popular Caribbean destinations, which sustained minimal or no damage, for their upcoming travels:
•Saint Lucia •St. Kitts & Nevis
•St. Vincent & The Grenadines
•The Cayman Islands
•Trinidad and Tobago
•Turks & Caicos
•St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Additionally, the Florida Keys have reopened to travelers ahead of schedule following Hurricane Irma, and Mexico saw little impact to its tourism infrastructure following two recent earthquakes and Hurricane Katia, which made landfall in the eastern part of the country.
For anyone planning a trip during hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) or to a destination recently affected by a storm, AAA Travel experts offer the following tips:
Work with a travel agent – A trusted travel agent can serve as the travelers’ advocate, helping them remain informed and assisting with any itinerary changes that need to be made in the event of a storm.
Consider purchasing travel insurance – Travel insurance is designed to offer protection against sudden and unforeseen events, such as hurricanes. Typically, travelers must have purchased travel insurance prior to a storm being “named” to receive hurricane-related coverage benefits.
Remain informed – Before, during and after a storm, travelers should check with their travel providers—including hotels, airlines, car rental companies, cruise lines, and tour operators—for the latest updates to itineraries or cancellation and rebooking policies.
Be flexible and remember to pack your patience – In the event of a hurricane, travel plans may be disrupted, even for those not traveling to an affected area. For example, cruise ships often adjust their itineraries to avoid storms or help accommodate travelers on other routes.
Share your plans – Before any international trip, enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This makes it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.
Watch the drinking water — Even though your destination may not have been impacted by the hurricane, remember to always watch out for the drinking water. Diseases caused by food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers according to the State Department. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. Travelers should also remember that Atlantic hurricane season continues through November 30, and it’s important for anyone traveling during this time to heed the advice of travel experts and plan ahead for any unforeseen severe weather.