Strong hurricane weather has battered the tropics in the past few years.
It has made couples think twice about having a wedding, honeymoon, vacation, or vow renewal during hurricane season without some kind of guarantee against wash-outs or worse in Florida, the southern U.S. Panhandle, the Caribbean, Central America, and eastern Mexico (including Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Yucatan Peninsula).
Let it be noted that hurricane season stretches from June 1 through November 30; hurricanes rarely occur outside those dates.
Hurricane activity is not constant in those months. Some times it rains for part of the day in those regions, then the sun emerges. Other times it's humid and overcast. Sometimes it's clear, hot, and breezy... perfect. In other words, just because it's hurricane season, it doesn't mean a hurricane will occur.
Companies that Offer a Hurricane Guarantee
In response to customers' concerns — and obviously to increase business during hurricane season — some airlines, all-Inclusive resorts, and other travel concerns offer a hurricane guarantee so that if all or part of your vacation is affected by hurricane weather, you won't completely lose out.
Couples Resorts Hurricane Guarantee
In case of a hurricane approaching Jamaica, Couples Resorts will post advisories on its message board.
In the past, guests have received refund vouchers and those stranded by airport shutdowns received a free two-night stay.
Club Med Hurricane Protection Program
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Provides Club Med guests with a Future Travel Certificate in the event that Category One or higher hurricane-force winds (as defined by the National Weather Service) impact the resort at any time during their stay.
Club Med will issue affected guests a Future Travel Certificate for the value of the land portion of their vacation for the number of days impacted by the hurricane-force winds. Certificate may be used within one year of the original travel date at these Club Med resorts: Caravelle, Guadeloupe; Cancun, Mexico; Ixtapa, Mexico; Sandpiper, Florida; Columbus Isle, Bahamas; Turkoise, Turks and Caicos; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Crested Butte, Colorado.
Expedia Hurricane Promise
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If a hurricane watch or warning is issued for your destination and you need to change plans, Expedia says it will advocate for customers with their travel partners to get them waive fees. That leaves the decision whether or not to satisfy travelers' claims up to individual properties, which ultimately takes it out of the control of the online travel agent.
Sandals Hurricane Insurance
Sandals Resorts (and Beaches Resorts as well) offers all guests the opportunity to purchase the resort company's "No Worry Guarantee" Trip Mate Travel Protection Policy within seven days of the initial deposit/payment for the trip. In the event of inclement weather, illness, or other interruptions beyond the guest's control, the insurance allows cancellations for any reason within 24 hours prior to travel.
The insurance is available for $109 per adult. More About Sandals Vacations
SuperClubs No-Hurricane Guarantee
"Should a hurricane happen to strike the resort, guests at the resort will receive a reimbursement for the total value of disrupted nights. In addition, a voucher for a future stay will be issued for the same number of disrupted nights for use during the same month the following year, excluding airfare. On property guests forced to extend their stay beyond the end of their vacation due to a hurricane will receive the additional night(s) free of charge." More About SuperClubs Vacations
Cruise Line Hurricane Guarantees
Since most big ships can change course when they catch wind of a hurricane up ahead, few have codified storm policies. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and cruise ships companies recommend that passengers who are especially concerned purchase travel insurance.
Airline Hurricane Guarantees
Airlines typically waive flight-change fees for passengers affected by a hurricane.
A Word to the Wise about Hurricane Guarantees
According to some Internet message boards, not all properties live up to the promises stated in their hurricane guarantee. If you are caught in a hurricane on your vacation:
- Make safety paramount
- Seek high ground
- Wait till after the hurricane is over and emergency situations cleared before approaching management
- While on property, ask the manager to clarify the hurricane policy in writing
- Claim any reimbursement you are entitled to in writing and keep a copy
- Forward copies of all documents to your travel insurer, if you have one
- Write to your credit card company to request reimbursement within 60 days of your vacation's end.