Travel Toolbox: Hurricane App from the American Red Cross

  • 01 of 02

    The Must-Have App for Stormy Times

    HurricaneApp_AmericanRedCross.jpg
    American Red Cross

    Planning a trip to Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean or another hurricane-prone destination between June and November? Before you go, download the Hurricane app by the American Red Cross to track and keep tabs on conditions for your destination.

    Cool features include:

    • one-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way
    • location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks
    • remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
    • locations of Red Cross shelters
    • simple steps and checklists to create a family emergency plan
    • preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps even without mobile connectivity
    • toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm
    • badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks

    Overall, the app is simple and intuitive. You can preselect locations and the app will send you to warnings about storms. 

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  • 02 of 02

    Essential Tips for Traveling During Hurricane Season

    Hurricane Gilbert in Jamaica (1988)
    Carl & Ann Purcell/Getty Images

    The Atlantic hurricane season is six months long, running from June 1 to November 30, with the peak period from early August through the end of October. Concerned about the risk of a hurricane disrupting your trip? Here's a primer on hurricane season:

    Get expert predictions on hurricane season. Before booking a trip in the middle of hurricane season, get the lowdown on whether experts are predicting a quiet or active hurricane season. 

    Based on historical weather records dating back to 1950, a typical year will bring 12 tropical storms with sustained winds of 39 mph, of which six turn into hurricanes with winds reaching 74 mph or greater, and three major hurricanes category 3 or higher with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. Keep in mind, however, that the only storms most of us need to worry about are those that actually make landfall, which can have little correlation to the total number of storms in any given season. 

    Lower your risk by choosing the right island. Looking for a Caribbean destination that won't get hit by a hurricane? While there's no such thing as a sure thing, some Caribbean isles are, indeed, much safer bets than others. 

    It's an open secret that the so-called “Dutch ABCs”—Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao—are hit less frequently during hurricane season.

    Buy hurricane insurance for your trip. Purchase a plan that offers coverage for trip cancellation, delay and interruption. This may come in handy if an airport is closed due to high winds, you are forced to evacuate your hotel, or the road you are traveling is impassable due to high water.

    While terms and conditions of plans may vary, travelers who purchased a travel insurance plan sufficiently before the hurricane was named could be covered if they needed to cancel their trip to the East Coast or if their final destination became uninhabitable. Travel insurance can cover you for the unexpected.

    Snag a really fantastic cruise deal during hurricane season. Even during an active hurricane season, the statistical chances are very slim of a hurricane striking along your route during your particular voyage. It's extremely rare that a cruise line will cancel a sailing. If that happens, you'll obviously get a refund and possibly even a discount on a future cruise.

    While cancellations are rare, it's not uncommon for a bad storm to put a cruise ship off its scheduled itinerary. Cruise lines can change itineraries and cancel stops for any reason, and they will always avoid bad storms rather than confront them.

    The very best offers are typically for sailings during the peak three months of hurricane season, August through October. For the biggest savings, wait until June and look for last-minute special offers from the cruise lines. If you're considering a Caribbean cruise smack in the middle of hurricane season, here's what you need to know.

    More on Hurricanes