September 6, 2017 Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean and continues to churn toward Florida. AAA Oklahoma offers the following tips for travelers in Florida, and/or the Caribbean, or those who plan to travel there in the coming days.
If you are in Florida or the Caribbean:
- HEED ANY/ALL EVACUATION ADVISORIES AND/OR ORDERS
- AIRLINES – Most have expanded change fee waivers to Florida airport destinations, in addition to previously announced Caribbean airport destinations.
- DISNEY – If a hurricane warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Orlando area—or for your place of residence—within 7 days of your scheduled arrival date, you may call in advance to reschedule or cancel your Walt Disney Travel Company Magic Your Way vacation package and most room only reservations (booked directly with Disney) without any cancellation or change fees imposed by Disney.
- CRUISE LINES – Most cruise lines are altering routes, cutting cruises short, and/or canceling cruises due to Irma. Passengers are typically offered refunds for cruise days not used due to a cruise being cut short, full refunds for cancelled cruises, as well as discounted rates for future bookings.
If you are scheduled to travel in the next few days:
The decision of whether to travel or cancel/delay an upcoming trip is a personal one. There are many things to consider:
* Will your trip take you in the path or projected path of the storm
* Will your personal safety be at risk
* What options do you have if you wish to cancel/change/delay your trip. NOW is the time to investigate those options, remembering that they may CHANGE as the situation and path of the storm develops in the coming days.
* Be aware of and adhere to cancellation time line requirements and penalties if applicable.
* Know what coverage any purchased travel insurance does/does not provide.
* Continuously monitor the situation as things can change dramatically and quickly.
* Stay abreast of local forecasts both at your departure city and your destination
* Check your airline flight status before leaving for the airport.
* Check with your hotel for local updates on the storm’s impact.
* Monitor weather conditions on a regular basis as things can change quickly.
* Travel with only a carry-on bag when flying to give you greater flexibility if your schedule changes and so that you will have your luggage with you if delayed.
* Pack “emergency” creature comforts with you like snacks, rain coats, and extra clothing, reading material etc. so that you are more content if delayed.
* Heed all evacuation advisories and/or orders.
* Carry enough medication for two to three times the length of your trip – If flying, always keep medication in carry-on luggage.
* Arrange emergency back-up child and/or pet care as applicable - Carry all applicable contact information on your person and not in checked luggage.
* Leave a house key with a trusted friend or relative and carry their telephone number with you – This person can take care of any home care essentials, mail, and/or access information you may need.
* Have emergency funds available for hotel stays, food, and basic necessities - check all credit card available credit limits and expiration dates.
* Take care of critical items/bills which are due immediately upon your return BEFORE YOU GO - examples: mortgage payments, tuition bills, school registrations, college applications, legal documents, etc.
* Carry important numbers with you for any one you might need to contact to advise your delay - examples: Jury duty, court appearance, etc.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and nearly 97,000 members in South Dakota. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.