Pennsylvania – Despite last month’s hurricanes, AAA is reminding travelers that the Caribbean is open for business.
The islands rely on tourism for much of their economy, so going on a vacation there this year can be one way of supporting the residents in the aftermath of the storms.
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 local economies in the Caribbean rely heavily on travel and tourism,” said Marita Williams, Manager of Travel Promotions and Product Development, AAA East Central. “Whether you’re staying at a resort or visiting on a cruise ship, vacations can help give these islands the economic boost they need following the storms.”
Learn more about the East Central AAA at their website.
AAA experts recommend that travelers look to these popular Caribbean destinations, which sustained minimal or no damage, for their upcoming travels:
- Dominican Republic
- 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.
- Check for Diamonds – AAA’s professional inspectors conduct on-site evaluations of nearly 59,000 Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants across the Caribbean, United States, Canada and Mexico. If something goes wrong at one of these properties, AAA’s member relations team is available to help members resolve their concerns.