hurricaneAs Hurricane Irene gathers steam and aims for the East Coast of the United States, it’s reasonable for traveling moms to wonder just how much they should consider hurricane season when making family vacation plans.

While the prospect of traveling during hurricane season can be daunting, it can also be great for the family vacation budget. Travel experts say you can get great deals by booking a trip to potential hurricane zone during hurricane season, from June 1 – November 30 in the Atlantic region. But it pays to be smart about where you go, what you do and how you protect yourself.

Hurricanes can affect the entire east coast of the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Eastern Mexico and all states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Once a hurricane makes landfall, it can result in major flooding, tornadoes, and wind damage.

Pacific Basin Hurricanes

The Northeast Pacific basin has a broader peak with activity beginning in late May or early June and going until late October or early November with peak storminess in late August/early September. Translating into travel, this means the Pacific Coast from Canada down to the West Coast of Mexico.

Typically, the worst of the storms for the Atlantic occur between mid August and the end of October. Guess when some of the best travel deals to the Caribbean and Mexico are? You got it, hurricane season. Hurricane season is a gamble, there are years these islands and areas are not hit, but there is no guarantee.

If the price is right and the timing is right for you, book the trip, get trip insurance or check on the airlines/hotel/tour operator policies on hurricanes.

Cruising

cruiseshipIf you love to cruise, love being on the ship and want a steal of a deal, book it during this season.  The ship will reroute out of harm’s way. The only time a cruise is cancelled is when the hurricane is so severe that the ship cannot leave port.

However, if you are booking a cruise because you want to visit specific islands, September and October may not be the best time to do this. If the hurricane is headed toward that island, the ship won’t stop.

Best Time for Tropical Deals

The best times of the year to travel to the tropics for great weather and low pricing are the month of May or the pre-holiday period from mid-November through mid-December (taking out Thanksgiving week).  You still get those amazing “off-peak” hurricane prices, but your chances for hurricanes are low and the weather is usually terrific.

Book Now for Non-Hurricane Travel Too

The deals you can get now, during hurricane season, might still be good for travel long after hurricane season has ended.

It seems that when people are bombarded with news of hurricanes, they are not apt to book a trip to the places that are anywhere in range of the storms, even if the trip is six months away. The closer we get to “high season”–Christmas to Easter–the more expensive that same trip will be. Grab the deals now, but wait to travel until the hurricane danger is long past.