HurricaneHurricane Irene has stranded my four children, terrified South African au pair and me in South Carolina. Ironically, the storm was originally tracked to strike here but has turned north and now has her sights on my home in the New York area.

Important thing to know in a travel emergency:

1.Have a travel agent.The wait times on the phone to reach your airline can stretch for hours. When you finally get through, the chances of getting that last flight out of town are slim. Flights are cancelled quickly and by the time you get the news, all of the agents have already booked their clients and you are stuck with what’s left over, if you can get a flight.

    2.Buy travel insurance for big family vacations. It’s generally not expensive and can save you a fortune in situations like this.

      3.Have a plan to stay.Many hotels and rental agencies will let you extend your stay at a discount if you are stuck and can’t get home, ask.

        4.Don’t be tempted to go home. Your life and your children’s lives are more important than the deck furniture or the windows. Stay put until you get the all clear

        5.Designate a emergency contact.  If cell phone service goes down and you can’t reach family, designate a friend or family member who is not in the danger zone as your contact point.  

          6.Make the best of it. It’s supposed to be 90 degrees and sunny here for the next few days while Armageddon strikes my home. Nothing I can do about it, Carpe Diem and all that. It’s now a vacation the kids will never forget

            So we’re waiting it out here in paradise. We’ll be working on our surfing skills while everyone back home is sandbagging their houses. I’m trying not to watch The Weather Channel obsessively and remember to control the things I can and leave the rest to God.