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The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30, and this year’s is predicted to be one of the most destructive yet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s forecast includes as many as 25 total named storms, with between four and seven potential major hurricanes (Beryl was the earliest and strongest).

But six months is a long time to deprive yourself of the Caribbean. And these tourism-dependent territories need your vacation dollars year-round. So avoiding the region until November may simply not be an option for you or your clients. In the unfortunate event that one gets caught in a storm, Caribbean resorts will, of course, prioritize the safety of their employees and guests. But savvy and responsible Caribbean travelers should have at least a minimum level of storm preparation before they jet off to paradise. Here are my top tips if you’re traveling to the Caribbean during the hurricane season.

Buy travel insurance If COVID taught us anything, it was that you can’t predict the future. But you can hedge your bets against all the bad stuff by buying travel insurance that will protect or reimburse you for flight disruptions etc. The key, however, is to buy the insurance as soon as you book your hotel and flights. Because once a storm has been named, it’s too late to get coverage.

Watch the weather In the week before your trip, pay close attention to the forecast in your destination, and be prepared to postpone if a storm looks likely (another reason to pay a little extra for refundable flights). And before you leave home, download a weather and/or hurricane tracker app, so you can do your own meteorological monitoring once you’re on the ground.

Choose destinations outside the hurricane belt Of the 30-something Caribbean islands travelers visit, a handful have historically proven far less likely to get hit by hurricanes. These include Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Barbados, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago. While it’s by no means a fair-weather guarantee (we watched as Beryl barreled through Grenada and Barbados last week), vacationing on any of these islands statistically puts you at less risk of finding yourself in a storm’s path.

Look for resorts with “hurricane guarantees” If a storm has been named, many resorts (and most of the major hotel chains) will allow their guests to postpone their stay for new dates with no financial penalty.

Guard your docs In the chaos of a storm, you don’t want to be scrambling for your passport or to find it’s been water-damaged and no longer valid. I recommend keeping your IDs, insurance and other important docs together in a Ziploc bag in the safe, and having back-up copies of those docs in the Photos or Notes folder on your phone.

Download your airline’s app Although your hotel will be trying to coordinate flying you to safety, I always think it’s best to be as self-sufficient as you can, helping yourself whenever possible. The fastest way to get flight info will be via your airline’s app, and you’ll likely be able to re-book your flight yourself, easing the pressure on resort staff.

Pack some essentials If ever there was a time to buy a first aid kit and keep it permanently in your carry-on, it’s now. I always travel with a flashlight (that can be charged via USB so I don’t have to fuss with batteries) and an extra, charged power bank for my mobile phone and laptop. Hurricane season or not, they’re always handy to have.

Have a plan If you get stuck on island in a storm, you’ll quickly realize that beyond your own safety, there are plenty of other issues at home that need to be taken care of. Can whoever’s looking after the kids keep them longer? If not, who can they hand them over to? What about extended pet care? Who will cover you at work? Can someone check in on your house while you’re away? All these questions are much easier to answer if you’ve set up a plan beforehand. I recommend making one with that super-responsible friend (we all have one!), and then hoping you never have to put it into action!

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