How to Change Your Travel Plans When Disaster Strikes


Natural disasters are an unfortunate fact of life. Not only do they present devastation to the people who live in the affected areas, but they also pose numerous problems to people looking to travel to and from the location. If a natural disaster poses problems to your travel agenda, you must act fast to salvage your vacation and to prevent fees.

Contact the Airliner
Overall, airliners are pretty good about changing travel plans to accommodate customers in the event of a natural disaster. The key, however, is to call the company as soon as possible. If you were directly affected by the disaster and arent able to travel, then the airliner is likely willing to work with you. On the flip side, if you are traveling to a different area that was affected by the disaster, procrastination doesnt sit well with airliners.

Change Your Lodging
While plane tickets are a big expense, lodging can cost just as much if not more, depending on the intended length of your trip. As soon as you rearrange your airline schedule, contact the hotel next. Many hotels require changes to be made at least 24 to 48 hours before your reservation. While many lodges are willing to work with customers, there isnt a law that says that have to, so make sure you act quickly.

Pick Another Location
Instead of canceling your plans altogether, consider choosing another location in the general vicinity. For example, if you have a trip cancelled to the eastern Caribbean as a result of a hurricane, why not choose a vacation to the western Caribbean instead? You may also find that airlines are more willing to work with you if you change the destination rather than the timeframe of your travel plans. This decision must be made quickly in order to avoid cancellation fees.

Consider Travel Insurance
Since natural disasters are unpredictable, many businesses dont offer refunds for travel arrangements. However, if you are equipped with travel insurance, you may be able to work around this type of disaster. Rates vary depending on your specific travel plans as well as the company you buy the coverage from. If you work with a travel agent, you might be able to take care of the plans and the insurance both at the same time. Note that you cant purchase the insurance after your plans have been made.