TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have made their presence known, pummeling through the southern United States.
The hurricanes not only devastated those areas in which people live, but also affected travel for those planning to head there for vacation.
“I would say the most popular state is Florida, because you have so many options available with Walt Disney World, Universal and you also have the beaches along the West Coast and the East Coast. It’s also a major area for the cruise ports,” said Cindy Russeau, an employee for AAA Club Alliance.
Russeau said the hurricanes have hindered plans for families that travel there, not only from round the U.S. but on a global scale.
Thousands of flights have been canceled due to the hurricanes, with many airports closing for several days. Some cruise ships had to go off-course for several days longer than planned because they couldn’t get back to the ports.
In addition to Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast of the U.S., the Caribbean also got slammed by Harvey and Irma, hurricanes with category 4 and 5 statuses that carried 160 mph winds with them.
Now, Hurricane Maria serves as the current threat, with Dominica getting hit and Puerto Rico expecting to be the next island to get damaged.
“A lot of those islands rely on travel and tourism as a main part of their economy,” Russeau said. “With those islands impacted by Hurricane Irma, they’re going to be in recovery for months rebuilding the airports and resorts. We’ve gotten updates that some of them may not be able to receive tourists until the end of the year.”
According to WTOL’s First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Wichman, Hurricane Maria could be only the fourth Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on the island since 1851. The last one was in 1932.
As of September 19, Hurricane Maria has climbed to a category 5 hurricane and is expected to cause mass destruction.
With hurricane season not ending until the end of November and the season being particularly bad this year, AAA is recommending that people purchase travel insurance.
“It gives clients the peace of mind about unpredictable illnesses or weather that comes along. When people are paying thousands of dollars for their travel plans, it’s a small investment to make if you need cancel or make changes to your plans,” Russeau said. “Most cancellations happen last minute when your travel plans are 100 percent nonrefundable.”
On average, depending on the age of the person, travel and trip cost, travel insurance typically may only be a 5 percent of an overall trip cost.
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