|Best Travel Advice|
|Picking the Perfect Cruise|
|Carrying Prohibited Items|
|Knowing Security Measures|
|Driving Record Screens|
|Hostels: What They Are and Where to Find Them|
|How to Plan an Adventure Vacation|
|How to Increase Your Money while Traveling|
|Scams on the Road|
|Self-Defense for Travelers|
|What to take|
If you're worried about natural catastrophes on the road, take these steps to protect your future trips:
Take any documents that you receive from your travel agent or a supplier -- before you buy, if possible -- and read the terms and conditions that apply to your purchase.
For example, most cruise lines insert clauses in their contracts with passengers giving them the absolute right to change your cruise itinerary due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances -- with no notice, and with no compensation for passengers. (Cruise lines usually try to "make good" when changes occur by offering passengers credits or future cruise discounts, but they're not legally required to do so in most cases.)
The same advice applies to travel insurance. Always read the fine print in your policy, especially the rules governing coverage levels and exclusions.
Under U.S. law, credit card holders have the right to request a "chargeback" -- in essence, a refund -- on their accounts for travel services that are not delivered as promised. While the rules state that you have 60 days after the disputed charge first appears on your billing statement to file your chargeback request, most credit card banks and issuers offer more leniency on travel claims due to the special nature of these services.
Never use cash or a debit card to buy travel, because you won't enjoy the same protections.
Many travel insurers, for example, have very specific rules about when they'll repay you for losses from a trip -- and, generally, those standards are set pretty high.
For example, your travel insurer may not pay for trip delays until you've been sitting at the airport after a canceled flight for anywhere from five to 12 hours. Another example: If the airline you're booked on is flying, even though a hurricane has just damaged the resort where you're booked to stay, it's unlikely that you can cancel your plans and expect a full refund.
If you're simply scared that you'll get caught in a hurricane or other natural catastrophe -- but the hurricane hasn't actually caused cancellations for the airline, resort, cruise line, or other suppliers that make up your trip -- you're probably out of luck as well.
When a hurricane or other natural disaster affects your vacation, there's nothing better than calling your local neighborhood travel agent and putting him or her to work fighting for your rights. That way, you can share the stress -- and, if you've picked an experienced agent, you can rely on the agent's industry knowledge and contacts to recover your trip payments or make alternate travel arrangements.