With reports of damage from the numerous hurricanes still fresh in everyone’s mind, the question of whether it’s safe to travel to the Caribbean or other hurricane-prone areas during the summer and early fall may be top-of-mind for many travelers planning their upcoming vacations.
How Often Do Hurricanes Occur in the Caribbean?
When considering booking a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, it is important to consider how often hurricanes occur.
On average, about four named tropical systems will have an impact somewhere in the Caribbean in a given year. Of those storms, fewer than three will reach hurricane intensity (sustained winds in excess of 74 mph), and fewer than two will reach major hurricane status (sustained winds in excess of 110 mph).
However, the Caribbean is a big place and there is a lot of regional variability in those numbers. Looking at historical storm data for the past 100 years for the region can help us quantify the hurricane risk more directly.
The above infographic provides an estimate of the recurrence intervals of storms (or how many years between storms on average) by region throughout the Caribbean. The larger the number, the longer the time between storms (and the lower the average storm frequency).
If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, you may want to consider visiting an island such as Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire as they experience a major hurricane only once every 100 years (on average).
Conversely, in the Bahamas, for example, storm frequency is relatively high. A hurricane-strength storm has occurred every two years, and a major hurricane about every five years. Historically those islands can expect a named storm to occur just about every year.
In any given year, the chances that there will be major hurricane disruptions to a Caribbean vacation may be lower than you think. However, keep in mind that these statistics do not mean that the islands impacted in 2017 are out of the woods for storms in 2018. These are long-term averages, and every hurricane season brings some element of risk to your trip planning.
Travel insurance can help mitigate that risk and give you some peace of mind when you travel to hurricane-prone areas.
Other Hurricane Regions
Other hurricane- and typhoon-prone areas have their own risk levels, and some are lower than you might think.
Hawaii has only been hit by two hurricanes in the past 100 years: Hurricane Dot (1959) and Hurricane Iniki (1992). Other locations such as Indonesia and Singapore are south of the typhoon belt and have a very low risk at any time of the year.
If you are traveling to the tropics in the summer and fall, chances are good that your vacation will be uneventful (from a hurricane perspective, anyway!). However, check the details of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are adequately covered for the unlucky chance that you run into one of those storms. And remember to buy early! Once a storm is named, it’s too late to buy that protection.
If you decide to travel during hurricane season, be sure to review our hurricane safety tips.
Protect yourself from the unexpected. Get a quote for a travel protection plan today.