Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Surviving a Hurricane While Traveling

I like to shake things up when I travel, but hunker down through a hurricane? No thanks. Trouble is, traveling off season (to save money) sometimes means I'm in a place where the weather isn't exactly perfect. For some catastrophic storms, such as Katrina for example, survival is just plain luck.

But a little storm know-how can improve your chances.

Safety FirstSafety FirstHurricane season in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America officially stretches from June to late November. The worst storms usually happen in July and early August - but not always. Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29 in 2005. Hurricane Earl has just been upgraded to Category 1 and is on his way through the Caribbean: Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguill, St. Martin, St. Maaten, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.

If find yourself in the middle of an unexpected storm, prioritize quickly.

Passports, ID and credit cards...

  • Know where your passport is at all times. If you have to evacuate, having your passport with you (instead of floating down a river) will get you home sooner.
  • If you lose your passport, ID and credit cards, find your country's consulate. Most are reachable 24/7 (especially during an emergency) - you'll likely have to meet with someone in person. Canadians and Americans can normally obtain an emergency passport within 24 hours, as long as there's someone back home who can vouch for you.
  • If you have your ID, but not your passport, find a Western Union Office, which are virtually everywhere. It's expensive, but you can usually get money within an hour.

On the road...

Torrential downpours often precede a tornado - take the warning.

  • Stop at the nearest restaurant, public washroom or mall and follow instructions of those in charge. If you're alone in the building, seek out an interior room, stay away from windows and cover your head.
  • If there are no buildings nearby, look for a culvert, overpass or bridge. If your vehicle will fit inside, all the better.
  • No culvert and no building? Stay in your vehicle. Studies show that sedans and mini-vans fare better in hurricanes and tornados than mobile homes, RV's and inadequately reinforced buildings.

Plan ahead...

Hurricanes and tornados come with lots of warnings (most of the time) so pay attention to the weather when you're traveling. This might sound like a no-brainer but you'd be amazed at the amount of travelers who seem to get caught unprepared. Look up once in a while and listen to the weather reports.

Keep your cell phone charged - and make sure you've got your consulate's number on speed dial.

When a warning is upgraded to a watch, start preparing for the worst. Fill the bathtub with water, gather what you need to survive in one bag and stay indoors. If you can, find these items for your survival bag:

  • Food - chocolate bars, gum, candy (stuff high in fat and carbohydrates)
  • Medical supplies like bandaids, sanitizer and clothing that can be ripped into strips
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone, GPS or iPod - anything that can be used to transmit information
  • Diapers, feminine pads or tampons - they can be used to staunch blood flow from wounds
  • Flashlight and/or candles
  • Blade, scissors, bottle opener, knife, screwdriver
  • Sharpie marker - if you've survived a disaster, you'll understand why. If you haven't, just trust us.

Hopefully you'll never find yourself in the eye of the storm. But if you do, the best advice we can give is stay calm and help those around you. Panicking is natural, but it helps no one weather the tragedy of human suffering during a catastrophe.

Ever been caught in a storm? What did you do to survive? Would you change anything? Share your stories with us here, on Twitter or on Facebook!

Related Stories

Rate This post


I am a little concerned about this situation, as we are traveling to Florida in October and boarding a cruise to the Bahamas. I'll be bookmarking this page!

Growing up in good ole NC, I have survived my share of storms. Actually, where I sit currently (on a barrier island) has been under water many times. Staying on an island is scary. We leave if it is over a CAT 1. The most important thing for us is to fill our gas tanks at the first inkling that there may be a storm. Water, medicines, non perishable food, they're all really important. Honestly, if it is a big storm, alcohol later serves as pay for work. We stock up on EVERYTHING. We start eating out of the freezer days before (like we did tonight, getting ready for Earl). You don't want much to go bad. Then we tie up all the trash cans, secure grills, and hold on for dear life :)

Thanks for visiting Lisa and for such great advice! Hope that Earl doesn't linger and cause any trouble. Good luck! Julia

Post new comment

GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Connect With Us



Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?

Not a member? Join!

Most Recent Comments

  • On Lesbian Adventure Travel, ELLA Travel said "Thanks for the great article!! If you're travelling to Europe check the ELLA International Lesbian Festival (ellafestival.com) and ELLA Travel (ella-travel.com), organising lesbian events and trips! "
  • On 5 Nudist Resorts that Will Blow Your Mind, John Ruze said "Hi Julia, There is a brand new, very popular nudist resort you should think about reporting on in your next article about naturism. It is the New Terra Cotta Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in sunny Palm Springs, California.. The original Terra Cotta Inn was a fantastic nude resort. Repeat guests from around the world stayed there. TCI was sold in Nov 2015 and greatly missed. Well, this July 2017, it was revived at a new location in Palm Springs. The site is HotelTerraCotta.com. Guests are super happy. It's perfect for couples and girlfriend getaways. And Tom and Mary Clare from the original Terra Cotta Inn work with us, so it has the same relaxing, fun feel. "
  • On The Best Naturist Resorts in Ontario, Dennis Wilson said "Love the freedom feeling going nude . 1st time ever was at freedom fields ranch near Tamworth On,Hector & Eyvon are super hosts ,hope to visit this summer but want to learn of more places to visit."
  • On An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere, Lynn said "I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned. "
  • On How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin on Your Next Cruise, Tinu said "Thank you for this post! I was dragging my feet about going on a cruise. Now that I know there's such a thing as a balcony cabin, I can't wait to book a trip!"

Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.