Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas on August 24 with winds as high as 300 km/h and gusts of 350 km/h causing massive damage across the islands. And, while evacuations are currently underway repairs might take several months or years to complete. If you had upcoming travel plans for the Bahamas what can you expect? Or, what if you want to travel to the Caribbean islands in the next six months to a year?
Here’s what you need to know about expected delays as resorts make repairs. And, the importance of travel insurance to safeguard your trip from subsequent storms and other trip disruptions.
The Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian
Hurricane Dorian spent three days stalled over the Bahamas and the damage left in the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands is quite severe. The Category 5 hurricane caused catastrophic damage to hotels, ports and roadways. Grand Bahama International Airport, the Freeport Airport, for example, was destroyed. It was totally submersed, and the walls of the airport torn down. Images of the aftermath show parts of an airplane that was dropped into the middle of the airport’s terminal. Areas around the airport now resemble lakes and aerial footage shows many parts of the Bahamas still underwater.
Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister for the Bahamas told National Public Radio in the U.S. that a massive coordinated effort will be needed to rebuild these areas. Areas like Baha Mar and Nassau which is home to the popular Atlantis Beach Resort, casino and aquarium didn’t receive quite as much damage. However, they experienced power outages and had some flooding.
How You Can Help the Bahamas
Islands like the Bahamas rely heavily on tourism to provide income for their local communities. If you’re interested in helping the Bahamas, many organizations are setting up donations. As about 70,000 people were evacuated and many are missing, people are doing all they can to help the displaced.
Here are a few ideas:
Check with your credit card provider or preferred airline
Your credit card company or airline might let you donate points to organizations like the Red Cross.
Check online for charitable organizations
Consider donating to charities like the Bahamas Red Cross, The Salvation Army or Samaritan’s Purse.
Other charities include:
- The International Medical Corps: This non-profit group will send medical teams to the Bahamas
- Team Rubicon Disaster Response is made up of veterans who board windows and doors and will help with rebuilding efforts
- The disaster relief team from World Central Kitchen backed by chef Jose Andres has four locations in the Bahamas and is feeding people.
Travel to the Bahamas and Shop with Bahamian retailers
Once repairs are made and the Bahamas is up and running again, visit the islands and shop with these retailers. They can use the added support as they continue rebuilding efforts.
What If You Have an Upcoming Trip Scheduled?
The devastation of Hurricane Dorian has left many travellers unsure about their upcoming travel. If you have travel scheduled for the Bahamas in the next few weeks or months, there are a few steps you can take.
Contact your hotel and airline
They may allow cancellations with no penalties or let you reschedule to a later date.
Contact your credit card provider
You can start a credit card dispute and your credit card company can help with getting your money back on tours, hotels, flights and rental cars. The key is to contact them right away.
Contact the booking provider
If you booked through Orbitz, Priceline, Cruises.com or another brand, ask about their insurance coverage for natural disasters. They may be able to assist in waiving fees or rescheduling your trip.
Contact your travel insurance provider
If your upcoming getaway is affected by Hurricane Dorian, or any other disaster event, speak to your travel insurance provider about changing, postponing, or cancelling your trip. You might be able to cancel and get a full refund if the area you’re staying in is “uninhabitable” meaning there’s no electricity or running water. It might also have so much flooding or structural damage that you can’t safely visit.
Policies may also have inclusions for destinations that are inaccessible. In the case of the Bahamas, the airport and roads are shut down. Your policy might also have a “Cancel for any reason” clause. This is an added benefit that can help you recoup your trip expenses.
It might take months before the Bahamas is up and running again and years before it’s fully restored. To help Bahamians, donate to reputable charities and when the islands are functioning again, visit and shop in these areas.