Preparation a must when traveling during storm season

  • There's still a little time to take advantage of September is for Seniors discounts at Rockland, Maine, where, among other things, you can haul up a lobster trap and keep the catch,

    There's still a little time to take advantage of September is for Seniors discounts at Rockland, Maine, where, among other things, you can haul up a lobster trap and keep the catch,

 
Published9/20/2008 12:38 PM

You hear it repeatedly from pros in the travel industry, that the distinction separating senior travelers from their younger counterparts is their intrepidity, a five-dollar word for "I'll go almost anywhere at anytime."

Even to the Caribbean during hurricane season?

 

According to Chris Harvey, a transplanted Englishman now doing business in St. Petersburg, Fla., the answer is "yes," but he qualifies the apparent recklessness of senior travelers by noting that they do a lot of looking before leaping.

Before putting their teeth to the wind, they buy hurricane insurance which can be studied, compared and purchased through Harvey's Web site, www.squaremouth.com, (phone 800-240-0369). There are listed just about every company dealing in travel insurance, with the quid pro quos explained in detail.

Being a catchall source of insurance information, squaremouth reduces the need for searching individual companies one by one to obtain the best coverage at the best prices. Harvey also offers valuable tips, mostly cautions, on how to dig through the fine print. Here are a few of them:

Buy your policy before a hurricane receives its name from the National Hurricane Center. "This is because insurance is based on unforeseen circumstances," said Harvey. "Once a storm has a name, it's deemed to be foreseen."

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If bad weather is predicted, but no warning is given, no insurance carrier will pay claims in this situation. The only option is to buy "cancel for any reason" coverage.

Consider "covered for inclement weather." Harvey explains that this benefit is a more liberal version of "complete cessation of common carrier services."

Perhaps the best advice that Harvey provides concerning travel insurance is this: "No insurance covers absolutely everything that could happen when a hurricane hits or you need to be evacuated." An example is that the hurricane warning coverage from some companies works only if the warning that a hurricane is about to hit comes within 24 hours of your departure date and only if you've held the policy for more than 15 days.

Once you have your insurance bases covered, check out cheapcaribbean.com (1-800-915-2322), to look for bargains. Prices include accommodations and airfare, with the latter based upon various "lead cities" such as New York or Miami, according to Donna Giorno, a travel consultant with the firm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Here are some samples of what you may find, but they are based upon past booking deadlines and new prices may be in effect by the time you visit the site:

In St. Lucia, at the Almond Smugglers Cove, three nights starting at $1,049 per person, double occupancy.

In the Dominican Republic, at Sunscape Casa del Mar, five nights starting at $519 per person.

In Puerto Rico, at the Gran Mella Puerto Rico Golf Resort & Villas, four nights starting at $499 per person.

In an opposite, cooler direction, three inns in postcard-pretty Rockland, Maine, which sits on the western shore of Penobscot Bay, are offering seniors aged 50-plus a 25 percent discount package for September.

There are few places on earth that can duplicate the pleasantries of passing the last days of summer, when average temperatures are 70, than along the fractured coast of Down East. The package, available when guests sign into one of three bed & breakfasts, either the Berry Manor Inn, Lime Rock Inn, or the Captain Lindsey House, is embellished with free passes to some nearby attractions.

Six local museums to visit are the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center, Gen. Henry Knox Museum located in the rebuilt mansion called Montpelier and featuring early American History artifacts; the Contemporary Art Museum, Penobscot Marine Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum of old cars, trucks and motorcycles, and the Maine Lighthouse Museum. There are more than a dozen lighthouses in the area.

Rockland has earned the "Lobster Capital of Maine" designation. Fittingly, guests may choose either two tickets to Captain Jack's Lobster Adventure Cruises where you can haul up a lobster trap and keep the catch, or two tickets on the Maine State Ferry to Vinalhaven Island, located 15 miles offshore in the middle of Penobscot Bay and featuring architecture and culture of the old New England fishing industry.

You will also receive a guided tour of Rockland's Historic Breakwater Lighthouse, a private walking tour of the town's historic district, which has 145 buildings and homes on the National Registry of Historic Places. A Wednesday evening discussion group of Rockland's history will be presented by the local historical society, and a tour of all three of the inns will be offered on Thursday afternoons.

The three-day September is for Seniors package is available throughout September to seniors at prices ranging from $479 to $775, single or double occupancy. Initially, the package was made available to seniors age 55 plus and is still reflected as such on the Historic Inns of Rockland Web site, but a spokesperson said the age was dropped to 50 to coincide with the standard set by the American Assn. of Retired Persons (AARP). Call 877-762-4667, or visit www.historicinnsofrockland.com.

John Hilferty's column for
mature travelers appears
monthly. He can be reached at
hilf@johnhilferty.com.

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