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Hurricane season can wreak havoc on the travel plans of hotel guests. If you have an upcoming hotel booking that falls in the path of a severe storm, you may be wondering if cancellation is possible without penalty.

When a hurricane is forecasted to impact an area, many hotels will relax their cancellation policies to allow guests to reschedule or receive refunds. However, policies vary greatly between hotel chains and individual properties.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about canceling or modifying hotel reservations due to hurricanes. You’ll learn strategies for avoiding cancellation fees, find out what to do if you’re already checked in, and get advice for making the process smoother.

Cancellation Policies During Hurricanes

Beach resort sky before hurricane

Most Hotels Waive Fees

When canceling your hotel reservation due to a hurricane, the good news is that most hotels understand the situation and will waive cancellation fees. Their main concern is the safety and well-being of their guests.

So, if you are in an area under a hurricane warning or evacuation order, don’t hesitate to contact your hotel and explain the situation. They will likely accommodate your request without any penalty.

Refundability Depends on Forecast Severity

The refundability of your hotel reservation during a hurricane may depend on the severity of the forecasted weather conditions. If a hurricane is expected to land in the area where your hotel is located, there is a higher chance that the hotel will offer a full refund or the option to reschedule your stay.

However, the hotel may be less likely to offer a refund if the forecast indicates less severe weather, such as tropical storms or heavy rain. In such cases, contacting the hotel directly and inquiring about their specific policy is best.

Third-Party Bookings May Have Separate Policies

Suppose you booked your hotel through a third-party booking website or travel agent. In that case, it’s important to note that they may have separate cancellation policies. These policies may vary from those of the hotel itself.

It’s advisable to carefully review the terms and conditions of your booking to understand the cancellation policy specific to your reservation. Sometimes, the third-party booking platform may offer additional protection or assistance in case of a hurricane cancellation.

Be sure to contact their customer service for guidance and support.

It’s always a good idea to stay informed about the latest weather updates and follow any evacuation orders or safety recommendations issued by local authorities. Remember, the safety of you and your loved ones should be the top priority during severe weather events.

What to Do If Already Checked In

If you are in the unfortunate situation of being checked into a hotel during a hurricane, it is important to prioritize your safety and well-being. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your safety and explore your options:

Speak to the Front Desk About Options

Hotel receptionist receiving phone call

The first thing you should do is speak to the hotel’s front desk. They will have the most up-to-date information about the hurricane and any evacuation plans in place. They can guide you on what to do and assist you in making alternative arrangements if necessary.

Communicating with the hotel staff and following their guidance is always better.

Consider Evacuating or Moving to Shelter

If the hurricane is severe and poses a significant threat to your safety, it may be advisable to evacuate the hotel and move to a designated shelter. Local authorities or the hotel staff can provide information on nearby shelters and evacuation routes.

Your safety should be your top priority, so don’t hesitate to take the necessary precautions.

Get Reimbursement for Cut Short Stays

If you are forced to leave the hotel before your scheduled check-out date due to the hurricane, you may be entitled to a reimbursement for the unused portion of your stay. It is important to check the hotel’s cancellation policy and speak to the management about your situation.

Many hotels have policies to accommodate guests during severe weather events, and they may offer refunds or vouchers for future stays.

Remember, each hotel may have different policies and procedures during a hurricane, so it is essential to communicate with the hotel staff and follow their instructions. Additionally, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers unforeseen events like hurricanes.

It can provide financial protection and peace of mind if you need to cancel your trip or seek alternative accommodations.

Also Read: Can A Hotel Put You Out During A Hurricane?

Tips for a Smoother Cancellation

Cancellation Policies During Hurricanes

Canceling a hotel reservation due to a hurricane can be a stressful experience, but with the right approach, you can navigate the process more smoothly. Here are some tips to help you cancel your hotel reservation effectively:

Act Quickly When Storm is Forecast

When a hurricane is forecasted in the area where your hotel is located, it’s crucial to act quickly. Many hotels have flexible cancellation policies during severe weather events, but they often require you to cancel within a specific time frame.

By staying informed about the weather conditions and monitoring any updates or warnings, you can make a timely decision to cancel your reservation.

Call Instead of Emailing

When canceling your hotel reservation, it’s best to call the hotel directly instead of relying on email. Speaking to a representative over the phone ensures your cancellation request is understood and processed promptly.

Additionally, depending on the hotel’s policies, you may have the opportunity to negotiate a refund or credit for a future stay.

Be Patient with Long Hold Times

During severe weather events, hotels often experience more cancellation requests, resulting in longer hold times. While it can be frustrating to wait on hold, it’s important to remain patient.

Remember that the hotel staff is doing their best to assist all guests during this challenging time. Consider using a hands-free device or engaging in another activity while waiting to make the most of your time.

Compare Policies of Multiple Hotels

Before deciding to cancel your hotel reservation, it’s wise to compare the cancellation policies of multiple hotels in the area. Some hotels may offer more flexible options or waive cancellation fees during severe weather events.

By exploring your options, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs best. Websites like or can provide valuable hotel policies and availability information.

Booking Backup Hotels in Safe Areas

Booking Backup Hotels in Safe Areas

When severe weather threatens your vacation plans, it’s important to have a backup plan in place.

One of the key considerations is booking backup hotels in safe areas, away from the hurricane’s potential path. This will ensure your safety and peace of mind during your trip.

Research Storm Surge and Flood Zones

Before booking a backup hotel, it’s essential to research storm surge and flood zones in the area where your original hotel is located. This information can be obtained from local government websites or reputable weather forecasting organizations.

Understanding the potential risks lets you decide which safe areas to consider for your backup hotel.

For example, websites like the National Hurricane Center provide comprehensive information on storm surge and flood zones, allowing you to identify areas less likely to be affected by severe weather.

Opting for a backup hotel in these zones can minimize the chances of your vacation being disrupted.

Look Inland for Alternatives

If your original hotel is in a coastal area prone to hurricanes, looking for backup hotels inland is a good idea. Inland areas are generally less susceptible to the direct impact of hurricanes and can provide a safer alternative for accommodation.

When searching for inland alternatives, consider nearby cities or towns further away from the coast. These areas often have a lower risk of severe weather and may offer a wide range of hotel options.

Booking a backup hotel in an inland location can allow you to explore different attractions and experiences during your trip.

Consider Pet-Friendly Options

If you’re traveling with pets, it’s important to consider pet-friendly options when booking backup hotels. Not all hotels allow pets, and finding accommodations accommodating furry companions during severe weather can be challenging.

Websites like BringFido can be valuable when searching for pet-friendly backup hotels. These platforms list hotels that welcome pets and offer specific amenities. Considering these options in advance, you can ensure that your beloved pet is safe and comfortable during a potential hurricane.

Also Read:
What is a Pet-Friendly Hotel?
Top Hotel Chains That Allow Pets


With the right preparation and timing, you can often cancel your upcoming hotel reservation penalty-free in case of a major hurricane. Being informed of the property’s severe weather policy, evacuating early if needed, and having backup hotel options can provide peace of mind.

While canceling due to hurricanes can be stressful, hotels generally understand during these extenuating circumstances. You can reschedule your vacation for sunshine instead of storms with proactive planning and quick action.

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