For the most part, Hawaii’s been very fortunate during recent hurricane seasons. Last year’s impact from Hurricane Iselle was certainly felt (especially on Hawaii Island), but it was not nearly as bad as it could have been. Over the last week, Hawaii has been keeping a vigilant eye on Guillermo, a hurricane-turned-tropical storm that seems to have veered far enough away from our islands to minimize its impact—although we are still staying cautious. The fact of the matter is that the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms is an inevitability here in Hawaii, and while you shouldn’t let that deter you from visiting, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’ll be vacationing between June and November.
Check with your airline: If a tropical storm or hurricane looms, many airlines will allow travelers to change or cancel their flights at no additional charge. It may be worth checking into before booking (just in case), although many may enact these policies on a case-by-case basis. If a storm is on the horizon a few days before travel, you may be able to hold off on your trip. The same goes for your hotel—many allow no-penalty cancellations or changes due to severe, dangerous weather.
Plan to extend: Hopefully, a storm won’t interfere with your plans to return to the mainland. However, sometimes these things happen, and your trip to Hawaii may be a few days longer than planned. If you’re packing any medications, it’s a good idea to bring an extra week’s supply along with you, just in case. The same goes for some extra cash, and be sure you plan for someone to see to your affairs at home should you be longer than you expected.
Stock up early: If you’re going to be sequestered in a hotel room during dangerous conditions, remember the very real possibility of a power outage as well. It’s not a bad idea to pick up a few items ahead of time to get you through the worst of it: bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, and a portable cell phone charger. Keep in mind, though, that when Hawaii residents get word of a possible storm, we hit the grocery stores up FAST. It may be difficult to find even basic necessities if you put it off for too long.
Stay informed: Above all, make sure you keep yourself updated on the latest forecasts, closures, and advisories. I like having the Hawaii News Now app on my phone and tablet; I can get real-time alerts, and even watch live newscasts from anywhere. That and similar apps are free to download, and good to have even when there isn’t a severe weather threat; it’s always a good idea to get a feel for what’s going on locally! For a more traditional route, pick up a local newspaper every morning to keep up on the latest developments.
Hopefully, your trip to Hawaii will be everything you dreamed it would be, but it never hurts to be prepared—even in paradise!