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Tips to avoid losses on travel when a hurricane spoils your plans

Tips to avoid losses on travel when a hurricane spoils your plans. (ABC7)

Irma put a huge dent in a girls weekend for Felicia Gilbert and 2 friends who traveled to Punta Cana hoping Irma would shift away from the Island... it didn't.

Felicia Gilbert stuck in her hotel room for 48 hours says "We saw crews of people coming in with sand bags. They were removing all types of furniture and things that could get caught up in the wind and hit someone."

George Hobica, the founder of the travel website airfarewatchdog.com tells ABC 7 News that people should avoid travel during hurricane season but if you must head to the islands make sure you purchase travel insurance.

Hobica adds "A good place to shop for plans is squaremouth.com or insuremytrip.com or travelinsurance.com and I would not buy travel insurance directly from your airline or your cruise company. I would buy it from a third party."

More than 1,800 flights canceled out of Florida. Eight cruises never left the U.S. and 13 cruise lines changed courses to avoid Irma.

Here's some tips:

Airlines offer free flight changes during severe weather. Use FlightAware.com to check on connecting flights. Use airlines apps and websites to rebook your own flights. Bookmark travel alert pages offered by airlines and cruises.

Felicia Gilbert says "Obviously it's a gamble we take and if we didn't come we would of lost all our money. Maybe that would of been the smarter thing to do.. I don't know."

Here's another tip that's huge according to Hobica "When you buy an airline ticket or a cruise ticket you don't have a lot of rights. One right of an airline ticket is if the flight is severely canceled or delayed you can get a full refund even on a non-refundable airfare."

Airlines are offering travel waivers in connection to Irma and cruise lines are making full refunds.

Here’s a link to more tips on travel: transportation.gov/airconsumer/flights-and-rights

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