Keep an eye on hurricanes

Nothing upsets travel plans like a hurricane. The huge, deadly storms can incapacitate a region.

But rarely is a hurricane’s arrival a surprise. Weather forecasters can identify storms at their infancy far out in the ocean. Usually, they can predict the path of a tropical storm or hurricane many days before it would make landfall.

So if you are traveling, or for that matter live, in Florida, the Caribbean or the Southeast United States, you need to keep an eye on the hurricane threat.

Whether you are traveling to or through an area, you want to know whether a hurricane is going to hit when you are there. Actually, before and after a hurricane hits are also dicey times. Preparations for a hurricane can clear the store shelves of basic products. In the aftermath, roads might be impassable and electricity unavailable.

So, you can wait for news reports for a synopsis of the situation. But I like to get my storm info direct from the source. And that is the National Hurricane Center.

This website from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides you with up-to-date tracking information for every hurricane and tropical storm as well as locations of potential storms.

Plan early to see leaves change

Looking to spend a weekend in the Asheville, North Carolina, area in mid-October. It is a great time to see the leaves changing color.  But if you plan to use your Marriott Rewards to defray the cost, you better plan ahead for next year. The opportunity has passed for 2018.

We were looking at Oct. 11-15, this year. But couldn’t use a free-night certificate or points for Friday and Saturday night.  That was even the most affordable Marriott properties in that area. 

And it wasn’t me on my lonesome, I called guest services. The fellow there was optimistic. But he worked the issue with many combinations for a half-hour with no luck.

Each location only books a set number of rooms for people using points or certificates. They do that to remain profitable. We should have hammered out the logistics a month or two earlier. Then we could have been successful in getting a room a decent price for a prime time in that area.