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As Tropical Storm Cindy begins to affect consumers' travel plans, it's worth investigating strategies to minimize the cost of canceling your trip.
Tropical Storm Cindy has weakened slightly, according to the latest advisories from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. They predict the storm will approach southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas sometime Wednesday.
The agency had issued tropical storm watches and warnings for several areas along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, cautioning of hazards including "life-threatening flash flooding," strong winds and storm surges. Advisories mid-day Wednesday discontinued tropical storm warnings for areas "north and east of the Mississippi River, including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain."
Many states have already enacted emergency plans.
(NOAA has predicted an "above normal" year of storms with a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms, including five-to-nine hurricanes.)
"Interests elsewhere along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the central Texas coast to the western Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system," according to the advisory.
Travelers heading to, from or through an area in the path of the storm might start checking to see how easily and cheaply they can shift plans. (See tips below.)
Major airlines — including American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United — have issued travel advisories related to Tropical Storm Cindy, and are waiving the change fees for travelers to reschedule their flights.
Now that Cindy is a named storm, it's too late to pick up travel insurance for your trip. But if you already have a policy in place, check to see if its protections have kicked in (depending on your coverage, they may not have, yet).