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Money-saving tips for travel during hurricane season

Who cares if meteorologists are predicting an active hurricane season this year.  That’s no reason to stay home, not when there are so many deals to be had in Mexico, the Caribbean and Florida.

Take the whole family for a long weekend in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands -- no passports are required, saving you about $100 per person right there. Head to an outer island of the Bahamas and take advantage of the “Two Fly Free from Nassau"  offer.

At the all-inclusive Grand Palladium resorts in Punta Cana and elsewhere in the Caribbean, your kids can now play with the loveable Raggs characters—those five musical pups in the PBS series.  At Palladium Resorts, up to two kids 12 and under are free until Dec. 20, 2013.

At the Palace Resorts on Riviera Maya, if you book a five-night’s stay through Dec. 15, you can take advantage of $1500 in resort credit to cover spa, golf, dolphin encounters, sightseeing excursions, special romantic suppers and more.

Moon Dance Cliffs, a luxury boutique hotel and villa resort on Jamaica's scenic Cliffs of Negril, is touting not only the all-inclusive resort’s lowest rates of the season, but through Dec. 19, it is offering an extra night free if you book four. Instead of taking the kids, opt for a parent’s getaway or one just for the girls.  Here’s what I wrote about a girlfriends getaway to Anguilla.

There are plenty of cruise deals too—including from ports right near your home.  You’ve got more than 30 to choose from.

Cruise ships often can change their itinerary to avoid storms. But what if you’ve booked a getaway to an island or the Florida Coast?  Hurricane season lasts through Nov. 30.  Make sure you book travel insurance from a company like Travel Guard when you book your trip.  Remember, once a hurricane is named, it’s probably going to be too late to recoup any money if you have to cancel or cut short your trip.

But if you’ve got travel insurance, and the storm directly impacts your travel, you should be covered for the hotel nights if you can’t leave—or can’t get there. Of course you should check the forecasts in advance and sign up for flight status alerts, as Travel Guard suggests, just in case.

Many hotels now offer hurricane guarantees as well enabling you to rebook if you have to cancel or leave early. Make sure to read all the fine print!

More from Eileen:

What it's like meeting the locals in the Bahamas

Fall music festivals in the Caribbean

Favorite Fall Getaways Guide

Eileen Ogintz is a nationally syndicated columnist and creator of TakingtheKids.com. Her new  Kids Guide to Boston is available online and from major booksellers, along with the Kids Guides to NYC, Washington, DC, Orlando,  LA and Chicago. Coming  later this year: San Diego, San Francisco and Denver.