By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Bad weather can play havoc with more than just the shorelines of your favorite beach, resort city or island paradise.

It can really mess up your vacation plans, says Ruth Nagy, AAA’s managing director of travel operations.

“Know what your options are anyway, and be aware of what’s going on,” Nagy told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano.

While it’s easy to put off a drive to the east coast, if you are flying and weather closes the airport or the airline cancels your flight, says Nagy, “They will allow you to use that airline ticket towards the purchase of another trip with them with no penalty.”

“They won’t refund your money but they’ll allow you to use it as credit toward the purchase of another ticket at another time usually within a year.”

Some potentially closed airports are connections for many flights elsewhere, so be sure to ask, “Are there other options for me? Can I connect through another connecting airport to get to my final destination?”

Now if you’ve booked a place to stay in an evacuated zone, says Nagy, “Typically, they don’t provide you a refund but they do allow you to use that time at another time.”

Going on a cruise? Don’t worry. Just be flexible.

“If the hurricane’s in the Atlantic, the cruise line will go to the Gulf of Mexico. If it’s over in the Gulf of Mexico, it will go over into the Atlantic.”

While it’s too late for this hurricane, travel insurance can help reimburse most dollar losses and is relatively cheap — but policies differ so check them carefully.

It’s only natural to put off a decision on postponing or delaying your vacation until the very last minute in the hope that the weather will not affect your plans.

But travel experts say that waiting could be a problem — after all, those who could help you most might have been evacuated. Bottom line: do what you can as soon as you can.

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