Paradise Lost: What You Need To Know If Irma Or Maria Wrecked Your Travel Plans

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s paradise lost for many people planning Caribbean vacations in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, there are protections available to travelers and a few things to watch out for when re-booking your cancelled vacation.

Mike and Lindsey Schehr smiled for the camera on their wedding day, trading the sandy beaches of the Bahamas for those in Orange Beach, Alabama.

“We were disappointed. We had been looking forward to going for nine months,” Mike said.

The Schehrs are one of thousands of couples and families whose Caribbean travel plans were abruptly cancelled when hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through this month.

“We were told we were actually gong to lose money, so that was stressful,” Lindsey said.

Flights in the Caribbean are slowly resuming, with the first commercial flights in and out of St. Thomas happening on Friday.

Travel in much of the Caribbean remains at a standstill.

“If you paid for it with a credit card, you may have recourse because you contracted for a service that you didn’t get, or if you bought travel insurance, you may be okay, but keep in mind, you had to buy that insurance before the storm was officially names,” CBS travel expert Peter Greenberg said.

Many travelers are now trying to move their vacations to other nearby islands, but Greenberg warned that decision could cost you big time.

“So if you now want to book in Barbados or Aruba or Curacao, well the needle shifts. Law of supply and demand, those airfares go up,” he said.

Most resorts in the Caribbean are offering refunds or waving the cost of rescheduling.

Lindsey and mike were protected by travel insurance and now plan to take their September honeymoon to the Bahamas in November.

“In my entire travel experience, the best times I’ve ever had were when plan A didn’t work,” Greenberg said.

So make the most of plan B, and if you act quickly, you may not see any losses in money or fun.

Greenberg said cruise passengers face a different challenge. Many cruise lines are opting to make changes covered in the passenger agreement, including; docking at different ports, and staying at those ports longer than the standard twelve hours.