Canceling your Gulf Coast vacation?

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wondering if your beach vacation will be washed up in oil globs? There are some ways you can protect your holiday if you're planning a trip to the Gulf Coast.

While oil-slicked waves and tar-ball beaches don't conjure up images of paradise, there's no need to cancel your plans yet. Many beaches are open for business.

"There's more fear than reality," says Anne Banas of SmarterTravel.com.

And businesses that rely on tourism know that. "This is peak summer season, and prices are getting slashed," she says.

Along with incentives, here are some guarantees that tourism boards and hotels are offering.

St. Pete Clearwater, Fla. -- Local hotels are offering a "book with confidence" guarantee. If you find beaches affected by the oil spill, your first night is free?taxes and resort fees included. Take a look at the beach.

Panama City Beach, Fla. -- If beaches require cleaning from the oil spill, or if they're closed, a number of resorts and hotels are offering a full refund or vouchers for future stays.

Some rental homes are even offering oil spill guarantees.

Orbitz, an online travel site, will refund your hotel costs if a beach is closed, or is declared dangerous, within 20 miles of the property.

If you have already booked your trip, call ahead to the hotel and make sure you are know about the policies. Make sure there is a pool available if you're worried you won't be able to use the beaches.

Finally, check local newspapers or local tourism boards for updates.

Keep in mind if you do want to change your plans because of oil spill concerns, you may have to pay an airline change fee if you reschedule your flight.

Talkback: Have you given to the Gulf oil spill clean-up effort? To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.78%3.79%
15 yr fixed2.98%2.93%
5/1 ARM3.06%2.99%
30 yr refi3.85%3.85%
15 yr refi3.05%3.00%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,080.14 21.45 0.12%
Nasdaq 5,092.09 36.02 0.71%
S&P 500 2,117.69 4.76 0.23%
Treasuries 1.92 -0.03 -1.54%
Data as of 1:33pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Microsoft Corp 47.87 4.53 10.45%
Apple Inc 130.28 0.61 0.47%
Comcast Corp 59.64 0.41 0.69%
AT&T Inc 34.01 -0.22 -0.64%
Xerox Corp 11.99 -1.15 -8.75%
Data as of Apr 24

Sections

Shares in Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo dropped sharply Friday after hoaxers claimed its CEO had quit after faking billions in profits. More

The impact of rising immigration on Britain's economy has become a hot topic in the election campaign. More

Stars of Youtube, Vine, Snapchat, and Twitter are attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. More

A Girl Scouts Cookie Oven rolling out to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart stores this summer will let you bake those iconic thin mints right at home. More