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Travel protection

By Jennie Bragg, CNN producer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Whether you are planning a vacation or have already booked that Thanksgiving Day trip, with a travel alert in Europe and hurricane season far from over, this fall could be a dicey time to travel.

Make sure you cover all your bases before you get out of town.

Hurricane-proof your trip

The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't end until November 30th, so if you are planning a trip to the islands or a coastal state, schedule with care.

"Find a hotel with a weather guarantee," suggests Mark Orwoll, international editor at Travel + Leisure. "Many hotels agree not to charge you for your room on days that are disrupted by a hurricane."

Most airlines have hurricane policies as well. Check the policy before you book, to make sure you are protected.

"American Airlines will let you change your plans at no fee in the event of an oncoming hurricane as long as you rebook before your first scheduled flight and travel within seven days of your original departure date," says Mark Orwoll.

And if you haven't booked yet, the best way to protect yourself is to choose a destination outside the hurricane belt.

"The southern Caribbean islands of Aruba, Barbados, and Curacao haven't had hurricane damage in decades," suggests Orwoll.

Euro trip

Sparse crowds in major cities and pleasant weather make autumn a great time for European travel, but this week's travel alert has many Americans wondering if now is the time to head overseas.

"The U.S. now has an alert, not a travel warning. Travel could be impacted even more if this changes to a warning," says Bob Diener, travel expert and CEO of GetaRoom.com.

Travel alerts are generally milder and are issued for a shorter term than warnings.

Industry experts and travel agents say the alert has caused very little impact on the region so far, and the U.S. State Department officials say the alert should not scare anyone from traveling to Europe.

But take general precautions if you are an American traveling in Europe this fall.

"We are telling travelers to Europe not to wear sneakers," says Diener. "Europeans usually wear shoes, except to ballgames, and wearing sneakers make Americans stick out."

If you are a savvy traveler, now is actually a great time to book a trip to Europe. Prices have dropped and you can snag some great deals on trips a few months from now, when the alert will likely no longer be in effect.

"We are seeing 4 star hotels in London as low as $75 a night -- and this is in U.S. Dollars!" says Diener. "In Paris, 4 star hotels are as low as $130. These are great deals for booking now."

Talkback: Have you bought travel insurance? To top of page

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