The Caribbean and Gulf region is known for its tropical sun, but this year the weather and business for travel agents has been anything but smooth sailing.
"The hurricane season started so much earlier than normal, and it has hit several times in a row. Yeah, it does pop into your mind. Well, maybe not, maybe we should head in a different direction," travel agent Terri Lenz said.
Terri Lenz, who owns Country Side Travel, says 2005's steady dose of violent storms has affected about 20 of her clients, including one who experienced Hurricane Wilma in Cancun.
"They stayed in there until the winds and what not were over with, and they got up the next morning and said some things got tossed around in the pool, but they were there cleaning up the area, and bouncing back pretty quick," Lenz said.
Lenz admits she has suggested areas typically away from a hurricane's path, like Aruba and Jamaica, to storm weary travelers. The good news: even if a vacation is upended by Mother Nature, the refund process is usually painless.
"If they've got their date set for vacation on Apple or Fun Jet or a package deal, they can always take that money and transfer it to a different location," Lenz said.
And while the biggest storm season on record winds down, travel agents remain sunny that business will pick back up in time for the holidays and spring break.
"They bounce back pretty good, so once the hurricane is over and done they get the area cleaned up, and get it ready for traveling again," Lenz said.
It’s a hurricane year which wreaked havoc on both travelers and the travel industry, an industry that hopes smoother waters lie ahead.