Earl throws curve into Labor Day weekend plans for many

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Uncertainty about Hurricane Earl is making Labor Day travel difficult to plan this weekend.

If you plan on canceling or shortening a trip to Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks in North Carolina, time may be running out for a refund.

Tourism officials say call as soon possible to find out the policy for the place you have reserved whether you've rented a beach house or a hotel room, you may have purchased renter's insurance or trip insurance. If not, you may not get your money back, even if there is a mandatory evacuation.

"For the next time you book, make sure that you know what happens if you have to cancel- whether it's a hurricane, or someone gets sick, or you have a flat tire," said Martha Meade of AAA. "You can really lose your money if you're not well prepared."

Meade says if you do plan on traveling into Earl's path, make sure you're prepared for possible power outages and other emergencies and be ready for heavy traffic.  Between the storm and the busy travel weekend, it could be a long car ride.

For those who are canceling Labor Day travel plans, the friendly skies are offering a break.

At least five major airlines have waived change fees for customers flying into the path of Hurricane Earl.

Continental, Delta, US airways, Air Tran and Frontier are making hurricane-related changes to their itineraries.

Check your airline's website to find out when you can re-book your flight  and/or receive credit toward a future ticket.

Cruise ships heading to the Caribbean are also changing their routes. Cruise officials say itinerary changes this week have affected the vacations of at least 30,000 people. Carnival cruise officials said earlier this week that the hurricane would likely not affect cruises leaving from Charleston. A ship left Wednesday.

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Be sure you check the Hurricane Center often to get the latest forecast.

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