Vacationing along the Gulf Coast? Buyer Beware!

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – Misty Aucoin and Peggy Kelley's office takes an annual vacation every year.

In February, they made vacation plans to Destin, Florida. But then last month, the oil spill happened.

"My first reaction, it didn't bother me," said Kelley. "It wasn't until day after day after day they did not have it under control."

As the oil slick grew, they decided to cancel their plans, worried their vacation might be ruined.

But that's when they ran into trouble. The resort refused to refund their money. And even though they had travel insurance, the insurance company told them the oil spill wasn't covered since it was not considered a natural disaster.

"We can shop anywhere. We can cook anywhere," said Aucoin. "We can only go to the beach there. That's what we booked the trip for and now we may not even be able to enjoy that."

The president of Ocean Reef Resorts, Tim Taylor, said there is no need for anyone to cancel their vacations to the Florida panhandle.

"The oil spill hasn't reached Destin, so it's kind of like reporting a car accident before you had the wreck," said Taylor. "Everything's fine here in Destin, so we're telling people they should come here on vacation. There's no need to cancel their vacations."

Aucoin, Kelley  and the girls in their Lake Charles office now have no choice but to go forward with their scheduled vacation in a couple of weeks. They hope the oil stays far away from Destin.

If you have a vacation scheduled along the gulf, travel agents say it's best to monitor the oil slick.

They also say it's important to make sure you read the fine print before you sign up for any travel insurance. Look specifically for what kind of disasters are covered, and what are not. Sometimes the insurance companies decide on a case by case basis whether to give you a reimbursement.

Finally, you should keep in touch with the rental company because as the oil slick grows, things are constantly changing.

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