HURRICANE WATCH

Ivan the Terrible

If a trip to southern climes is in your plans, chances are your destination was spared or has already recovered from Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan. But here's a list of exceptions and where you can find detailed information about the status of specific communities and hotels.

* Grenada: The hardest hit by Ivan of all the Caribbean islands. Hotels that are still standing anticipate that it could take months to reopen. Details: www.grenadaemergency.com.

* Jamaica: Ivan closed roads, ports and airports for a time, but the island basically righted itself rather quickly. Montego Bay airport reopened last week, and at press time, Kingston airport was awaiting the reopening of access roads. Cruise ports also reopened last week, as did most hotels and resorts. Exceptions are listed at www.visitjamaica.com.

* Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman was seriously hit by Ivan; Little Cayman and Cayman Brac were spared. The islands' Web site, www.caymanislands.ky, is focused on disaster relief needs and at press time had no details for tourists.

* Barbados: Minimal brush with Ivan, but four hotels were affected. Details: www.barbados.org.

* Bahamas: Grand Bahama Island was the most seriously affected by Frances. Most hotels in the 700-island chain have reopened or will soon, but several anticipate being closed until November. Details: 800-BAHAMAS, www.bahamas.com (click on Bahamas Bounce Back).

* In the United States, three states in Ivan's path have set up hotlines for tourists. Call for updated info: Louisiana, 800-994-8626; Alabama, 800-222- 2262; Florida, 800-287-8598.

security watch

Patdowns and Urns

The latest travel tips from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration: Don't wear bulky clothing when going through airport security lines, and don't carry cremated ashes in heavy urns.

If you wear bulky clothing, security officers might deem you suspicious, and they're allowed to frisk you even if you didn't set off the metal detector. Plus, officers are now allowed to pat you down with the insides of their hands -- despite how it felt in the past, they were only using the veined and knuckled sides before. The more aggressive search rules will be in effect at all U.S. airports by tomorrow. Now, about those urns: Many are too dense to allow screeners to see the contents on X-ray machines, and the TSA no longer accepts a certificate from a funeral home as proof of what's inside. Security officers aren't allowed to open urns and will send you away. So the TSA now requires that ashes be carried in a temporary box of wood, light plastic or cardboard. This month the agency arranged a partnership with funeral homes willing to transfer the remains into your permanent urn -- no charge.

For a list of participating funeral homes, go to www.tsa.gov, click on "Travelers and Consumers," then "Transporting Special Items."

TRAVEL TICKER

All passengers on flights longer than six hours should take precautions against thrombosis -- or blood clotting in an artery, vein or heart -- by avoiding constrictive clothing, drinking lots of liquids and stretching their calf muscles frequently, according to a new report by the American College of Chest Physicians. Travelers are not advised to take aspirin as a prophylactic, but high-risk fliers should consider taking prescription medication. Details: www.chestnet.org . . . More than 20 national and regional bands will perform in Staunton, Va.,on Sept. 24-26. Details: www.fortunewilliamsmusicfestival.com . . . Set to expire Nov. 18: a law requiring U.S.-based airlines to offer customers on defunct airlines the chance to buy available seats for no more than $25. The law has been extended twice, but so far Congress hasn't taken any action.

BARGAIN OF THE WEEK

Independence Spirit

Nab a two-for-one fare or fly for as low as $29 each way on Independence Air. Details: What's the Deal?, Page P3.

Reporting: Cindy Loose.

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