say that careful and concise vacation planning is important,
is an understatement. Whether you are planning on your
own or using a dive travel specialist, your hard earned
diving dollars will go farther and your enjoyment will
be much greater if if you take the time, ask the right
questions and become informed about your destination.
The following is a checklist of hints, tips and suggestions
to get you started in the right direction. We have purposely
designed (or rather not designed) this page so that you
can make a copy and put it to good use.
At some time during your diver training, you were taught
the importance of dive planning. The goal is to arrive
at your chosen dive site with proper equipment in good
working order, at the best time and under the best conditions
to accomplish your dive objectives.
Your dive vacation planning should be an integral part
of this concept as well. Some of the benefits of proper
planning should include:
1.Increased enjoyment of your dive trip.
Last minute or ineffective planning can result in increased
anxiety. Take your time and plan properly.
2. Helps identify your dive vacation goals.
What kind of diving do you want to do? Is there a particular
site that interests you? Are there other things that you
would like to do or see when you are not diving?
3. Good planning can help yo save money.
If you take the time to plan, you can research locations,
activities and accomodations. You can save money by booking
early, scheduling for off peak periods, and shopping around
for the best deals.
4. Planning can help to insure the quality of your
diving and accomodations.
Planning ahead will help insure you get the hotels and
dive operations you want, even during even during peak
season when booking are full.
How to plan your vacation
1. Start reading all you can about your dive destination.
Study all of the latest information available. Even if
you have been to a location before, things can change.The
hotel or charter that you used last time may not still
be there or may be under new ownership.
2. What kind of diving are you looking for?
If you are flexible, your choices will be much broader.
On the other hand, if you are specifically looking for
drift diving, wreck diving, spearfishing, etc.., you must
choose a location that meets these desires.
3. Use your dive instructor, other divers and Dive Florida
as sources of information. Learn all you can from divers
who have been there. The more you know, the less likely
you are to have a disappointing experience
4. Plan Early
The widely accepted norm is that you should plan ahead
approximately one month for each $100. you plan to spend.
If you start well enough in advance, you can cover all
the bases. Besides, planning is a learning experience
and the anticipation makes a great vacation that much
How to choose your dive destination
1. What is your certification level and experience?
Choose a location that is right for you. Some locations
cater to novice divers, others to the more advanced, and
many accomodate all levels. Don't get caught on the wrong
end of the spectrum.
2. What do you want out of your dive vacation?
Do you want to spend as much time as possible underwater?
Do you want to take in some topside attractions? Or maybe
you are seeking a happy medium. You should consider these
questions when planning.
3. Will you be doing any training on vacation?
If you are planning to complete your open water training,
or to take an advanced or specialty course, you should
check on the agency affiliations and availability with
the operator you are going to use.
4. What accomodations are available?
Are you looking for a campsite or the Taj Mahal? Or do
you just want a place that is cozy and comfortable? Do
your homework and get what you want
5. Are you on a budget?
If you answered yes to the Taj Mahal, skip this part.
If on the other hand you are like most of us, you must
stay within a certain budget for vacations. Plan carefully
and intelligently and you can stay within your means.
Take your time, talk with those who have been to the location
you are interested in. Ask lots of questions and do not
hesitate to call dive operators and hotels for more specific
Some common questions to ask are listed below to help
you along. Some will matter to you, some will not, and
still others will just be nice to know. This is not a
definitive list but something to help you get started
- What kind of accomodations are available and what are
- What type of dive boats does the operator have and how
many divers do they carry?
- Are there medical facilities nearby, and how far is
the nearest recompression chamber?
- What kind of air fill system is used and is the air
- What brands and types of equipment can be bought, rented
- Are the dives guided or independently planned with a
- What are the diving depths at this location?
- What is the visibility and water temperature for the
time of year you are visiting?
- What should you expect to see on your dives?
- Are instructors available for a class you would like
- Are camera and/or video equipment available for rent?
- Is photo processing available?
- Do the boats carry oxygen and first aid kits?
- Are there specific policies concerning the use of dive
- Is nitrox available?
- How far is the hotel from the dive boat?
- How long are the boat rides to the sites?
- When is the best time of year to viit this location?
In addition to planning your travel, you should determine
what you will need to take with you. Make a list (and
check it twice) of dive equipment, spare parts, tickets,
reservation confirmations, clothes and other personal
By carefully planning your dive vacation, you will have
that extra assurance that you are getting the best value
and most enjoyment out of those diving dollars. It may
sound like a lot of legwork, but it is actually a lot
of fun. So what are you waiting for? Start planning!!!
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