Planning a Dive Vacation?
Written by Lyndsey Morgan
Becoming a certified scuba diver is the first step in unlocking the door to an amazing world that only a small percentage of the earth's population will ever see. The ocean is the planet's last frontier, and while some people are more fortunate to live near great dive locations, the rest of us must research and plan out our diving vacations. Before you call your travel agent, you will want to ask yourself some questions about what you want from your dive trip, such as:
- What type of dives do you want to engage in? Whether it's wreck diving, drift diving, spear fishing or photography, remember to choose dives that are not beyond your skill or comfort level.
- Will you be doing any dive training? You should check on the agency affiliations and availability with the operator you are going to use.
- What do you want out of your dive vacation? Some people just want to dive and nothing else, while others want time to explore the tourist sites and learn the local culture, on top of their diving experience.
- What time of year will you be going on your dive vacation? Obviously you don't want to plan your diving trip to Florida during hurricane season.
- Do you want a land based dive trip or a live aboard dive trip? A live aboard trip can be a little overwhelming for a novice diver as the dive schedule can be exhausting with 4-5 dives a day including night dives.
- What kind of accommodations are you looking for? Camping can always be a fun alternative to a hotel, but you can't beat the comfort of a hot shower and a cozy bed after a long day of diving.
- What is your budget?
Next you will want to choose a location that will accommodate your needs. There are plenty of ways to find, identify, and research these locations, but the best way is to ask around. There are plenty of divers who have traveled extensively in search for that one "trophy dive spot" and since you can't beat firsthand knowledge from locations like diving Roatan or diving Anguilla, these are the ones you should ask. Once you have chosen your destination, call ahead and get more details such as:
- What types of boats, how many divers can they accommodate, and do the boats carry oxygen?
- What type of air systems do they have and how often they are checked?
- Do they have Nitrox?
- What type of equipment would you need and what equipment do they have available?
- Are the dives guided or not?
- What are the diving depths, currents, and water temperature?
- How far is the closest medical facility?
The last and most important thing to consider is the need for Diving/Travel insurance. While diving is, with the proper training, a very safe activity, it does have its risks. Having dive/travel insurance will help protect you from those rare accidents and injuries that can occur. Dive insurance can cover things such as injury, disability, death, dive vacation interruption/cancelation, and some agencies such as DAN (Divers Alert Network) will even insure your dive equipment.
Now that you have all the details for your dive vacation worked out, it's time to pack. Make sure you have checked all of your dive equipment, because replacing and repairing dive equipment can often be next to impossible in some locations. It's always a good idea to bring extra O rings, mask and fin straps, and plenty of Zip ties to secure any loose gear.
As a former Naui instructor, I would like to pass on the same advice I have given all my students: Never fall into peer pressure and always dive your skill level. Anxiety and stress can ruin a dive, as well as your perception of diving. Should you ever feel uncomfortable with a dive, just say no!
Dive travel sites
US Dive Travel
- Offers exiting dive packages destinations including custom built dive trips for groups. Also includes tips on how to avoid a bummer dive trip
Island Dreams Dive Travel
- Find great diving adventures in Cozumel, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Share your dive vacation pictures in the sites photo gallery.
Ultimate Dive Travel
- On this site you can find plenty of dive information on locations in the Caribbean, Micronesia, Central and South Africa, the South Pacific, Australia and South Asia. You can also find great dive resorts for these locations.
Dive the World
- An incredible site for finding dive locations worldwide along with other useful information such as dive resorts, dive courses as well as information on underwater creatures.
- This site specializes in Caribbean dive locations such as the Grand Cayman Islands, Belize, Roatan, St Croix and Costa Rica.
Reef and Rainforest
- Reef and Rainforest specializes in designing personalized itineraries for exotic destinations worldwide.
The Scuba Diving Directory
- A one stop, informative website for planning your diving adventure. Ask veteran and novice divers about hot dive spots in the Divers Forum and Blog.
- Specializes in live aboard dive packages in exotic locations such as the Maldives, Bahamas, Galapagos Islands, Saba-St kitts, Turks & Caicos, Chinchorro and Silver Bank.
- This site offers a variety of live aboard dive packages with locations like Alaska, Guadalupe Island, Socorro Island, Clipperton Atoll, the Sea of Cortez and San Benitos Island & Baja.
Premier Live aboard Diving
Premier Live Aboard Diving offers live aboard adventures on luxurious boats worldwide. Also, check out their last minute offers and deals.
World Wide Dive and Sail
This site caters to people who love to dive and sail with live aboard dive packages focused on sailboats.
Divers Alert Network
Divers Alert Network (DAN), the largest association of recreational divers in the world, DAN is supported by membership dues and donations. The benefits of DAN membership include emergency medical evacuation assistance through DAN Travel Assist.
- Offers 3 levels of diving accident coverage to choose from, gold, silver and platinum.
- Insure all your dive equipment and cameras.
Dive Certifications Agencies and Continued Education
- The National Association of Underwater Instructors, a worldwide non-profit organization devoted to "dive safety through education"
- The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Scuba Schools International (SSI).