Planning a Scuba Dive Vacation
Scuba Dive Vacation Phuket
For divers like myself, who live in the Rocky Mountains, winter means regular ice and snowstorms, navigating slippery roads around town, and waiting for the snowplough guy to show up. We expect winter to last from November through May, and we don’t whine when it begins in October and ends in June. However, by the time January rolls around, we’ve already had three months of winter, the holiday festivities are over, and our thoughts turn toward the sunny beach.
We daydream about white sandy beaches, warm clear water, colourful coral reefs, lazy or swarming marine life, and the setting sun over rippling waves. Non-divers, as well as friends and family of divers, feel a deep urge for warm tropical breezes, fascinating geography and sumptuous accommodations. Scuba divers, anyway we look at it, we can find someone to join us enthusiastically on our next beach getaway.
So let’s dream the dream dive. Here are some questions to consider when planning your next dive trip:
1) Where do I want to dive?
Some of my warm water favourites include Cozumel, Mexico and almost any site in the Caribbean. Of course, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is another popular tropical destination for divers with more available time. A cool water suggestion is the Fiji Islands. Your local dive shop, scuba travel guide, or internet search can provide more or less exotic recommendations depending on your preferences.
2) Should I travel with my equipment or rent equipment at my destination?
Personally, I prefer diving with my own, previously fitted, well tweaked, and properly maintained equipment. I recommend at least taking your own wet suit, regulator, and mask; these are personal items where hygiene is important. If you like your fins, take them with you; they lay flat a the suitcase. It can be a hassle getting your gear in and out of airports not to mention your suitcase, so some travelling divers find it easier to rent their equipment. Most dive operations offer rental equipment. Be aware that some offer higher quality equipment than others. Know before you go. If you decide to take your own equipment, take your regulator to your local dive shop for inspection and parts replacement, if needed. To be sure, try out your equipment in a scuba pool. Diving in your own gear is the best, but faulty equipment can ruin an otherwise great dive trip.
3) Do I want a package dive deal (best) or separate fees that I manage and choose?
Dive packages are often the least expensive way to dive, especially when you bring a dive buddy. How many dives and how many tanks of breathing gas are in the package? What other perks come in the package? Remember to take your diving certification card(s). Most dive operators require proof of certification, and some need proof of skills.
4) What kind of accommodations do I want?
The offerings are as plentiful as they are diverse. You may want a cabin on sparsely populated beach, a beach with a pulsating nightlife, or luxury accommodations aboard a cruising yacht. How many nights are included? Are meals included in the price? How many meals, snacks, beverages? You may be surprised at the array of offerings out there. Just know that there is a match for every budget and any time frame. Just ask a scuba travel guide.
5) Do I want to take underwater photographs?
Three to four dives per day are common on a dive vacation. Serious underwater photographers wouldn’t think twice about taking their camera equipment. They wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to snap that stunning coral reef, rare seahorse, or super whale shark. Many hotels and resorts provide special areas with ample power outlets and large work tables for photographers to work. And, inexpensive underwater cameras allow novice photographers to enjoy underwater pictures of their friends and treasures.
When should I plan my dive trip?
Now is a good time. It’s best to make reservations well in advance, so start planning!