How To Plan A Dive Trip Part I – What Do You Want?
Hi guys! Sorry I have been AWOL for ages, but this time of year is also known as ‘The time of year when I work heaps to save money for my next trip.’ Yay! Though hospitality is fun, active and full of interesting people, the best part of working is knowing that I am working towards a new adventure! I read a quote somewhere recently that said,
‘Invest in travel. Experiences are worth more than money.’
While I do not endorse a lifestyle of not saving for future endeavours, I do strongly recommend travelling as often as is possible for you. Aim for what you can. Set a goal, and work towards it.
This article will be broken into two. This one will aim to get you to specify what you want out of a dive trip and where to start. The follow-up will include what information is most important to consider before you press ‘buy’ on your plane tickets.
On Packages – My last two trips were diving based, but were both completely different in the way they were booked and also what they entailed.
For instance; Trip One was booked through an agent that specialised in dive packages, and was with a like-minded group. Trip Two was organised by myself and a friend, with only a few dives booked, and plenty of other things to see and/or do.
On Relaxing – Now, depending on your definition of relaxing, either of these dive trips may suit you. Trip One, was all meals, accommodation, laundry etc. included. I just had to be at the dock with my gear ready at the right time. Lots of lolling around between dives and reading trashy novels (like ‘Fifty Shades of I Shamefully Left My Copy at the Resort’).
Trip Two, had very little booked, so if we felt like eggs on toast with baked beans for dinner, we’d have that. If we felt like a day trip to a beach? That. A dive? That. A sleep in? That. A trivia night at the local pub? That.
On Money – You need to have a budget. It’s that simple. Without dwelling on money, the main points of concern are to know what you are working with. Work out exactly how much you have to spend on a trip before even Googling ‘Diving in the Maldives.’
Once that’s done, I prefer to divide it into three categories.
- Initial cost of trip.
- Extra money to spend while on trip (this may include food if not on a package, or souvenirs, or anything that may not have been paid in advance but you intend to do, etc).
- Re-entry fund. This is money to be used at home when you get back, to get you back on your feet. This way you will be able to estimate a more accurate trip budget.
Remember that package deals are essentially an agent, who will need their cut for helping you book. Therefore the cost will be inflated for this service.
On Safety – I strongly urge getting Dive Insurance. For pure piece of mind for you and your buddy. A lot of dive shops will be very safety orientated, but always check yourself what their protocols are, especially in some remote locations. Generally, it can feel safer booking the whole thing, especially dives, though a big company. It can feel more secure to know that someone has done the groundwork and the diveshop is part of a reputable company. But always check these things yourself. Google it, and read reviews. It is a good idea to ask around at your local dive centres, find people who have visited the place you are thinking about going to, and get advice or recommendations. Generally people will love to share their experience, even with a relative stranger. Or even via email if you know of a cousin of a friend of a friend of a friend that might be willing to share info on a destination.
On Other Activities – This is where you ask yourself if you want just dives, or some other activities too. Remember that diving twice a day every day for a week can be exhausting if you aren’t used to it. And also, that some places, (if you intend on ticking off one country at a time) boast other unmissable, and unforgettable experiences that you might kick yourself later if you missed out on.
On Gear – Gear is a toughie. On Trip One I took everything (except weights or tank). This was mandatory. And yes, I felt comfy in my gear, gear that I am used to, fits perfectly, never fails, and never fogs. But some airlines have low weight limits and packing was a strict and meticulous affair. On the trip home the gear was also, how can I put this…. moist.
On Trip Two, I took mask, fins and my wettie. And hired the rest there. As the trip included only a few dives, this was a sacrifice I made (think ill-fittting BCD). These few items also meant that snorkelling could still be enjoyed on other days without the hassle of hiring stuff.
Final Thought – The easiest way to determine what will suit you, is to gather as much information as possible. Both ways can be perfectly apt to plan an enjoyable holiday.
Write lists! Develop the pros and cons of both types of booking plans. And decide which you will personally get the most out of. This may involve compromise if you aren’t travelling alone, but remember that this is your money and your adventure too, so if there is something you feel you will never get the chance to do again, voice it.
Alternatively, talk with a package agent. Some will be happy to include other perks. It’s all a part of their job to develop a package that suits the client. This may include stopovers or other things specific to location. And finally, don’t rush into it! Perhaps invest in a notebook that you can include lots of different information in. A bucket list of many dive places that you can tick off over the course of your divelife. Good planning and timing make all the difference.
(Pic – Magnetic Island Palms, Aus.)
Want more? Next article : ‘How To Plan A Dive Trip Part II – When Is The Wet Season?’
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