Planning a sensational scuba vacation can sometimes be a very stressful endeavor, especially when you want to get the best value for that precious time off.  So where do you start?  Well, organization is key to reducing stress, so I suggest you start with these 5 basic steps.  You know what is also key to reducing stress when it comes to your vacation?  Ask your friendly dive travel specialist to help.  That’s why I’m here.  But back to the business of these 5 nuggets for creating your next delightful dive adventure.  There are often many factors to consider when planning a scuba vacation, especially to more remote destinations, but some of the basics include choosing the destination, picking the best time of year to travel there, and how to pack for this destination without breaking the bank with overweight baggage fees.  So to help you plan a dive trip that lives up to your expectations from start to finish, I’ve simplified the planning process into 5 basic steps.



Step 1:  Where Do You Want to Go?

Start out by jotting down a short list of destinations you want to experience.  Why do you want to go there?  Is it to see specific marine life?  Are you out to photograph a particular species?  Is it because you love a particular type of diving, like wreck diving?  
Are you looking for a destination that is friendly to particular requirements?  For example, you are traveling with children.  Your dive club prefers shore diving to boat diving.   Your group is comprised of a majority of inexperienced divers.
Finally, you will need to research some practicalities that may limit the destinations you choose.  This is where an expert comes in handy.  Your destination choice may be limited by your budget.  Or your chosen destination’s visa and vaccination requirements may make going there more challenging then another destination.

Step 2:  What Type of Adventure Are You Considering?

Once you’ve narrowed down your options for a destination, then the next thing to consider would be what type of adventure would you prefer.  Explore what options are available to you at your chosen destinations.  Are you looking for a land-based resort?  One that is dive-dedicated or a more traditional boutique resort or hotel with access to dive operations?  Would you prefer to focus only on diving, or are you looking for a destination with many adventures available on land as well.  Or, maybe you would prefer to experience less land, and more dive sites, and are considering a liveaboard vacation.
Go back to Step 1. to remember the main purpose of this dive vacation.  Let’s say, for example, if you opt for a destination focusing on a liveaboard experience, you need to consider if this is an optimal choice for a family-friendly vacation.

Step 3:  When to Go?


Your next step after narrowing down a possible destination is to research when is the best time of year to go.  A prime travel window may be dictated by Mother Nature and seasonal conditions, including factors such as weather, water temps, visibility, and ocean conditions (especially for liveaboard options).  For example, for the gamblers looking for low season pricing, the Caribbean during hurricane season may be an option, as long as you remember to purchase travel insurance to cover your bases.

Seasonality and migration patterns may also dictate a destination choice if your vacation is based on a target species.  For example, your destination choice, and travel window, may be based on the migratory patterns of hungry whale sharks or breeding gray whales.

Step 4:  How Are You Going to Get There?

After you’ve narrowed down the where, what, and when, you need to delve a little further into the how.  What does it entail to arrive at your chosen destination?  It may simply be a direct flight from your nearby hometown airport to the desired destination with a quick transfer to the resort.  Or it may be a bit more complicated, with multiple connections, long layovers, and both boat and land transfers to get to that remote island.  These details will undoubtedly factor into your budget and length of trip as well.
The devil is in the details.  When choosing your air transport, don’t forget to factor in baggage fees.  And investing in travel insurance is generally a wise option, especially when committing to a more complex or expensive adventure.  Finally, it goes without saying that you should always keep your dive accident insurance current, whether you are diving locally or overseas.  It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Step 5:  Will This Destination Be Equipment Intensive?


When you combine all 4 steps above, the final step in this planning process is taking into consideration what type of gear will be needed.  If you are an occasional diver with no gear of your own per se, you will need to factor in what equipment will be required at this destination and how the price of equipment rental will factor into your budget.  If you are a prolific diver wisely set up with a full arsenal of lightweight travel gear, then you need to reflect on the type of diving you will be doing.  How much photo gear are you lugging along and can you fit that into the airline weight limits?  Are you night diving?  Will packing your lights be worth the weight?  Or would it be wiser and cheaper to rent lights from the destination dive operation?  If you are a tec diver, no doubt you prefer your own equipment, so you will definitely need to research airline restrictions before jetting off on your next adventure.


Finally, prepare a checklist for yourself of everything you wish to pack, from clothing to toiletries to dive equipment, to make sure nothing is forgotten.  I suggest you do a trial packing run at least the week before departure to figure out what needs to go, what could really stay, and how much it all weighs so there are no surprises at the airport or at your arrival at the resort.  Remember, to avoid stress when luggage arrives late or goes missing, pack you most important and most valuable items in your carry-on baggage.

Like what you’ve read? Want to learn how to better enjoy your scuba diving vacation? Maybe you’d like to travel with Delightful Departures on an upcoming adventure? Become part of the Delightful Departures communityDiscover different destinations and travel tips in our biweekly newsletter.  Join today.

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