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Planning a Dive Trip

Janice Smith   Dec 16, 2021

I am not sure when I became addicted to diving. It was somewhere between my first trip to Grand Cayman and my first Blackbeard’s Live-aboard.  After that, I vowed to visit a different island ever year. How have I done? I have been diving for over 30 years and I give myself an A- on that goal.


I admit I love planning a trip almost as much as I enjoy the trip itself. And I travel solo many of those trips. What is the secret? Planning. Just like plan your dive, dive your plan.  Plan it, do it, and enjoy it.  Some things to consider when planning your trip.

When do you want to go? Do you have freedom to travel at any time or do you need to go at specific times due to work or school?   Identify your preferred date range.  Saturday – Saturday or Sunday-Sunday are good times to travel as you are not competing with business travelers for airline seats.  Lower airline fares are often available Tuesday and Wednesday.  Use Kayak airfare watch to find best deals.

What you want to do or see? Sharks, whale sharks, turtles, mantas. Ask the experts where the best places to see these are. ??

Don’t care just want to get away? Then go somewhere you know and is comfortable so you can enjoy. If you have been to Cozumel before and loved it, why not go back?  Check with your local dive center for upcoming travel opportunities.  So, relax and enjoy. 


Land based dive vacation or liveaboard?  How much do you want to dive? Want to pack it in and dive 4-5 dives a day? Go on a liveaboard.  This is definitely the most bang for your buck.  Just make sure you understand what the destination offers.  For example, in the Galapagos you may only being doing 3-4 dives a day and no night dives due to the extreme conditions.   If you don’t want to be on a boat, choose a dedicated dive resort that offers 3+ dives or has the option to shore dive.  Bonaire and Roatan are great locations that have these options.   

Just want to dive a few dives and relax or spend time with family or non-divers in your group? Definitely land based give you more options especially locations that have hiking, or historical sites. Some of my favorites are the Big Island of Hawaii, St. Croix, Grenada, or St. Lucia.


What is your budget?  When my financial planner pointed out my travel budget was almost as much as my housing budget, I decided I could downsize my house and travel more.  If you have a limited budget, all is not lost. Consider traveling on the shoulder or off-season when hotels are cheaper, and many dive resorts are not as busy and offer lower rates.  Also, consider all-inclusive resorts on-site or nearby dive center.  I have had amazing deals on all-inclusive to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Jamaica (yes, there is diving in Jamaica).  If you have flexible schedule, watch for last minute deals. Sometimes, liveaboards and dive centers may have last minute cancellations and can offer tremendous savings on bookings on short notice.  Always ask. The worst they can say is “no”.


Work with your local dive center. Ask them where they have been and where they recommend. Don’t want to go alone? A full-service Dive Center will offer dive trips with a trip leader.  They do the planning for you and it take the work off of you.  Also, if you haven’t been diving in a while, it is nice to have a dive professional you know with you for support.  And they are fun.  It is a great way to meet new local dive buddies. 


More adventurous.   Don’t be afraid to go on a dive vacation by yourself.  I happen to be single and not all of my friend’s dive.  I also suffer from wanderlust and always want to check out an island I have not visited.  I tend to favor liveaboards because you have a small group that you already share a common interest with – diving.  But I have also enjoyed my land-based trips.  You may have to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people on the dive boat or at the resort.  You already have one thing in common – diving.  I have met some amazing people on these trips that I am fortunate to call my friends.

So, make that dive plan, get your hotel booked and go enjoy diving the worlds Oceans.  Be safe and have fun!