How to Plan the Best Scuba Dive Vacation
The popularity of holidays has rapidly increased over the last couple of years, and planning it well in advance is now the considered the norm. Although planning a holiday can seem a lot like a daunting task, surely planning a scuba dive vacation is so much better!
We all want to have a great holiday, but there are certain tricks and tips you need to know if you want to get the best out of your scuba dive trip. Here’s how to make your dive holiday the best yet…
ARE YOU A CERTIFIED SCUBA DIVER?
First things first, are you a certified diver? No? Then no worries. You can easily get qualified whilst on holiday or even enroll onto an online course before you go.
Some dive associations, such as PADI, offer an eLearning option where you can start your qualification right away. The eLearning gives you all the background information you require in order to dive safely and also allows you to study at your own pace and not interrupt your precious holiday time. All the fun practical stuff comes after!
If you want the full experience of learning to dive whilst on holiday, then this is a great option too! It’s a great way for friends and family to spend quality time together by learning something awesome. It’s also another cool way to explore the location of your choice! And there are so many diving destinations out there!
If you’re already qualified but haven’t dived in a while, most dive centers will offer refresher courses. These are quick courses to ensure that you are brought up to speed on the world on diving once again. It might be worth joining a local diving club back at home to take a refresher course before your scuba dive trip, this way it will save wasting a day abroad.
WHAT TEMPERATURES WILL YOU BE DIVING INTO?
Think about what time of year you are planning to visit, and do some research! There is nothing worse that turning up in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops when there is a blizzard on its way! Let’s be tourists, but not that kind of tourist!
Many of the top diving locations in the world have a lot more to offer during certain months. Make your trip worthwhile by checking when the best time is to go diving. Most locations have all year round diving conditions, but they normally specify when the best time to visit is.
If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Barracuda point, go between the months of April and September and make your holiday truly one to remember by watching the Green Hawksbill turtles come ashore onto the island of Sipidan.
Maybe diving the Great Blue Hole in Belize is more the dive holiday that you’re looking for. Why not go when you have more of a chance to spot the beautiful whale sharks when they arrive in Placencia between April and June.
Different seasons bring completely different weather conditions as well as marine life. The temperatures of the water tend to fluctuate during the year so this is why it is always good to check the average water temperature for the time of year when you are planning to go on your scuba diving trip. This will also help you know what thickness your wetsuit needs to be.
Think about what equipment you will need to bring with you on the scuba dive trip. Most dive operators will ask you to provide your own dive computers and DSMB, which are often rented at a cost. This type of equipment usually works out to be cheaper to buy it outright rather than having to hire it on every trip.
Baggage allowance is also another important thing to remember. Make sure you check with your airline or booking agents to see what weight and baggage allowance you are allowed to take with you. Some providers will give you the option to add on sporting equipment or additional luggage which may not be a bad idea! The last thing we want is to get caught out at the airport and have to pay extra because of missing the small print when booking your scuba dive vacation!
PREP YOUR GEAR
It’s super super important that you keep your gear in ships shape. Get it serviced. Before leaving for holiday, you should always ensure that your equipment is working properly in advance. This will allow any faults to be fixed beforehand and saves time having to get it fixed should anything break whilst you are on your scuba dive trip!
The last thing you want is to get to the dive site you have spent ages planning to get to, to find that your regulator free flows and the dive center can’t service it for you! Gutted. Imagine how disappointed you would feel! It’s also a good idea to check your wetsuit. Make sure there are no holes it and check the rest of your scuba equipment for faults.
DIVE CENTRE RESEARCH
Most hotels located nearby key diving locations have their own built in dive centers. However, this doesn’t always mean that the best one will be located within the hotel where you are staying. Again, do some research.
Make sure you check the dive center reviews, take a look on TripAdvisor for the most visited and award winning sites.
Once you have had a look around, pick which center you want to go with and then plan your accommodation around that. Different dive centers offer different deals and courses. Look into what it is you most want to do and shop around for different dive packages.
Safety first! Fitness to dive has changed a lot since scuba diving came about. Some people believe that everyone should be able to dive, regardless of their fitness or medical health. However, this is really not the case. Dive associations will encourage people to seek medial advice before diving to see if you are “fit to dive”.
When you arrive at your chosen dive center, they will ask you to complete various forms, the most important being a medical form statement / questionnaire. If you tick YES to any of the questions within the form, there may be a problem in allowing you to dive.
Take a look at PADIs Medical Statement online to read through the questionnaire before booking your holiday. If you happen to answer YES to any of the questions, then it may be best to see a dive doctor before you pay for your dive holiday and travel abroad.
It is sometimes and often too late by the time you get abroad: at best having to splash out on a medical with an unknown doctor, cancelling your dive course or at worst attempting to carry on whilst taking those risks.
It’s best to seek medical advice from your GP if this will be your first time diving. Not to forget, ahead of booking any holiday, you should always check what vaccinations you need, if any, before you leave! Check well beforehand as these can sometimes take some time to arrange.
And remember, dive insurance is a big must when diving. Although scuba diving is considered a safe activity, in unfortunate events where diving accidents can occur, insurance payouts can run into the hundreds of thousands of Pounds. In some destinations, medical treatment and dive related medical treatment can result in a very expensive bill. Uninsured divers will be required to pay out of pocket, in some cases upfront, causing problems for the most of us. It is highly recommended that you get diving insurance before you leave.
TRAVEL CONDITIONS ON YOUR SCUBA DIVE TRIP
Before leaving to head towards the airport, it is always a good idea that you check your flight status. Likewise, when planning a scuba dive vacation, checking weather conditions before planning your dive trip is essential. Weather warnings, storms and other travel warnings are always good to know. Especially when planning your dives. Some locations are known to have seasons where bad weather is expected, so do some research before picking where and went to go.
DON’T FORGET ALL THE LITTLE EXTRAS
Look into what is included in the price you are paying for your scuba dive trip. Extras such as nitrox, boat lunches and drinks are sometimes provided with the price you pay for the trip. However, note to self, that this isn’t always the case. These little extras can be charged as extra so plan ahead before you head out.
Get organised and check your itinerary. If you are only looking to go wreck diving, excuse the obvious, make sure the place you are planning to go offers wreck diving. Most dive destinations offer a large variety of dives, both for the more experienced and new scuba divers, but it is always a good idea to check the level of experience first.
Happy diving and enjoy the best scuba diving trip yet!