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How to Plan Your Next Scuba Vacation—and How Not To

Dive travel can be as easy as you make it, and sometimes, giving up control is the best thing you can do for your dive vacation.
By Brent Durand | Updated On June 27, 2023
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How to Plan Your Next Scuba Vacation—and How Not To

Woman in freediving gear sits at the bow of a boat about to dive in

Sometimes giving up control is the best thing you can do for your dive vacation.

Brent Durand

In the past, I always took pride in my thorough pretrip research. I amassed knowledge of the region, studied maps and collected pictures of local marine life and landscapes. I once even purchased a textbook to help view the culture through historical context.

I took ownership of every trip, hesitant to rely on others to plan all the right elements. However, each year, time-consuming commitments kept piling up, and I started relying more on trusted resources for trip planning and on-site details. To my surprise, the trips were just as great. The diving was just as awesome. And best of all, I didn’t have to commit much time to make it happen.

There are many great resources available to help us all plan the next dive day or exotic trip, regardless of how much time or logistics expertise we have. Planning should not be an obstacle to getting in the water, especially if you follow the tips below.

Rely On An Expert

Relying on a trusted expert will greatly reduce the time needed to plan your trip. You can seek advice from a well-traveled friend, join a local dive shop trip, or even contact a specialized dive travel agent who will learn your goals, travel preferences and budget, and then suggest an ideal trip and support you through it.

In case you don’t know, dive travel agents do not charge anything for their service; they’re paid a commission from the operator. This means you’re not paying any premium but still benefiting from their intimate knowledge of scuba travel.

Your dive shop likely has several local and exotic group trips planned, usually at various price points, seasons, durations and travel times. You can be sure that the shop’s travel coordinator is working hard to provide the best trip possible since their goal is to keep you active in the travel program. Even with this assurance, you will need to discuss the trip basics to make sure it lines up with your comfort level and other preferences.

Related Reading: Eight Dive Operators Having Fun with Eco-Tourism

Know Your Preferences

The second tip to diving without a huge planning commitment is to know your preferences and ensure you’re joining the right trip. I’ve found that we all approach this in different ways. Some divers may prioritize resort facilities, while others may prioritize marine life encounters and the probability of those encounters. A family with young kids may look for ample topside activities in addition to diving.

There are resorts and liveaboards worldwide that cater to most of these travel and dive preferences.

Put It All Together

I realized recently that my travel has become a hybrid between detailed planning and simply showing up on a group trip.

Even if I trust the operation to provide the best diving and handle all the logistics, I’ll still do enough research to ensure I accomplish my goals for the trip.

As an avid photographer, my goals usually revolve around seeing marine life. I will do basic dive site research so that I can share my wish list with the dive guides. A good cruise director or guide will integrate this wish list into their carefully crafted itinerary, delivering a personal touch even in a group setting.