Finding a destination that offers great snorkeling would be the first step in planning a vacation and many times. Asking friends and family who have been on vacations may tell you where great underwater life is found. The internet is also an excellent research tool but be advised that many of the sites that come up will have a heavy emphasis on scuba activities. These sites may require a little bit more in the way of research in locating their snorkeling tours and information but they should still be investigated. If the website seems to have inserted snorkeling as an afterthought, it might suggest that, though tours are available, they may not be the best tours out there. Check out our personal experiences and researched that we have done, on Best Destinations in North America but check frequently as we are always updating and traveling. Information one might want to establish while researching may include but not be limited to the following:
Does the tour operator offer specific snorkeling tours? Since going from a boat is prefered, having one that is designated for snorkeling only is important. If it is shared with scuba divers, you may find yourself waiting for the boat crew to get the divers in the water before they even begin to consider the snorkelers on the boat. An excursion for a diver consists of 2 dives and the first of the two is a deep dive which is any where from 60 feet to 130 feet in depth. This will leave the snorkelers with little to see in the way of reef or a lot of marine life. The second dive is the one that is shallower and more conducive but it is still in the range of 20 to 40 feet in depth, so choosing an operator that caters to your needs with boats that aren't shared is preferable. Before you pay, ask the depths of the waters first.
Not all snorkeling is done from boats because it can get expensive, the shore is always an option. Research in this case should include gathering information on beaches at the various destinations being considered. A beach that is noted for surfing is best to be avoided as the water conditions would be far less than ideal. Ask the front desk of your hotel or go to the local dive store for suggestions.
It is always advisable to have one's own personal equipment. While an operator may include or rent gear, the selection with regard to fit and sizes available may be quite limited. There is also the question of how well the rental or loaner equipment has been maintained, cleaned and sanitized between users so you can see where having your own equipment takes the guesswork and the worry out of the formula.
If planning to purchase equipment prior to travel, it should be purchased well before the actual travel date. This allows adequate time to resolve any fit or equipment issues that may arise such as you might need to have vision corrective lenses for their mask. Early purchase of gear also allows for a period of acclimation which is encouraged even if it is just in a bath tub (for the mask and snorkel). Gear has changed over the years to include very travel friendly items which are definitely worth the consideration, especially with respect to fin size.
It is advisable to investigate the other fun and interesting things to do at the various destinations to being considered and should always be done with respect to others, if any, who are also going on the trip and especially if they are not snorkelers.
If the trip is to a foreign country, one must make sure of any and all travel documentation that is needed for the destination is secured and up to date. A good resource for any health concerns regarding the destination chosen is Center for Disease Control which has destination specific information. The information at the website can help with questions regarding health for traveling and destinations that may require inoculations prior to travel.
Making the actual travel arrangements as well as accommodations has been made more user friendly because of the internet. Those who are not comfortable or feel they are not computer savvy enough to accomplish this may opt to use the services of a professional travel agent.
Once your arrangements have been made and confirmed, it is advisable to look at our packing list for what you should bring on your trip. But be more conscious of the weight limits and sizing accordingly to your airline that you will be traveling with.
Making a copy of your travel itinerary and leaving it with a non-traveling family member or close and trusted friend with emergency contact numbers is highly advisable.
Making specialty arrangement or even ordinary travel arrangements can at times be stressful. Patience and perseverance are the key to success.