Many divers only get a chance to dive while on vacation. For many of those in North America and a few other parts of the world that are just one or two weeks a year. The reasons for limited diving may be many but one of the leading reason is that diving is not that close. To complicate matters, many people never learn the art of the mini-vacation. Many years ago, my coworkers dubbed me the “mini-vacation king”. This was before the internet boom so gathering travel information was not as easy as it is now. Still, I was able to sneak in a few mini-vacations each year. Their interest in the way I organized my mini vacations led me to develop a short course that I taught at an adult continuing education program.
Many years ago as New Years approached, I realized that it had been ten years since I had a true vacation. My wife and I had planned some vacations, but she always changed her mind and we would cancel. My New Years resolution was that year and each year after I would take two mini-vacations and one-week long vacation. My first one was over Presidents day long weekend (the weekend before the third Monday of February) and I learned to downhill ski, the second one was over labor day weekend (First weekend in September) and I went on a cruise. Both of those trips had a prolong influence as I became an avid skier and love cruises. Later after I learned to scuba dive, I also applied the mini-vacation to my pursuit of diving.
If you are one of those people who do not have local diving, a mini vacation may help you get more dives in. Your location will influences how well you can apply the concept. Unlike other vacations, diving has an additional time constraint with the time to fly rules that need to be considered.
My apologies to the divers around where I am living now, but the local diving is limited and does not impress me much. Or rather, it is not the type of diving I really enjoy. When I take a look at google maps and start looking at destinations that are 500 to 600 miles (800 to 950 kilometers) away there are a number of outstanding dive destinations. If me and a dive buddy jump in the car one evening we are just 8 to 10-hour drive away, with two drivers that a fairly easy and inexpensive trip. On a three-day weekend, we could get in five dives maybe even 7 if we dived in the morning before driving home.
If you can have a four-day trip then a short flight would not be out of the question. If you flew in on a Friday evening as an example, you could get in some morning dives on Saturday and perhaps a third dive in the afternoon or an evening dive. Repeat on Sunday and two dives on Monday. Schedule your diving and flight so that you are flying on Tuesday, 24 hours after your last dive on Monday. Airfares on a holiday weekend are normally high, however, you will often find more reasonable pricing the day after the holiday. For myself, I find flying in for a three-day weekend of diving not a good value, however a four-day trip the airfare seems better spent.
The Working Mini Vacation
Now that I am a digital nomad this one does not apply to me as much, however, it could apply to you. Let me give you a few examples how I worked on a “vacation” while fully working. I was in the military and was part of a project review team. The team members would travel from different locations into a suppliers headquarters in Southern California every two months, where we had an In Progress Review. The team was made up of Subject Matter Experts in a different field. The meetings were from a Tuesday to Friday starting each day at 7:30 am and ending at 3:00 pm. Most team members flew in on Monday and left late Friday or early Saturday. On my first trip, I really wanted to visit Universal Studios. So after finishing the day I drove to Universal studio and bought a day pass. I only had about 4 hours to see the park but I did enjoy it. I also found out that I could upgrade my day pass for a season pass at a price that was just slightly more than buying another day pass. So I upgraded to the season pass and visited the park twice more on that trip.
When I was arranging my next trip out there. I talked to the people who cut the orders and suggested they add approval for me to delay 24 hours at my own expense provided that there was no increase in travel cost. I went to travel had them quote the price for the Saturday departure and the price for a Sunday departure then book the Sunday departure. I did that for about 5 trips. Saturday morning while the other team members who stayed overnight headed back home, I checked out of the hotel, returned my rental car, rent a car often the same one and spend the day sightseeing. I was not a diver then but did get a chance to go skiing and visit other attractions.
In the corporate world years later, I was sent by my boss to evaluate the operation of a facility in Florida. The General Manager of the facility was not happy with me coming and put some minor “roadblocks” in my way. He informed me that If I wanted to talk to the swing shift or night shift managers, I need to do it on their time (no problem with me) and that the out briefing was scheduled for 1 pm Friday. However, he could not make that time, so I would just brief his staff and then I would come back on Monday at 3 pm and brief him privately. I then sat down with the Assistant General Manager and worked out my schedule for the week so he could inform the other managers when to expect me. I went online looking for dive centers with night dives and arranged one for the next evening. The schedule had me overlapping shifts a few days which allowed me a couple of two tank dives and another night dive. I found a great deal on a last-minute cruise departure. So after my 1 pm brief, I went on a weekend cruise and did another 3 dives. I worked a full schedule, accomplished all of my tasks and still got in 9 dives in a week.
I have had a few friends follow my path and they too add vacation time into their business trips.
Whenever I travel now if I am not planning on scuba diving, my backup mask and backup dive computer go with me. Other items I can rent if necessary, but my mask is prescription and I known and trust my backup computer.
Feature photo by Marvins Dad