Planning a Snorkeling Trip? Here Are 10 Tips You Need To Know

Are you planning a snorkeling trip? Whether you are a newbie snorkeler or a professional, organizing a smooth, stress-free vacation takes some effort. Over the years, I visited many destinations including remote ones, and learned a lot about how to plan and organize the perfect snorkeling vacation. In this article, I share 10 tips to make yours smooth and enjoyable!

10 Tips to Organize a Perfect Snorkeling Trip

  • 1: Set Up Your Budget
  • 2: Choose Destination
  • 3: Check the Weather
  • 4: Decide on The Duration of The Trip
  • 5: Become Familiar with Entry Requirements
  • 6: Find Good Accommodation
  • 7: Research the Best Snorkel Spots
  • 8: Book Your Tours In Advance
  • 9: Prepare Your Gear
  • 10: Enjoy Your Trip

Step-by-step Guide to Plan a Snorkeling Trip

Set Up Your Budget

Going on a vacation costs money, so the first step in planning a snorkeling trip is clarifying your budget; decide what is the maximum amount you want to spend. Setting up your budget will determine what destinations you can afford.

The two biggest factors of vacation costs are the means of transportation and accommodation. The good thing about snorkeling vacations is that if you choose your destination and accommodation wisely (for example an affordable all-inclusive resort that has a good house reef where you can snorkel for free), basically no additional cost will arise during your trip except personal spending like buying souvenirs or tipping the staff.

Choose Destination

Snorkeling can be done in many places, not only in tropical places. If you do not have a specific destination in mind (a place you already visited but want to return to or a country you’ve been dreaming about for a long time) open the map and start searching for the perfect location.

First, think about how far you want to travel. While it is true that the world’s best snorkeling destinations are usually in remote places, it is possible to find decent snorkeling close to you too.

It does not need to be an ocean or sea; although the best coral reefs thrive in saltwater environments, some lakes and rivers have crystal-clear water and interesting aquatic life. I’ve been doing river snorkeling in Austria; it was one of my best underwater experiences!

Second, consider your interest too. Underwater adventurers, whether scuba divers, freedivers, or snorkelers, have their personal preferences of what they want to see or what species they like to encounter on a trip.

Most of us have bucket list adventures like snorkeling with sea turtles, swimming with dolphins, and whale sharks so you need to research which destinations can provide you with the certain experience you are looking for and choose accordingly.

people swimming over a manta ray

Here are some of my destination guides to help you decide where to travel:
The best snorkeling in the Caribbean
Top snorkeling spots in the Mediterranean

Check The Weather

Weather plays a big factor in how safe and fun your snorkeling trip will be. While you don’t necessarily need perfect conditions to enjoy water activities -for example, you can go snorkeling if there is light rain- a hurricane or the monsoon season restricts such activities.

There are destinations like Egypt, Aruba, or Mexico that can be visited year-round, but certain locations are advised to travel to only in the summer or dry season. Some are even closed in the off-season, for example, the Similan Islands in Thailand.

Before booking your trip, make sure to check the climate/weather to decide what is the best time to travel there. Weather and Climate is a site I use to find information about the weather in almost every country around the world.

clear sky and calm sea in a tropical location

Unfortunately, as weather anomalies are not rare anymore so you can end up having bad weather even in the “good weather season”, but if you are aiming to travel when it is the best time, you will likely enjoy ideal conditions and don’t need to afraid of interruptions or cancellations.

If your vacation time is fixed, do this process the other way around. Search for what destinations have good, calm weather and pleasant water conditions on your dates.

Decide on the Duration of Your Snorkeling Trip

A snorkeling trip can never be too long! Well, this is what I think but still, there is an ideal length of it. When people ask me how many days they need for a snorkeling vacation I always suggest going at least for one full week, but two weeks is even more ideal if you can afford it time- and money-wise.

The longer you stay, the higher the chance you can explore all the snorkel spots of the destination, even if there are some days when you need to stay onshore due to bad weather, or simply because you want to rest.

Consider traveling time too; your vacation should be about enjoying the destination and exploring its underwater wonders, not spending the time in the car/plane getting to your destination and getting home.

If you can take only a few days off, I recommend choosing a nearby destination where you can travel easily by car or is within 2-3 hours from you by plane, so you won’t spend the majority of your vacation traveling.

Travel only to faraway places when you can go for a vacation at least 10 days long. In my opinion, going for a long-distance trip is not recommended if you don’t have enough time for it and you might end up “rushing through the destination” instead of enjoying it.

Become Familiar with Entry Requirements

documents to travel

Entry rules vary by country; visas, an onward/return ticket, and/or any other documents/registration can be required by some so make sure to know the rules and how to fulfill them.

Also, don’t forget to check the validity of your passport. Certain destinations don’t allow traveling with less than 6 months on your passport. Renew it if it is expired or will expire soon.

Find Good Accommodation

Accommodation is an essential part of an enjoyable trip. There are many things to consider; of course, it depends on personal preferences and budget what accommodation is good for you, but it’s wise to clarify your needs and look into various options before making a decision.

If you prefer not taking boat trips and want a relaxing vacation, find an all-inclusive hotel with a good house reef or walking distance to good snorkel spots.

hotel with house reef in Egypt

If the destination’s snorkeling areas are far from each other and you will be out all day exploring them, it would be impractical to spend a lot of money on a luxurious resort; you won’t have time to enjoy the facilities and benefits anyway. In this case, you might want to look into budget options such as self-catering apartments or bed and breakfasts.

Choosing the perfect accommodation for your snorkeling trip may be challenging, but with some research and planning, you should be able to find it.

Research the Best Snorkel Spots

To make the most of your trip, make a list of the destination’s best snorkel spots while still at home. Like this, you will avoid wasting your time on the location not knowing where you want to go.

I read online guides, forums and watch videos and make a plan of what spots I want to visit, what is the best time to snorkel them, and if there are special safety aspects to pay attention to.

It is helpful to prepare a rough itinerary for the whole duration of the snorkeling trip. However, remain flexible as there can be conditions when you need to change the plan.

It can be that the weather doesn’t permit you to visit the spot you planned for that day, or you don’t feel well and need a rest day; so be ready to change. Snorkeling is not a dangerous activity, but it has some risks. Always remember that safety comes first when deciding what spots to visit or even to visit one.

Book Your Tours in Advance

boat to go on a snorkeling tour

If you want to get to spots that are accessible by boat or need any other means of transportation, book your tours in advance. Reserving your spot is essential if you are traveling in the high season when tours fill up quickly.

Pre-booking often means that you can get better prices. Moreover, it allows you to read reviews and find a trusted operator. Of course, if you are a more spontaneous person or prefer to find tours locally, you can skip this part and search for trips on the site.

Prepare Your Gear

Fitting and quality snorkeling equipment is the key to enjoying your trip the most. Check all pieces well in advance so if anything needs to be repaired or replaced, you have enough time to fix it or get a new one.

If your mask is broken, your snorkel tube is leaking or your fins have some wear and tears, see if they can be repaired, or get a replacement. Don’t risk completely breaking them during your trip as it is not always easy to find good quality equipment, especially at remote destinations so you might not be able to fully enjoy your vacation due to lack of equipment.

When I pack for a snorkeling vacation, I put extra gear (at least a mask as it is challenging to a find good-fitting one) in my luggage if I have space. Even if I won’t need it, I might help out a fellow travel buddy!

Check your electronics too; most people don’t use their waterproof cameras and GoPros every day and put them aside between snorkeling trips, so they may require maintenance, cleaning, or a new battery. To minimize the risk of unexpected damage, learn how to care for your underwater camera and housing.

Enjoy Your Snorkeling Trip

If you follow these snorkeling travel tips, you will likely be well-prepared for your trip so you can let your mind rest and focus on enjoying your snorkeling vacation.

Although, there can be unforeseen circumstances, and no matter how well prepared you are, cancellations, changes due to weather interruptions, or injuries can happen anytime. To minimize the inconvenience such situations can cause, don’t forget to get good travel insurance that covers snorkeling too!

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Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!