Solo traveler looking for ideas for a <$2,500 weeklong vacation

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Rekcals83

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Messages
18
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7
Location
Lexington KY
# of dives
25 - 49
Key Largo rocks. Glad you saw some sharks, any idea what kinds? How many dives did you get in?
I saw some nurse sharks. There was apparently one pretty big one that I missed. One of the girls on the trip was trying to point it out to me, but I never saw it. My mask was kind of foggy at the time. I think she said it was a bullshark maybe?

She made fun of me after the dive for not seeing it. The next dive though a shark swam within arms reach of her right hand side when she was looking to her left. She had a pretty big jolt when she turned and saw it right beside her.

I got 7 dives in, I had a couple that were rained out. I generally just like to go on one dive trip a day so all and all I'm pretty happy with the amount of dives I did.

Edit: just noticed you're also from KY. Small world haha
 

drrich2

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Location
Southwestern Kentucky
# of dives
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My trip ended up being a bit more expensive than I planned.
You had a tight budget goal (which I admire; there are a lot of divers looking to pinch pennies a bit, including me). Roughly how badly did your total trip cost overrun what you were looking for?

I see 2 main ways to approach a budget trip; low total trip cost vs. low averaged cost/day. And that's without factoring in service and ease; Blackbeard Cruises' has a strong reputation for a value offering described as 'camping at sea,' but that's no more the same trip (or price tag) as a Belize Aggressor IV trip than a Toyota Corolla is the same as a Lexus. Different strokes (including price tags), different folks.

For a land-based stay (not live-aboard) with accommodations that are not part of a dive resort package (where they often assume at least 2 people in the room, so the price on a single is much higher), it is often not much more to put an extra person (or 3) in a room. Many hotel rooms offer a choice of 1 kingsize or 2 queenside (or double) beds. If you get a friend or two who pay their own way, and you guys share a hotel room and rental car, you can really cut trip price down. We got into that in Budget Trip Challenge: Bonaire.

If you like sharks, be mindful the lemon shark aggregation is in winter in the Jupiter area, and I suspect your trip costs wouldn't be terribly different (though your dive count may be less).

Jupiter 2014 - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/florida-diving/491927-jupiter-trip-report-9-7-14-9-11-14-a.html (I didn't go during the lemon shark aggregation; I went to see the goliath grouper).
Emerald Charters Trip Report 2017 - Trip Report - Emerald Dive Charters Trip Report (Note: Even if this is something you ever wish to do, I don't recommend shark feed diving till you get more experience, particularly with some mid.-size, low risk species like sand tigers and/or lemons).

But here's an option that might work well for you, albeit it's not a big coral reef destination, and you need AOW and nitrox cert.s to realistically do it.

Morehead City, NC August 2015 - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/no...us-dive-center-aug-9-13-2015-trip-report.html

If you stay at the Dive Lodge, you can keep costs down. It's not a high dive count destination (nearly square profile deep offshore wreck dives), and the Atlantic Ocean is not the Caribbean Sea (i.e.: long boat rides, conditions may or may not be 'sporty'), but if you want to spend quality with with fairly large, scary looking but low risk sharks (and without shark feeding), and hit a historic wreck or two, you might really like it. I've noticed trip organizers often arrange 'long weekend' type trips here, but I think several days is a better bet, not only to more fully experience it but in case bad weather cancels the diving a day or two.
 

Rekcals83

Registered
Messages
18
Reaction score
7
Location
Lexington KY
# of dives
25 - 49
You had a tight budget goal (which I admire; there are a lot of divers looking to pinch pennies a bit, including me). Roughly how badly did your total trip cost overrun what you were looking for?

I see 2 main ways to approach a budget trip; low total trip cost vs. low averaged cost/day. And that's without factoring in service and ease; Blackbeard Cruises' has a strong reputation for a value offering described as 'camping at sea,' but that's no more the same trip (or price tag) as a Belize Aggressor IV trip than a Toyota Corolla is the same as a Lexus. Different strokes (including price tags), different folks.

For a land-based stay (not live-aboard) with accommodations that are not part of a dive resort package (where they often assume at least 2 people in the room, so the price on a single is much higher), it is often not much more to put an extra person (or 3) in a room. Many hotel rooms offer a choice of 1 kingsize or 2 queenside (or double) beds. If you get a friend or two who pay their own way, and you guys share a hotel room and rental car, you can really cut trip price down. We got into that in Budget Trip Challenge: Bonaire.

If you like sharks, be mindful the lemon shark aggregation is in winter in the Jupiter area, and I suspect your trip costs wouldn't be terribly different (though your dive count may be less).

Jupiter 2014 - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/florida-diving/491927-jupiter-trip-report-9-7-14-9-11-14-a.html (I didn't go during the lemon shark aggregation; I went to see the goliath grouper).
Emerald Charters Trip Report 2017 - Trip Report - Emerald Dive Charters Trip Report (Note: Even if this is something you ever wish to do, I don't recommend shark feed diving till you get more experience, particularly with some mid.-size, low risk species like sand tigers and/or lemons).

But here's an option that might work well for you, albeit it's not a big coral reef destination, and you need AOW and nitrox cert.s to realistically do it.

Morehead City, NC August 2015 - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/no...us-dive-center-aug-9-13-2015-trip-report.html

If you stay at the Dive Lodge, you can keep costs down. It's not a high dive count destination (nearly square profile deep offshore wreck dives), and the Atlantic Ocean is not the Caribbean Sea (i.e.: long boat rides, conditions may or may not be 'sporty'), but if you want to spend quality with with fairly large, scary looking but low risk sharks (and without shark feeding), and hit a historic wreck or two, you might really like it. I've noticed trip organizers often arrange 'long weekend' type trips here, but I think several days is a better bet, not only to more fully experience it but in case bad weather cancels the diving a day or two.
I think including everything, eating out, getting ripped off by uber, the shuttle back, drinks, tips, etc it ran me between 3-3.5k. I stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was just a few minutes walk to either of their dock locations.

I was going through your Morehead city stuff you linked and those are some definitely cool wrecks. I checked the drive time and it's about the same amount of time it would take me to drive to Pensacola to dive those wrecks. If you were driving to your next trip, would you pick NC or FL?
 

drrich2

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Location
Southwestern Kentucky
# of dives
200 - 499
It would depend on what I wanted to see. But I suspect I’d prefer NC to the panhandle, though I’d like to try the Oriskany some day. NC has a narrower window of good diving season than Florida taken as a whole.
 

Rekcals83

Registered
Messages
18
Reaction score
7
Location
Lexington KY
# of dives
25 - 49
It would depend on what I wanted to see. But I suspect I’d prefer NC to the panhandle, though I’d like to try the Oriskany some day. NC has a narrower window of good diving season than Florida taken as a whole.
Any particular reasons that stand out for your decision?


The Oriskanny is a super cool wreck. The flight desk doesn't even start until about 130 feet though, but the tower is still really neat and has some cool swim throughs.
 

drrich2

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Location
Southwestern Kentucky
# of dives
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I was born at a Navy base in Pensacola. Naturally the Oriskany being such a big name destination and associated with it, it’s kind of a bucket list thing. I have no technical cert.s or training, so it’d be more a novelty experience.
 

buck3647

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Location
South Florida
# of dives
5000 - ∞
Hello, I am based out of the US and would like to stay within an 8 hour flight out of Miami. I have my rescue cert, nitrox and cavern. I'm down for wrecks, reefs and caverns.

I don't want to go on a live aboard.

I'd like to stay in a hotel near a dive shop or preferably one with a dive shop/boats at the resort.

Not a big deal, but it would be nice if it's a place where a lot of other solo divers go so I'm not in a position where I have to play the 3rd wheel to other people's groups.

If any of you have any good ideas or suggestions I would greatly appreciate the input.
Vidanta Resort NOT all inclusive dive shop / golf / waterpark all on premises full kitchen 2 bedroom sleeps 6 $2000 single not full kitchen $1,200 per week. 20 minutes north of Playa de Carmen to ferry to Cozumel 45 minutes to CanCun ferry to Isla Mujeres Luxury Vidanta Resort MeWebBike.jpg
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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