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May 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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That Dream Trip Can Be Reality

finding reasonably priced places with less-stressful travel

from the May, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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If you're a North American diver fantasizing about that big time diving in the South Pacific, you may have been stymied because of the time, cost and stress factors of such distant travel. So you stick to the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. Think again, says subscriber Jim Willoughby of Bend, OR.

He leads groups of friends on several dive trips a year, and after comparing receipts of trips to the Caribbean (Dominica) and the Pacific (Cebu, Philippines), he told us that divers, at least those west of the Mississippi, should head west rather than south for the better deals. "For the Dominica trip, airfare from Oregon was $1,400. I got to Cebu for $900. The package deal I negotiated with Dominica's Castle Comfort Lodge was $999 for the week, which included the room, breakfast and two dives a day. At Cebu's Eagle Point Resort, I paid that same amount for two weeks and that included all meals and unlimited diving. As another example, I am going to NAD Lembeh at Indonesia's Lembeh Strait in Indonesia this month, and my airfare is $1,085, and the all-inclusive resort with three tanks a day is $1,045 per week."

Willoughby's research has worked well for him, so we asked a few travel experts who book and lead dive trips worldwide for their tips. Depending on where you live, how many travel hassles you can handle -- and the potential economic ups and downs in 2015 -- you might be surprised at their answers.

"The Days of Cheap Deals May Be Coming to An End"

"There was a time when travel to Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, and Roatan were very good dollar values," says Ken Knezick, owner of Island Dream Travel in Houston ( ). "These days, the resorts remain competitively priced, but airfares from the U.S. to such Caribbean destinations have increased considerably due to a lack of competition." He says this was a calculated scheme on the part of certain airlines, such as American Airlines, which now has a dominant share of Caribbean air travel. "They moved in with low pricing and destroyed the domestic carriers. After the competition was removed, they have been able to charge much higher fares. Fortunately, air travel to Pacific destinations still includes more competition, and air fares can look quite attractive when compared with travel to the Caribbean."...

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