4 Check the Small Print
Contrary to what you might have read, most dive-resorts and liveaboards are bearing the brunt of financial losses caused by the pandemic.
However, there is only so much good will operators can afford, and many are starting to include fine print in their terms and conditions that exempt them from liability in cases such as this.
As the end consumer, you have a responsibility to check thoroughly any contract or sale to which you agree, so make sure that you understand exactly what you’re purchasing.
You must receive written terms and conditions specific to the travel you have booked, because many companies are updating their standard policies in response to coronavirus.
And if terms and conditions aren’t readily available, ask for them!
If the worst happens and the virus adversely affects your travel plans, it’s still worth asking your operator for some form of compensation even if your contract states otherwise.
5 Protect Yourself
A return to the Red Sea is likely to be high on UK divers’ lists.
You’ve planned, organised, and insured your trip against every eventuality, but this doesn’t take into account the behaviour of other divers and travellers.
It might seem tempting to throw caution, and your face-mask, to the wind on holiday, but coronavirus is and will remain a very real threat, and the prospect of spending your time away unwell and in isolation is no joke.
So continue your good habits, wear a mask, sanitise and wash your hands regularly, and maintain social distancing throughout your stay.
Enquire about any extra health precautions your resort or liveaboard has implemented, and make sure that you swot up on local health regulations
before you arrive, because fines for not complying can be hefty.
6 Book Through a Tour Operator
All these new considerations might seem overwhelming, even to the most seasoned independent traveller.
That’s why many divers are now consulting dive-travel professionals to navigate the uncharted waters of post-corona holidaying on their behalf.
Good dive-tour operators should have up-to-date knowledge on where you can (and can’t) visit, understand the finer points of complicated entry requirements, and support you with additional services such as travel insurance and transfers.
They can also help you navigate any last-minute changes to travel restrictions and flight schedules.
If for some reason you are unable to make your trip at the last minute, they can often leverage their relationship with the dive-operator to get you special consideration that many independent bookers wouldn’t be able to achieve.
Final thought – rather than give refunds, many operators are offering very favourable terms encouraging divers to reschedule their bookings that didn’t proceed in 2020.
This means that many liveaboards over the next couple of seasons are already full, and resorts are booking up quickly over peak dates.
My advice would be not to leave your travel plans to the last minute.
As vaccines become available and destinations slowly start to open, I suspect that divers will be first in line to book their next holiday.