Our trip to Africa is imminent but we must reroute our focus to a trip in the spring. As previously mentioned, one of the participants on our upcoming dive adventure is a teacher and as such she must travel on spring break. As Edmonton Public Schools is not the only North American school division to plan spring break around Easter, we feel it is important to get the foundation for our trip planned and booked in advance. There are a limited number of plane tickets available, if we want good routing we need to book them soon. We will be staying in one location for the entire 10 days, so long as we are reasonably sure our research will provide us with adequate accommodation, we should finalize our hotel. I am not sure it is imperative to confirm which dive shop we will frequent. There are plenty of independent operators in Cozumel and most people will dive with the shop that is resident at their hotel (resort) at which they are staying, so there should be plenty of opportunities when we arrive.
Trip criteria. If we are going that far, spend as much time there as possible. In order to accomplish that we will have to spend a bit more on airfare and ride the airlines with the most efficient routing. Small hotel, clean, with an easy walk to the center of town, and must have some sort of public area (garden and/or pool) to keep our non-diving traveler entertained while the rest of us dive. Preferably a ‘funky’ hotel with a bit of Mexican flair and not so much of an ‘international’ image. Dive operator must have a good safety record, run small boats (8 people or less) . The shop’s rental equipment has to be in good repair and reasonably good quality. Of course price will enter into each one of these decisions.
R has been doing a lot of research while Debbie and I have concentrated on our trip happening next month. He has looked at airlines, routing and fares, and hotels. He has found the most efficient route is with United Air. Their flight leaves Edmonton just before midnight and arrives in Cozumel at 10:30 the next morning. It flies through Houston which is a direct straight line between the start of the journey and our destination. I do a cursory look at other possibilities and there are cheaper airfares but routing is 1/2 way to Europe and back and often requires an over night stay in transit which is not only ridiculous but also cuts into the savings on airfare. Our national gem of an airline, Air Canada, is one of the worst perpetrators of this “fill the empty planes” philosophy. They are always loosing money, little wonder with the level of customer service they provide. This decision seems like a slam dunk. We contact our fellow travelers. A short discussion takes place and we book air tickets with United.
R also looked at United Vacations with the idea of booking flight and hotel combinations. I did a quick check to see if it would be less expensive to book a combination of flights and rooms with diving booked separate, a combination of diving and rooms with flights booked separate or to book all three separate. I think if we decide to stay at one of the hotels that partner with dive shops it will be cheaper to book with separate flights and combine the dive shop and hotel, but Debbie found a couple of hotels that are more suited to our local flavor criteria that are not connected with dive package deals. In the end the cost would be less to book hotels, flights and diving all separately.
A hotel is next on the agenda. We are about to convene a meeting of all concerned and hash out the pluses and minuses of several locations. After this has been decided, Debbie and I will be able to get back on track to Africa and will deal with trips in a chronological sequence.