The Beauty of Arriving Early

There is nothing worse than having your dream snorkeling holiday—which you’ve booked a year or more in advance and invested a considerable amount of money on—compromised by unplanned events like flights being delayed, luggage being lost, or even the onset of a minor cold. Not only that, but places like Indonesia, Palau, and Egypt are not exactly close to The States, Europe, or Australia. After traveling for the better part of two days to arrive at the meeting point for the snorkeling safari, which will likely be anywhere from six to sixteen timezones different from where you started—having only received glimpses of sleep—all you are going to want for the next twenty-four hours is a quiet room with a large horizontal mattress and a hot shower for a complete mental and physical recovery. It is for these reasons and many more that the whole Snorkel Venture team and I recommend arriving to the meeting point at least a full day early.

Delayed or Canceled Flights

If you’ve ever traveled by plane, you are no doubt aware that flights will on occasion be delayed for a number of reasons, or, in the more unlikely occurrence, canceled outright. Flying from or through places like Chicago, Denver, New York, or Florida where winter storms and hurricanes are a regular occurrence and notorious for shutting down entire airports, you are putting a lot of faith in the airlines being able to operate in a regular capacity. One delayed or canceled flight could mean you don’t arrive to the group meeting meeting point on time which could likely involve in a pretty major logistical headache.

Exhaustion & Colds

Unless you’re traveling in business class, it’s borderline impossible to get a solid snooze in on planes. Again, places like Indonesia, Egypt, Palau, and the Solomon Islands involve a significant amount of flying, and while I totally understand the pre-trip mindset of “I’ll just rally with a cup of coffee once I arrive,” having met several hundred snorkeling guests upon arrival from their 18-24 hours of travel, the reality of that much travel on only a few minutes of sleep is very different. Once that level of exhaustion sets it, no amount of adrenaline or caffeine can get you in the mood for snorkeling. The only remedy is a solid night’s sleep.

Another thing to note about that much time spent in an airborne tube with recycled air and crowded airports, regardless of what class you’re traveling in, is colds. The sniffles do seem to spread pretty quick in these environments, but can be quickly snuffed out with a proper nights sleep and a meal not served out of a flimsy aluminum dish. If you keep pushing your body through more travel once you arrive at the meeting point, and then throw in three to four snorkels upon arrival at our snorkeling destination, your body is just going to take longer to recover.

Lost Luggage

The occurrence of luggage not turning up upon arrival is seldom, however, it does happen every so often. When this does happen we can almost always get it within a day or two in the case of our resort-based snorkeling safaris. You will, however, have to go without whatever was in that missing bag for that time, which could be annoying. In the case of our liveaboard snorkeling safaris, having your luggage delivered to a boat moving around remote islands is a near impossibility.

Right, so after going back through all of this I’m aware that it reads more like “Three Reasons Why You Should Never Fly”. Please don’t take it like that. Air travel is very reliable these days, and if any mishaps like delayed flights or lost luggage should occur, they can usually be remedied within 12-24 hours. What I’m trying to say is that by arriving at least a day early to the meeting point, you are giving yourself a window to work out any of these unlikely mishaps, a chance to collect yourself after a long flight or flights, and to ensure that you get to wear a clean pair of underpants each day. Given that most of our snorkeling guests are retired, the addition of one extra day on top of a two to three-week snorkeling trip is really going to mean very little in terms of time spent away from home but could mean a world of difference in terms of how much you’re able to relax and enjoy every aspect of the snorkeling safari to the max.

guests on a liveaboard cheers cocktails

About Author

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Alex Lindbloom
Alex is a Snorkel Venture and Dive Safari Asia guide as well as the video and photo pros for both companies. Alex is also a field editor for a popular underwater photography magazine. Prior to joining Snorkel Venture in 2018 Alex lived and worked all over the world working as an underwater cameraman, with five of those years living/working on a yacht in Indonesia. Alex's images and videos have garnered many international awards such as Underwater Photographer of the Year and can be seen on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, the UN Building, and various magazines.