Sample Print Portfolio
Magazine Articles

Ads: 1 2 3 4  |  Direct Response/Promotions: 1 2 3 4
Web Sites: 1 2  |  Ad Banners  |  Radio Scripts  |  Sell Sheets
Packaging: 1 2  |  Brochures  |  Magazine Articles
HTML Email/Newsletters

Click here for Magazine index page

Family Planning
A guide to setting up your dive vacation and bringing along the whole family.

By Faith Mulvihill & Gil Zeimer
Dive Travel Magazine, July/August 1997

When family vacation means trying to satisfy both kids and a diving habit, travel is a little more complicated than just packing the minis into a station wagon and heading for the nearest kids’ programs and organizing adventures that will appeal to the toddler learning to swim, the pre-teen learning to snorkel and the parent seeking buoyancy at 100 feet below sea level. Rest assured, diving moms and dads have traveled from Belize to the Bay Islands, proving that, with a little research and planning, rewarding family dive/snorkel vacations are not only possible, but probable. For the most part, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions.

Q. How do I begin selecting a destination and resort?
A. Involve the whole family in the planning process. If your kids are at an age where they can participate, take out your atlas and show them where you might be going as you consider possible destinations.

When choosing a destination, look for a place that is within pleasant traveling distance. If you plan to fly, make sure you can get a non-stop flight, especially if you’re traveling with infants and toddlers. If you below to a dive club, ask divers with children where they’re gone and how they like it. Similarly, call local dive shops to ask the operators and divemasters where they’ve traveled with their children. Tell them what you’re looking for and solicit suggestions. Unless your children are old enough to enjoy diving, diving and more diving, steer clear of live-aboards. Never underestimate the boredom factor. Look for a destination that offers something for everyone.

Then take your ideas to a dive travel specialist –– a travel agent who has been trained in researching and selling dive travel. Go over pamphlets and information as a family, until you’ve come up with some realistic possibilities. When you finally decide on a destination, get the kids interested with books, toys or games that introduce them to the wildlife, culture or history of the place.

Q. Does the all-inclusive price really include everything, like day care, snorkeling lessons and scuba gear?
A. Most large, all-inclusive resorts include these services, but it always pays to ask for specifics. Some resorts provide individual nannies, while others operate kids’ camps. Let your dive travel specialist find a resort that meets your needs.

Q. What about baby-sitting?
A. First of all, get the kids used to the idea of baby-sitting by using a sitter at home now and then. Vacation is not the time to introduce kids to the concept of being left with a stranger.

When looking for a sitter, ask plenty of questions. How qualified are the providers? Do they speak English? Would the travel agents put their own children there? How have their other clients responded to a particular service? One travel agent told me honestly that one resort destination in the Caribbean with day care and baby-sitting sounded great on paper, but she would no longer recommend it to her clients because of a change in management. Look for a travel agent with this type of candor.

When organizing the sitter with the resort or your travel agent, be absolutely specific about your requirements and needs. List age preference, language, time and activity requirements, and price range.

Demand a sitter with swimming skills and basic first-aid training. Call two or three days prior to arrival to make sure your requests have been met. Ask the sitter to meet your family at check-in for introductions and a briefing. When discussing wages and schedule, don’t be surprised if your sitter indicated that the rate is up to you. Many sitters expect to receive tips for helping with the extras, like handwashing clothes, keeping toys organized and repacking kids’ suitcases. Tip generously, this is their livelihood.

Before you leave your kids with their new friend for an extended period of time, let the sitter take the kits to the pool or playground while you unpack. Observe them from a distance and get your kids’ feedback. If everything’s OK, leave written instructions, discuss what to do in case of emergencies, bedtime, meals and where the kids can be after dark. Don’t take anything for granted. Treat the sitter with the same precautions you would at home.

Q. What kind of major hotel chains offer in the way of kids' activities?
A. Many large, all-inclusive resorts include some kind of kids' camp. Some charge extra. While age ranges vary significantly, most hotel chains offer programs for children three years and up as long as they are potty-trained. Activities range from playing with toys and game to organized sports, snorkeling lessons and pool or shore scuba diving experiences. For the most part, kids 5 and up can snorkel; kids 12 and up can dive.

Q. Should you buy snorkel gear for your kids before you go?
A. It depends. Larger resorts generally provide gear, while smaller resorts do not. Special equipment, such as fins for toddlers and smaller children, is best purchased beforehand from kid’s gear specialists such as Guppy Gear. Avoid dime-store gear. There’s nothing like a snootful of sea water to ruin a kid’s snorkeling experience.

Q. Are airline/hotel/meals/sports packages offered?
A. Yes. Most all-inclusive resorts offer the whole enchilada, though diving packages are usually extra.

Q. What's the best time to go?
A. Gather details about weather and ocean conditions in the parts of the world you’re considering. Avoid extremely hot weather, hurricane, storm and rainy seasons. August is family month at many of the larger resorts. Ask your dive travel specialist to keep your eye open for these kinds of deals.

Q. How can we get the most out of family time?
A: Plan to spend quality time together every day. Invite the kids to help plan side-trips. Let them make a wish-list and ensure that at least one of their dreams comes true. Don’t run the kids ragged. Allow plenty of time for playing together and be flexible. Having a good time is more important than seeing everything. The feelings experienced during the trip will be remembered long after the sites have been forgotten.

The Bottom Line: By asking specific questions, doing lots of up-front research, and talking candidly with travel agents, friends and hotel staff, you can find the right destination to fit any need or any budget. And if your family experiences a snorkeling/diving vacation, your kids can come home with more than a cool T-shirt. They can return with cherished memories of an unforgettable vacation, as noteworthy as your first dive.

Click here for Adobe .pdf version


Click here for Magazine Index Page


Got a hot project that needs an estimate?

Zeimer’s Advertising Shoppe, Gil Zeimer, Proprietor
Creative and Copywriting Services

24 Ayala Court
San Rafael, CA 94903-3812
Phone: (415) 491-1058
Fax: (415) 491-1576
Cell: (415) 246-6072
gil email address

Copyright © 1997 - 2006 Zeimer's Advertising Shoppe. All Rights Reserved.

Return to Home Page