If you’re going to be cheap, do it while you’re paying for travel.
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re willing to put in the leg work and wait around for a great deal, you’d be surprised at how cheap travel can get. For example, I recently took a 10-day long scuba diving trip to Belize for less than most people would pay for a domestic vacation. Here’s how I did it.
Lucky for me, I wasn’t dead set on my destination. I had to be in New York for a conference and was planning to just fly back home to Colorado right after. Flights between New York and Denver usually cost around $100 each way, so I was expecting to pay that much for my flight home but hadn’t actually bought it yet.
Then I saw a deal come up on The Flight Deal for only $261 round-trip, and it worked from many cities in the US including Newark (EWR) and Denver. Often when this is the case, you can fly out from one city and back to a different city for the same price. So, instead of flying directly from Newark back to Denver for $100, I flew from Newark to Belize (and then from Belize to Denver). And I did it for just $261 total—or $161 more than I would have paid to fly straight back. And because I nabbed such a good flight deal, I decided to stay for 10 days.
Hotel (Well, Hostel)
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My boyfriend and I chose our lodging based on our activities. Since we were going to be spending most of our time scuba diving (and working) we didn’t feel the need to stay anywhere too fancy. But, we definitely wanted our own room and we wanted to be close to the best scuba diving. So, we decided to stay in San Pedro, Belize. Staying there required us to take the ferry from the mainland but from there we were within walking distance of everything we wanted to do.
We elected to stay at a simple hostel called the Sandbar Beachfront Hostel and Restaurant. Our room was nothing fancy, but it was clean and comfortable and offered us plenty of space. Better yet, it only cost us $55 per night or $550 for our 10-night stay. That worked out to $275 per person.
While there’s a lot to do in Belize, we were mainly there for the scuba diving. My boyfriend and I both love to dive and Belize is one of my favorite places I’ve ended up diving so far. We chose a small diving company, Scuba School Belize, to do our local dives with, and then we joined up with trips from a big company so we could dive at Turneffe Atoll and the Great Blue Hole.
We ultimately ended up diving for 6 days of our trip. The four local dive days cost $80 per day for two dives. The Blue Hole and Turneffe trips were quite a bit more expensive because they require traveling by boat for a few hours. The Turneffe day trip cost $255 and the Blue Hole day trip cost about $300.
All in all, we spent about $875 each for a full week of diving. This was definitely the most expensive part of our trip, but it was also the main reason we traveled to Belize.
Overall, taking this trip cost us each $1,311, after accounting for the $100 we would have had to spend anyway to fly home from New York. While this definitely isn’t the cheapest trip I have ever been on, it’s a pretty insane deal for a week of scuba diving in one of the best scuba locations in the world!