Most divers travel at some point in their diver-life, either to try the waters elsewhere in the world, or simply because they don’t live near diveable water. But as diving is a very equipment demanding sport, there are a few logistics as well as travel tips and ideas that need to be considered.
To bring or rent
It’s tempting to simply rent the equipment locally, and thus avoid bringing a lot of luggage with you.
However, this doesn’t always make financial sense, as equipment rental can be quite costly. Of course, if you’re only looking to do a few dives while on your holiday, this is definitely a viable option. Instead of hauling a suitcase worth of dive equipment for a few dives, you simply rent it, and then leave it there once you’re done.
However, if you are renting, make sure to check if the rented dive equipment is safe. Most dive shops are good at maintaining the scuba kit, but there is the occasional bad apple. So be a bit vigilant here.
If you’re looking to do dives that are a bit more advanced than what most holiday divers do, rental might be a viable option. And it might not be your preferred option, as most scuba divers feel better doing advanced dives in kit they know and trust.
Also, if you’re doing more than just the odd dive, you might want to do the math on the cost of it, as you might otherwise spend more on the rental than on the dives. So for specific dive trips in particular, you’ll want to bring the kit along.
Packing Your Dive gear
If you are bringing your own kit, you’ll need to consider what to bring on a scuba holiday and how to pack it most efficiently.
A lot of divers invest in large trolley suitcases designed for the diving. However, these tend to be quite heavy, and make it all the more likely that you’ll have to pay for excess weight on the plane.
A strong, sturdy duffel, ideally with shoulder straps that allow it be carried as a backpack, can often do the trick better.
I recently made the switch from a trolley suitcase to a duffel, and on two trips to the same destination, with more or less the same dive equipment, and my checked in luggage weight went from 24 kilos/52 lbs in the trolley, to 19 kilos/41 lbs with the duffel.
What to bring Besides Dive Kit
For trips that are as much ordinary travel as they are dive trips, you’ll need to mix it up accordingly, meaning you have to bring quite a bit of stuff.
However, there’s quite a lot you can do to bring down the total amount of weight you’re hauling.
An old backpacker trick is to take all the stuff you think you need, and lay it out on your bed. Then move it from there to the couch. Anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t go. Then move it an armchair. Anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t go. Finally, put it into your suitcase, duffel, or backpack. Anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t go.
This can help you cut down, and cut all the unnecessary stuff many of us bring on trips.
If you’re travelling with diving as the main purpose, it’s a lot easier. For a week in a warm climate, you’ll most likely need no more than a pair of shorts, maybe two, 3-4 T-shirts, a pair of pants and a sweatshirt for cool evenings.
Bring a bit of travel laundry detergent in case you need to wash something. Pack your dive gear in the checked-in luggage, and the majority of the clothes in your carry-on.
If you need great tips on how to pack your bag take a look here:
In spite of all of these considerations, you might find yourself with more weight than the airline accepts. And surplus weight can be very expensive. However, there are still a few things you can do:
- Research the weight requirements of various airlinesSome airlines are more strict that others about the limitations of luggage. So make sure you choose the one that is most lenient (provided you have a selection of airlines to choose from). Yes, this airline might be more expensive, as it is often budget airlines that are the strictest, but calculate the total cost of airfare plus a potential surplus weight charge before making a decision.
- Extra weight if it's scuba gearSome airlines allow you to bring sport equipment without charging you extra. This goes for golfers, surfers and Scuba divers. Check with your airline before you leve, sometimes they demand it's packed in a separate bag, but there is money to safe.
- Research the surplus weight chargeThe cost of surplus weight varies a lot between various airlines, so no need to pick the most expensive one. Again, calculate the total cost of travel, including airfare and surplus weight.
- Prepay for the surplusSome airlines allow you to prepay for excess weight, with a serious reduction in the cost per pound. Some airlines even have “scuba diving packages”, that adds extra weight for a limited cost. Take advantage of these.