We spend an average of 330 days away from home and have logged 12,000 dives between us. That means we have had a lifetime of “learning experiences” regarding packing and dive travel. You do it wrong enough times you learn to do it right! Here is a sampling of a few of our favorite tips for the traveling diver.
Ten Top Travel Tips
1. You know that $6.00 bottle of “spit” you buy for your mask? Don’t! Pick up a $.99 bottle of baby shampoo instead. It will last forever and if you find yourself out of shampoo on your dive trip, it’s a two for one deal!
2. If you are traveling with a spouse, pack half and half in each bag. Better to each have half your stuff if a piece of luggage gets lost than none at all!
3. Zip Lock Bags. One of our all time favorite words in dive travel… Use them to pack lotions and potions so if they do explode on the plane it’s contained. Then use them for wet gear for the trip home. They come in handy for SO many things especially in countries that don’t have them. Wash and reuse to help the planet!
4. The Essential Carry on. PLEASE, put your medications in your carry on. Also, be smart, put in a pair of shorts, t-shirt, flip flops and bathing suit there as well. Anything you will need for the first 24 hours of your trip. If luggage is lost, you’re set! We also recommend your dive computer and possibly your regulator. BCD, fins and mask can easily be rented. My standard roll aboard fits my video and housing, spare shorts/t-shirt/flip flops/bikini, medications, dive computer and laptop!
5. Research! This may seem obvious, but we can’t tell you how many people have no clue where they are going, if they are going at the right time, if the dive operator is any good or the reputation of the live aboard (full article on choosing a live aboard coming soon) Don’t go on blind faith. I’ve heard ALL the horror stories!
6. Take Your Own Gear. It may be a pain to pack and you may pay extra for it, but use your own gear that you know and trust and are comfortable wearing. The majority of resorts and live aboards use sub-standard, work horse rental gear. It rarely gets maintained just fixed when broken. Use your money to pay for that extra bag of your own gear rather than rent iffy life support equipment. The only exception to this is our own company. When you travel with www.globaldivingadventures.com , you can rent from our own premiere rental program. We use top of the line Aqualung/Suunto gear, pack and bring it for you, use it on less than a handful of dive adventures before it is sold and new gear purchased.
7. Completely rig AND test fire your camera before departure from home. Cameras have so many parts that to forget just one could mean the difference between using or not using your precious camera you’ve lugged halfway around the world. Take the time to be sure it all works properly and you have everything.
8. Carry a sensor cleaning kit. Diving, traveling photographers shoot in remote, hot, humid, sometimes dirty environments. It’s not difficult to get smudges! Videographers~ carry a head cleaning cassette! I found out the hard way on that one.
9. Replace gear immediately. If you ‘use up” something, break something, lose something or give it away, replace it as soon as you arrive home. Way too often, we’ve remembered that we needed new booties or something a few days before we are set to leave again. Do it when it’s fresh in your mind.
10. Don’t Service Your Gear. Yep, you read that right. Do not service your gear and then pack it for a trip. Way too often, something goes wrong because a piece wasn’t tightened, a screw wasn’t put back in, a spool forgotten. Seriously. In the middle of the Maldives is not when you want to find this out. Dive with your gear after you service it BEFORE you leave. Get it in a pool if there is no other way but use it before you pack it.
Want to learn more? Check out the Top 25 Questions About Scuba Diving Travel
To Your Adventures,