On our list of the top 25 questions asked about dive travel, the luggage question is high on the list, especially with baggage fees going up and up and up! The first question is do you want to? Depending on the airline and the cost, it may simply be easier for you to mentally add the cost of the extra weight or extra bag to the cost of your trip and be done with it. Don’t skimp so much to save the $25 bag cost (or whatever it is on your airline) that you don’t have what you want on your vacation within reason. But with that said, if you don’t want to pay the cost, try some of these suggestions.
First, I am a huge proponent of lists. Make a list of all the things you may need on a dive trip and keep this resident on your computer so you always have a master and don’t forget anything. For each trip, you will obviously need to adjust. If you are on a live aboard, you won’t need a mesh or probably a dry bag. Then take out anything extraneous. When you have it down to exactly what you want, weigh your bag and see what it weighs, then make adjustments. Here are some ideas.
Airline Loyalty. If you are “elite” status on an airline, you generally have additional bag allowances. Check with your preferred airline and try to keep all of your flying on one airline as much as possible to get and maintain status.
Weigh your Bag. Have you ever weighed your luggage empty? My rolling full size bag weighs 10lbs!!!! That’s five pairs of shoes! or one size extra large ProQD BCD. We pack our dive gear in army duffel bags. Yep, no wheels but they weigh two pounds. Find what works best for you.
What can you easily rent? I rarely travel with a dive light anymore. I can rent one for a few dollars and it doesn’t take up space and weight in my bag. Be sure the dive operator puts in fresh batteries for your dive and check the 0-ring and general condition of the light. Batteries are HEAVY, plus they are big source of trash on many small islands so if you do take batteries you’ll want to pack them out as well. OR, if you travel with us at Global Diving Adventures, you can rent all of your top of the line dive gear from us and not worry about a thing!
Buy a Travel BCD. If you are doing warm water tropical diving, consider purchasing a light weight travel BCD. My BCD weighs about 1 1/2 lbs and rolls up very compact. You can now also buy backpackless BCDs that weigh next to nothing and can even be packed into a carry on.
Carry on your regulator. If you are not traveling with lots of carry on baggage, pack your regulator into a carry on. This can save up to five pounds if it has an octopus and computer attached. Plus you’ll know it is safely in your bag with you and won’t get lost.
Take Less Crap. Yes, pearls of wisdom here! Layout all your stuff on your bed and take a look at it. Do you REALLY need it all????? Well, ok, I DO need eight bathing suits BUT I don’t need six pairs of shorts for a one week trip. Sharkman and I pack things we can share as well like t-shirts, deodorant and only one laptop.
Prioritize. Do you need four paperback books or do you think you could do some book swapping while there. Is your camera gear more important than three outfits for jogging? Take one outfit and wash it out…. Prioritize your gear. I believe that the dive gear is the most important part. Clothes can be reworn but there is no substitute in my book for having my own regulator and mask with me.
Packing. So in the end, I make sure I have all the dive equipment I want, put it in the bag and weigh it. Then whatever weight is leftover I stuff a few t-shirts, shorts and an LBD (for you guys, that’s a little black dress for any occasion).
Finally, beyond the essentials, the less you travel with the happier you’ll be in the end. And yes, eight bathing suits ARE essential!
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