It’s the price we pay for the life we choose, right? We’re diving fanatics. We’re always down for traveling and exploring the coastal waters around our vacation spots or living on a boat for a week and just diving.
The problem, though, is lugging all that gear around. Dive gear is expensive and usually fragile. We will, we say, not be tied down from experiencing our true love BY the mere technicality that our passion comes with lots of heavy baggage.
Try using these 5 awesome tips so that traveling with scuba gear is easy, peasy, diving in Fiji.
Lighten the Load EVERYWHERE else
Hot Tip, Hot Shot: You probably don’t need to bring your tank with you when you’re going on a vacation or a diving trip that has dive shops in the area. Do a little research and rent a tank from a dive shop or the tour company that you’re with. Got a dive buddy in the area? Contact them. Make friends in forums. (It’s also the best way to get locals to show you the BEST dive spots.)
Also, you probably don’t need to bring your entire collection of dive gear with you on ever trip. Yes, you want to use it and show it off. Yes, it cost you a lot of money. BUT…do you NEED it all? Probably not.
Lastly, you can ship a lot of gear ahead of time OR decide to go a little lighter on the rest of your stuff. Think twice about brining all those loafers and chinos for bar hopping or dinners after. Remember, in many tropical places the proper dress code is shorts, polo, and flip flops.
Be Aware of the Screening Process at Airports and Customs
If you don’t want to be one of those guys or gals at the security check point in a TSA line that requires a “Bag check on No. 5!” call out and everyone else in line wanting to boil your eye balls on radar scanners, then DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST.
Not that the TSA site has lots of notes and guidance on dive gear. (When in doubt you can always call!) They tell you straight up that typical diving gear like BCD, regulators, fins, mask, etc. can all be packed in your typical carry on. Other dive items, though, like spear guns, knives, etc.…will need to be placed in your checked baggage.
Finally, do a thorough inventory of all your gear and all your bags. Know what items are in each bag so that when a TSA agent says do you have a tablet in here (when it really is a dive computer) you know exactly what is in that bag.
Know how to pack your gear and treat it with care
Plan ahead. Keep your fragile, “can’t live without” gear close to you like in a carry on. I’m thinking like masks, regulators, computers, etc.
TSA advises that you sheathe and wrap objects like knives and spear guns for the protection of inspectors and agents in your checked baggage. Remember that checked baggage gets lost and ruined. So, only check items that you can live without or rent/borrow when you arrive at your dive destination.
Save Money where you can while Traveling
If you’re military, then you can usually get a checked baggage or two on many US based carriers for free. If you’re not, though, try looking for savings in other places:
- Use airline specific credit cards to get points that you can redeem later, and many airlines offer a specific number of free bags when you use your airline credit card.
- Check with airlines on extra bag fees, over weight bag fees, also some airlines charge specific fees for dive gear
Protect Your Gear and Yourself
These days you can’t exactly “batten down the hatches” on all your gear and lock bags and compartments. It’s against security protocol. But, you can take certain steps to make sure that you’re safer.
- Tape over logos to keep thieves from knowing just exactly what’s in a bag.
- Buying diving gear is expensive, consider an insurance policy on your gear to keep it protected.
So, that’s it. Using those 5 tips for travelling with your dive gear should make things a lot easier on you. You may be able to keep some costs down and, hopefully, keep you and your gear protected. Have a great time and prep before hand so you can NOT STRESS on the way to the dive of your life.