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Any diver who enjoys his or her hobby away from home has at some time in their life faced the dilemma: traveling with scuba gear. Which items should I take and which not, what should I keep in mind? We have the solution to your headache in this article. We give you the seven best tips for you to travel with your scuba gear and only worry about enjoying yourself.
The 7 Best Tips for Traveling with Scuba Gear
1. Travel Light
Yes, we know we all like to carry our dive gear with us at all times, but ask yourself the question, do you need all that stuff? Do you need to carry your scuba tank with you? Of course, you don’t. In the case of heavy items, such as tanks, it is much better to check with the local stores to see what equipment they have available for rent. If they have what you need, which is most likely, rental is the best option. If you want both your tank and your children or your cat, you will have the option of shipping it to your destination ahead of time.
2. Choosing the Right Suitcase (Or Dive Bag) for your Trip
Another important issue when traveling with scuba gear is to choose the right suitcase or dive bag for the circumstances. The first thing to consider is the size. It should be large enough to fit all your gear comfortably. But it should also be sturdy enough to protect your scuba gear.
But remember not to oversize. You will have to carry the suitcase or bag with you for a long time and it can be a nuisance. Also, some ships do not have large spaces for luggage. Remember that you can review our article The Do’s and Don’ts on A Dive Boat.
The suitcase must also be comfortable; a good wheel system and a telescopic handle always help move around comfortably. The zippers should be sturdy, functional, and large enough to fit padlocks and keep thieves away from our valuable property.
3. Choosing a Proper Wetsuit
Another vital factor to consider when traveling with scuba gear is to select the wetsuit that best suits the needs of the destination. Investigating the local water temperature on the specific days we will stay there is the first thing to do.
But, be careful, even if with hot temperature conditions, we should not make the mistake of choosing a shorty to save space in the suitcase. Even in tropical destinations such as Dressel Divers Cozumel or Cuba, there is no problem taking a full body and somewhat thicker wetsuit. If you dive several times a day, as in the Dressel offers you can see here, you may end the day a bit cold.
As a general rule of thumb, you should ideally choose a 3 to 3.5 mm wetsuit with vertical zippers that are stretchy and easy to put on. It should also have a comfortable collar design and a thin hood. Of course, remember that you always have the option of traveling without your wetsuit and renting one at the dive center of your destination.
- Take an Appropriate Mask with You
In addition to your usual mask, it is recommended that you travel with a spare. There are masks with low internal volume, or some apnea models, whose volume is very small and can be placed in your suitcase without taking up too much space.
- Carry Enough Memory to Store Photos and Videos
We all love to feel like Cousteau and take the best diving pictures and videos with our Go-Pro, Nikon or Sony latest model, but there is something you should keep in mind when traveling with diving equipment: take enough memory cards, in case any of them fail or fill up.
You also have the option of taking your laptop to dump the photos at the end of each day, and even start editing them. Finally, you can bring a hard drive to make backup copies, especially if you shoot RAW format photos, as they take up a lot of memory space. We recommend an SSD disk, which is getting smaller and cheaper.
- Travel with Copies of Your Documentation
Traveling with copies of your documentation (such as diving certifications, nitrox, travel insurance, or flight tickets) is a bit of good advice. You can carry the copies in the paper, on your cell phone, and even send them by e-mail or upload them to the i-cloud, to have an extra copy accessible from your e-mail. Although it may seem a trifle, this is a great tip when traveling with scuba gear. Keep it in mind!
- Be Aware of Airport Inspection
Nobody likes to miss a flight! Avoid problems at the airport, or unnecessary waits, by making it easy for the inspectors at the boarding area. There are items such as regulators, buoyancy compensators, masks, snorkels or fins, which can be packed as carry-on baggage.
However, there are larger (and more dangerous) items such as spear guns, knives and other tools, which must travel well documented in their own checked luggage to avoid problems, remember the first tip we gave you; try to travel light carrying only what is strictly necessary or send the items to your destination in advance.
That is the last of our tips for traveling with scuba gear, but we are sure you know many more. Feel free to share them with us in the comments box or on our social networks.