Dive Trip Check List

Yea, yea, yea…there are hundreds if not thousands of these around…every dive master and store has their twist… what to pack before you head to the trip of a life time!!!

My goal is to assist you in making your trip memorable for all the positive reasons!!!

Your planning should start months ahead of time.  If you want to go to the best locations at the optimum time of year, it might be required to book your reservation 1 to 2 years ahead of time!!!  I’m not kidding!!!  Try taking a group or family of 4 or 5 to the Galapagos on the Aggressor with 2 months notice!  So let’s assume you have done just this and you’re heading for the trip of your lifetime.

Here are the basics from a seasoned travel pro.

Starting 3 months before your trip.

  1. Passport. Make sure your Passport is valid for at least another 9 or 10 months.
  2. Passport. Make some copies of your passport. Have someone else carry a copy with them, leave one copy with family or friends and carry the third with you (some where other than with the original).
  3. Visa. Check with your travel agent to determine visa, (not that plastic card in our wallet) requirements for the countries you’re visiting.
  4. Divers Insurance: Do not travel with out dive insurance.  I was just on the Bilikiki MV in the Solomon Islands and you could not dive without insurance!
  5. International Driving Permit. You can get one through AAA. Get one!
  6. Vaccinations: You should travel with a record vaccinations. Check the CDC for requirements in the area you’re traveling and set appointments with your family or travel Doc’s.  Tell them why your scheduling the appointment and what vaccinations you will need.  It takes 15 minutes of research at the CDC web site.
  7. Review dive gear condition and service requirements: BCs and regulators should be serviced annually.  Remember these are life support, family and friends need you for their long term entertainment.
  8. Exercise. If your not exercising 3 to 5 times per week; start NOW!  Water is 25 times more dense than air!  Enjoy your vacation, god knows you earned it, ENJOY the vacation.  Walking at a brisk pace for 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week will go a long way to improve your bottom time.

Packing your carry-on bag(s)

  1. Passport and Visa:
  2. Credit cards; I travel with Visa or Master Card and American Express.  I never use my debit card out of the country other than Bank Owned ATM’s
  3. Dive Cards, Certifications and Dive Log:
  4. Dive Insurance:
  5. Prescriptions:
  6. Aspirin and Ibuprofen. Is is not either or BOTH!
  7. Moist Wipes: Get the flushable type used to clean babies butts.  These are prefect if you need to use the toilet on some 3rd world airport, restaurant or rest area.  You get the picture…
  8. Emergency contacts (Get both the toll-free and non-toll numbers): Airlines, Travel Agents, resort, Hotel, car rental.
  9. Rx Mask; If you have a prescription in your mask.  For god sake carry it with you!
  10. Reserved for the next thing I forget to carry.

Dive Gear Bag

  1. Small Hood: 75% of heat loss is through the head.  Yes, you will look like a tele-tubby, but you will be warm all week.  Trust me on this, if your on a live-aboard trip, the best sites are always toward the end of the week.  I’ve seen several people “to hip” to dress for the activity and miss some of the best dives!!!
  2. Mask; If you have prescription mask carry your primary with you and bag check the second.
  3. Regulator:
  4. BC:
  5. Weight belt: If your BC is not weight integrated
  6. Wet Suite:
  7. Fins:
  8. Booties:
  9. Old athletic sox: After about 15 dives in 3 days, the tops of my toes tend to get a little raw.
  10. Gloves: Not for diving reef sites, but wreck dives.
  11. Rain Gear: Something lights will work great.
  12. Spare fin strap: It’s my experience dive resorts and Live-aboards have enough equipment to keep you diving during your vacation.  I just like to have the fin strap just in case….

What’s in my First Aid Kit

  1. Aspirin and Ibuprofen. Is is not either or BOTH!
  2. Sunscreen and lip Balm
  3. Insect Repellent: I use Deep Woods Off! and REI’s Jungle Juice 100
  4. Motion Sickness: Dramamine Original Formula and Bonine.
  5. Triple Antibiotic Cream: Get the store brand
  6. Anti-itch Cream: Get the sore brand
  7. Anti-Diarrheal: Imodium A-D
  8. Nasal Decongestant: Sudafed or Claritin-D 24 hour
  9. Antacid: Zantac 75 or 150 work great
  10. Ear Drying: Bausch & Lomb Acetic Acid 2% in Aqueous Aluminum Acetate Otic Solution.  I use this twice a day for 15 minutes or longer per ear.  Rx only
  11. Ear Infections: Bausch & Lomb Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Hydrocortisone Otic Solution USP.  I only use this if my ears start to get infected. Rx only.

Packing Clothes

My advice is to pack light.  You are going on a dive vacation for Gods sake and not to NYC for a week of dinner and plays.

Please let me know if this helps, if you have any comments or additions.

Dive Vacation Check List


~ by Arthur Koch on December 3, 2009.

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