As vaccination rates increase and the world starts to re-open, you may be dreaming of a scuba diving vacation far from home but unsure where to go. Follow the steps below to find the perfect scuba vacation destination and plan a holiday that’s fun, memorable, and as worry-free as possible.
Decide Where and When to Travel
If you’re like us, the list of places you want to dive just keeps getting longer. It might be helpful to pick a destination based on:
- Your interests – pick a destination that offers the kind of diving you’d like to do such as cavern dive, shark diving, or reef diving
- Your travel style – choose budget, boutique, or eco-friendly lodging.
- Your budget – take advantage of last minute airfare and hotel deals.
- Your safety – check out case and vaccination rates at your preferred destination.
COVID Travel Precautions
To verify where diving is available, check PADI’s COVID-19 Scuba Diving Status Map. The interactive map is regularly updated based on information from local dive operators. You can also read about COVID-19 Diving & Travel Restrictions by Country.
If you want to avoid close contact with others, consider renting a condo or choosing apartment-style accommodations instead of staying in a hotel. For more information on precautions you can take while traveling, read this detailed list of Dive Travel Safety Tips During and After COVID-19.
Think about what you’ll do if you, a close family member, or travel companion become ill during (or just prior to) your trip. Travel insurance from Divers Alert Network (DAN) provides protection and peace of mind.
Explore The Best Dive Sites and Specialty Training Options
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of travel destinations, it can be hard to choose a winner. Instagram and YouTube can be helpful tools. Search for the dive operator, diving destination and/or time of year. You can find us at @Dive_Maui.
For example, let’s say you want to dive in Hawaii, but aren’t sure where. Try searching for:
- Scuba diving Hawaii (month you want to travel)
- Scuba diving (Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Oahu, etc.)
Social media can help you identify dive sites you want to visit and the operator you want to dive with.
No matter where you decide to travel, a Nitrox certification allows you to enjoy longer, deeper dives and shorter surface intervals. You can start your Nitrox certification online and finish locally or at your travel destination. There aren’t any required dives; you can get nitrox certified in a single day. Here at Dive Maui we do our Nitrox courses on the morning of your dive trip so you can get certified and dive enriched air on the same day.
Research Local Requirements and Customs
Once you’ve finalized your plans, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with local regulations and customs.
- Research visa and vaccination requirements for both your travel destination and home country. At the time of writing, some destinations require a negative COVID-test for entry, a second test after arrival, and some countries require a negative test for citizens returning home.
- Tell your bank and credit card companies you’ll be away from home. When financial organizations detect unusual behavior, like charges from another country, they may put a hold on your account.
- Ask the local dive shop about local diving regulations. For example, some locations- like us- ban certain types of sunscreen, others don’t allow divers to wear gloves.
- Learn about local customs. In some places, it’s rude to show someone the bottom of your foot or wear shoes indoors.
- If you’re visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, learn essential phrases such as: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, where is the toilet, I need help, excuse me, I don’t understand and I’m sorry.
Prevent Travel Headaches and Avoid Diving Disappointment
- Get your scuba gear serviced.
- Purchase extra batteries for your camera, dive lights, strobes, etc.
- If it’s been a year or more since you went diving, doing a refresher dive is a fun and easy way to refine your skills.
- If any of your equipment looks brand new – bring a copy of the receipt. I once traveled with a diver who spent an hour convincing a customs agent who wanted him to pay tax on $3,000 US worth of camera gear. The agent believed the equipment was purchased in the island country we just left.
- Bring a paper copy of important travel info like your flight details, address where you’re staying, and emergency contact numbers for people back home – just in case your phone dies.
- Make sure someone back home knows where you’ll be, when and how to reach you. It’s a good idea to email your travel details to someone back home, that way you’ll also have a backup copy online in case you need access while traveling.
Invest in dive accident insurance from DAN. Very few medical policies cover the cost of emergency evacuation, chamber treatments and post-incident rehabilitation.
Prepare for Adventure!
Use PADI’s ultimate scuba packing checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your next diving adventure.