How To Pack For an International Dive Trip

Nothing tops the feeling of packing for a long-awaited dive trip. You’ve had the dates marked on your calendar for months. You’ve done all your research, booked all of your connections, flights and logistical hurdles, and now it’s finally time to pack your bags. 

The biggest pre-packing quandary of all? What kind of diver are you? And how much gear do you plan to bring? 

Some divers like to go lean and minimal, forgoing the luxury of bringing their own gear for the sake of flexibility. After all, you can always use the (usually sub-optimal) gear at the dive resort, right? Or are you the luxe traveler who wants to bring $20K in Atomic Aquatics equipment on the five-star trip of a lifetime? 

Neither paradigm of dive travel is wrong, just a matter of time, money and personal preference. Either way, here are some simple packing tips to make the pre-travel process a little bit easier.

1) Alert Your Bank That You’re Leaving The Country

Getting overseas only to have your checking account frozen is a total bummer and, depending on the time, can take multiple days to resolve. Be sure to call your main banking branch and let them know that you’ll be travelling abroad over a specific span of time. When it comes to your money, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.

2) Make Sure You’ve Got Your Cert Card and Logbook

Some dive operators internationally don’t request to see a cert card, but that’s incredibly rare and any outfit of repute will want to verify that you’ve been certified. On that note, remember to bring your log book, as well, because some advanced dives will require that you have X-amount of logged dives under your cummerbund before taking the plunge.     

3) Stow Your Passport—and Double Check

Your long-awaited international dive adventure will reach a dramatic conclusion if you show up to the airport without your passport. Before buying a flight abroad, be sure to confirm that your passport is up to date and easily accounted for. No amount of regret will change a stone-faced TSA agent’s mind when it’s your turn to blubber at the gate. Get this done early! 

4) Make Paper Copies of all Your Travel Documents

Traveling can be an unpredictable practice and it’s quite possible that you could lose something or have something stolen. For this reason, make backup copies of all your travel documents, including your ID card and passport. 

5) Check Out the Weather

In the week or two leading up to your trip, go on an international weather site and scope out the current conditions of the time you’ll be visiting. What season is it? Has it been/will it be rainy? What are average temps looking like this time of year? Let the answers to these questions inform the way you go about step 6.

6) Pack a Light, Assorted Mix of Clothing

If you’re heading somewhere warm, especially the tropics, we recommend packing as light as possible. If you’re planning on bringing your own dive kit, this is a completely different conversation, but in terms of clothing, pack light—and for the conditions. 

Has the nightly low been dipping into the 50s or 60s? If that’s the case, it’s always nice to brings a hoodie and a pair of jeans, just in case. If it looks like rain is in the forecast, bring a light rain layer, especially if it’ll be monsoon season where you’re traveling. Other than that, it’s sometimes nice to underpack (two pairs shorts, two t-shirts) because then you can pick stuff up throughout your travels.

7) Charge Your Camera Batteries

Having your battery die just as you’ve awoken to golden sunrise somewhere in the middle of the Sulu Sea is a total bummer. Don’t let that happen to you! Instead remember to charge all of your electronics before departure. Also, it’s nice to download a few podcasts to enjoy during your flight and trip.

8) Pack Sunscreen and any other Meds 

Long days out on the water can equate to long bouts in the sun and, if you’re not careful, a nasty sunburn. Protect yourself and your epidermis by packing plenty of SPF50+ sunscreen. Better yet? Just wear a shirt or a piece of ExoWear. On day six of the liveaboard, your skin will thank you.


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