Travel Smarter: Traveling with Scuba Equipment

Check the travel regulations for your airline and destination country to learn what gear is allowed in carry-on and checked bags. Photo by Stephen Frink

Many divers love to travel. As more destinations open to travelers, divers are eager to get back in the water at their favorite site or a new location. Here are a few tips for traveling with scuba equipment.

Service Your Gear

Most manufacturers require regular service for scuba equipment, typically at least once per year. Be sure to contact the nearest service center and drop off your gear well before your next dive trip. Getting an early start will help ensure no delays with your service or potential repairs to prevent equipment malfunctions on your journey. If possible, dive with your newly serviced equipment in a pool before leaving on a dive trip. If you don’t have access to a confined-water location, your first dive after gear service should be easy, shallow and at a site with which you are familiar. 

Consider Renting

Traveling with your own equipment is not always feasible or convenient. If you decide to rent, contact the dive shop at your destination to ask about their infection-control policies and ensure they have the equipment you need in the correct sizes, especially if you have any specific needs.

The dive operator should be disinfecting rental equipment that contacts your eyes, nose and mouth — such as masks, regulators and snorkels — between users. If you own equipment, consider bringing your regulator, mask and snorkel since these items will be in direct contact with your face. You might also want to take your gear with you after each day of diving and rinse it at your hotel room. 

Pack Well

Scuba equipment is expensive, and your safety in the water depends on it being in good condition. Pack your gear in hard-sided luggage instead of a soft-sided or mesh gear bag if you will check it on a flight. A sturdy suitcase packed to prevent its contents from being jostled provides more protection against damage when baggage handlers throw around your suitcase. Check the travel regulations for your airline and destination country to learn what gear is allowed in carry-on and checked bags.

Plan Ahead

Your international destination or airline might require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, so have that information available. Start the process of getting any necessary vaccinations or the medical documentation you need well in advance of your trip. The U.S. may also have recommendations or restrictions for reentering the country, so check the latest information on the CDC website at cdc.gov/travel.

Research what type of COVID-19 test is necessary for entry or reentry, and find a testing center near your destination, preferably before you leave home. If possible, schedule an appointment for testing so you can be ready to depart without any delays. Be sure that this test is within the recommended time frame before your flight to or from your destination.

Taking time to plan and research for your trip can help you avoid inconvenience and worry when heading out on your next dive vacation.

© Alert Diver — Q2 2021