St George Underwater Centre Travel Guides
– Part One –
How to pick your first dive holiday
Travelling with diving is something you just have to experience to understand. You have a chance to experience a new world in a new place that snorkeling or boat trips just cannot provide. Perhaps you have traveled yourself before or maybe you are looking to dive on your next holiday – either way, when you team diving with your next adventure you are guaranteed to have the best time.
For those who travel frequently, or those who have never set foot on a diving holiday, there are always questions or advice you are looking for. We’ve decided to put all of these together to give you the best advice we can give.
St George Underwater Centre travels overseas with our dive expeditions between 3-9 times per year. We take our dive trips seriously (fun) and we know what to look for and what you should expect. A St George Underwater Centre trip is full of diving, laughter, good friends and even better food and drink. We love hanging out after a dive, love exploring the area above and below the water and we always love making friends with locals in whatever place we travel to. This guide is part of a new series featuring our experiences and advice to new and experienced travellers who are taking part in overseas dive travel.
How to pick your first dive holiday
Dive holidays can be scary: a new place, new skills, new experiences. But, they can also be some of the best holidays you will ever have!
Diving in a new environment is awesome but there are a few things you need to consider.
Where do you want to go?
It seems obvious, but with so many places to travel in the world, you really should think about the type of diving you want to experience. Talking with other divers is a great place to start: ask where they have gone and what they thought! Speaking with our team is a great start too, we travel frequently and have all the gossip on the trendiest places to go right now.
What do I want to do?
Are you looking to dive-dive-dive-sleep-eat-dive-dive-dive? Or are the type of person who will dive one day, explore the next & relax on the beach with a cocktail? There are different kinds of dive trips and you need to think about what you want to do.
Most dive holidays will have a set amount of dives includes, which normally have 2-3 dives per day.
If you are looking to dive all day, then perhaps places like Chuuk Lagoon, or Palau are for you. Or if you are looking for a relaxing holiday with some diving along side, places like Vanuatu and Vietnam may be just up your alley.
Budget – How much will it cost?
This is one of the most important things to consider when planning a holiday or going on a tour.
Diving with a group through a dive centre is one of the best ways to travel. You will have a tour leader, everything will be organised and all you really need is a passport, certification and lots of fun energy! It can be a great way to travel but also a nice way to start dive travel if you have not done any prior.
Dive holidays overseas tend to start from $1200 – and can skyrocket depending on where you go, what time of year and the operator. Sometimes that price doesn’t include food, sometimes it excludes diving. The best thing to set a budget and speak with our friendly dive team on 02 9502 2221.
Many packages offered by dive store allow for payments over a certain period – almost like a laybuy. Just remember to confirm the deposit amount and pay in full by the set date to be able to secure your flights. Most trips must be paid for 8 weeks prior, sometimes earlier.
Do I need travel insurance?
At the time of booking your trip and paying your deposit, it is highly advised that you take our Travel Insurance with a reputable insurer. Your travel guide may offer you a suggested agent to use based on experience and cover. If you do not take our travel insurance, you are risking the chance of loss of personal goods, no health cover if injured overseas and a variety of other concerns. On all of our trips, travel insurance is highly suggested. Insurance normally starts at around $100.
What is important to look for in insurance?
Does the insurance provider cover the loss of dive equipment and personal items? Think about the cost of your equipment or what you will be taking with you. Most policies should have a coverage of $3000.00 for personal goods if you are on a dive holiday. If you have a camera or other technologies, it is highly suggest to have them covered in addition. This will incur additional charges but is important for peace of mind.
Other things to consider are the level and amount of health cover if you are injured on the tour, if the policy includes cover for travel delays or cancellation and if your policy includes hire vehicle cover (if appropriate).
Travel insurance is important and we highly suggest speaking with us if you have any questions.
Am I qualified to dive here?
New diver? You will find that most overseas travel destinations require you to have an Advanced Open Water or equivalent qualification. The reason being is you may be required to dive off a boat, dive below 18m and have experience for using equipment such as a safety sausage. If you are a new diver, or just looking for somewhere to have some easy, fun diving, ask your dive tour guide for advice before booking.
Some trips overseas can include an opportunity to complete the dives of your course overseas while on your dive trip. We recommend being confident with your diving before taking the step into your next course. For more information, give us a call on 02 9502 2221.
What equipment will I need?
Going to a tropical island but don’t have your own gear? Your dive tour leader should give you this information but always ask! Most dive stores will have equipment for you to hire but you should ask your tour leader to pre-book your hire equipment for you to avoid disappointment. In some locations however, you will need to hire your equipment or take your own from here in Australia.
You should never, ever have to take weights & tanks with you overseas. If you tour guide tells you to do this, reconsider who you are booking with! Aviation laws rarely permit to transport of SCUBA cylinders without prior consent or checking and the carrying of weights will severely reduce your travel allowance!
It is important to remember that you have no opportunity to check your hire equipment prior to arrival, and so sometimes it is highly suggested to take pre-hired equipment from a local dive store to avoid arriving to broken, un-serviced or non-maintained equipment.
Remember, hiring equipment is most likely not included in the price of your holiday. Ask your tour leader for the rates of hire to ensure you are not surprised at a big bill on arrival. At St George Underwater Centre we offer discounted hire for the time of your trip.
If you do hire prior to arrival, remember to take our Travel Insurance so that if anything happens to the gear you have hired, you are covered.
Most dive tours include the use of SCUBA tanks and weights in their packages, but make sure to ask before booking.
What do I need to do prior?
Every trip will have something you need to consider, and with every location different and specific, here are some things to consider:
– Is my passport valid and does is have 6 months remaining?
– Do I need to apply for a VISA for entry and exit from the country or stop-over countries?
– Do I need to get any vaccinations or medicines prior to travel?
The most important thing to consider when travel is the reason: what is you want from your trip?
Taking with an experienced dive tour guide or any of our team is great way to start the travel bug and get some ideas for your next or first dive holiday.
Look out for our next post in the series where we will share some tips about packing for your overseas holiday!