When you travel simply arriving at your intended destination with luggage in tow is often considered a success. So we thought we'd share with you the benefit of some of what we have learned in several years of dive travel.
Passport and / or visa - all other necessary documents, booking receipts (i.e. current immunisations/inoculations).
Tickets - Seems obvious, but with all the running around you're doing before you leave, hey, it has happened. Be sure you have them before you leave for the airport.
Money belt / wallet - Something to keep identification/funds secure.
Cash - There's nothing else like it when you get hungry and the food stall doesn't accept pebbles.
Traveller's cheques - A safe form of money and replaceable if lost or stolen, assuming you keep separate records.
Credit cards - Keep one with you and another hidden in a separate location in case the magnetic strip warps in the tropical heat, is mysteriously denied or the card is lost or stolen.
ATM card - Use these for quick and easy access to local currency, often you get a better exchange rate when you use your ATM card.
Certification cards / logbook - I've forgotten mine before and I'm a dive instructor! Make sure you pack these with your most important pieces of ID to ensure you have proof of dive certification and experience.
Insurance info - Makes a cancellation, a dose of SARS or natural disaster more palatable if you know you aren't all out on time and money. Dive Insurance is also a highly recommended precautionary measure, and might make a world of difference for you (see our separate article in this newsletter).
Photocopies of all documents - Put copies of your most important documents in your baggage for emergency reference and leave copies with someone you can call should you need help.
Toothbrush and toothpaste - Your prospects of a holiday romance will improve considerably. Even the girls of Patong might turn their noses up if you forget this one…then again.
Shampoo and conditioner - Bring more conditioner than you think you'll need for added protection. The seas can be a great leveller when your bleached hair turns green.
Soap and deodorant - Do unto others as they would have done unto you.
Razors - You may have to pack these in your hand luggage.
Medicine and toiletries - Keep medicines and toiletries in your hand luggage. They won't do much good in the hold of the plane, or if your luggage ends up somewhere else by mistake.
Prescription medicines - No need to spend time in jail for something for which you have a prescription and, on the off-chance you need a refill, having prescription information handy can save a lot of time and heartache.
Glasses or contact lens spares - Nice to be able to see on holiday.
Sun cream - to avoid that lobster look, don't forget that the sun will get you when you're in the water on the surface waiting for the boat to pick you up.
First aid kit - You'll probably be happy to have one if it can help someone out and be even happier if that someone is you. Don't forget decongestants, just in case.
Contraceptives and feminine hygiene products - Well you never know what you might meet night diving in Phuket. Try asking the locals who don't know any English except "Taxi?, Tuk Tuk?".
Sunglasses - come in handy when you're explaining that no you don't want a taxi.
Phone card - If you don't want to haul your cell phone around, bring a phone card. You can use them to pass the time while you're waiting in and airport, to take care of last minute travel arrangements or to clean your finger nails whilst you're waiting for the delayed final boarding call.
Shoes & Socks - Protect your toes from clumsy travellers, falling bags or sticky stuff on the floor.
Sandals - useful in monsoons when you don't want to destroy your Gucci's.
Underwear - At least 1 pair for each day, please.
Shorts - Bring at least 2 pairs, depending on your ability to control your bladder when diving, and preferably ones that are quick to dry.
Formal wear - You'll want something dressy for an evening out, when visiting a sacred place, or bribing the local authorities.
Sweater or sweatshirt - Because aeroplanes get cold, and tropical nights can be cool.
Bathing suits / swimming trunks - Bring at least 3 and make sure the colours match your dive gear.
Hat / baseball cap -You'll feel much better without heatstroke and your scalp beetroot colour.
Dive gear - Comes in useful on a diving holiday. If you're taking your own equipment make sure you get it serviced / checked before you go. Make sure that you wetsuit is appropriate for the waters in which you are going to dive. There's nothing worse than freezing your arse off if the water's colder than you planned for.
If you're over the baggage weight limit, don't be shy, put some extra layers of clothing on, repack you regulator in your hand luggage and stick your ankle weights in your jacket pockets. That should do the trick.
Insect repellent - Going somewhere that has lots of insects? Probably. Mosquito bites can look unsightly after picking at them and then diving in tropical waters a few times. Malaria is even worse!
Swiss army knife - Make sure all knives are checked in, unless you fancy the prospect of a full cavity search prior to departure! And don't go waving it around in mid-flight, Mr. Bean-like, that will only gain unwanted attention.
Address book - So you can send postcards or email, or to show your fellow passengers that you do have friends.
Day pack - To carry stuff, including your excess luggage
Reading book - Quality English language book shops are few and far between in foreign countries, so if you want to read something other than Danielle Steele or John Grisham, bring your own.
Plastic bags - Garbage bags are helpful for dirty laundry, if you get stuck on a rainy runway or have to pack your gear wet.
Sticky tape - It has millions of uses, so bring a small roll.
Power adapter - If you are going abroad, check ahead for specifics.
Moist towels or anti-bacterial hand cleanser - Clean hands are a great way to stay healthy and avoid eye infections.
Tuk Tuk driver repellent - er, no, that's enough for now, our safety can no longer be guaranteed…
Travelling is fun and a fabulous way to learn about the world. There are lots of places to dive around the globe and every destination offers something special to see. When you are planning and packing for your trip, the suggestions mentioned here are good things to remember but, of course, your packing should be personalised to where you are going and how long you're going for. Good luck, have a great trip, and don't forget to send us copies of your prize wining scuba photos.