FAQ: Before you travel

Diving holidays are fantastic but require a little more preparation than a regular vacation. In addition to any vaccinations and necessary travel documents, there are a number of things that you should bring or consider.

What is the minimum you must be able to do as a diver?

Liveaboard diving is for the slightly more experienced diver, but that does not mean that you are not allowed to join at the beginning of your diving career. The travel organization has advice for minimum requirements for every trip. These are not only in their interest, but above all yours. You can easily dive outside your comfort zone at sea and that is not only a pity, but also uncomfortable and can even be dangerous.

In general, you must have at least Advanced Open Water with 30 dives. Keep in mind that you can then dive up to a maximum of 30 meters and in some locations you really want to go deeper because there are hammerhead sharks or a fantastic wreck there. If you really want to enjoy your liveaboard trip to the fullest, ask what requirements there are in advance and respect them. Do a deep specialty, learn to drift or do some more dives first. Sometimes it’s just better to build up experience before jumping in at the deep end, although you can of course also follow additional training on board. But the more experience and training you have, the more you can fully enjoy a liveaboard diving holiday.

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Do you want to travel alone?

A frequently asked question is whether people can also book a liveaboard trip on their own. And yes of course you can, although you will probably have to share a room and you will be assigned a buddy. It might be a little more challenging and certainly more adventurous to do it alone, but it’s all possible.

Good diving insurance

In addition to your certifications and your logbook, you will also need to have diving insurance for this vacation. This is therefore not an ordinary travel insurance policy, but one that covers you in the event of a diving accident. Some divers call their travel insurance company and ask if diving is also covered, although they can’t find it in the small print. As a rule, travel insurance can cover you for diving, but this means your diving luggage and not the medical costs of a diving accident, nor any evacuation or a longer stay. It is therefore wise and in many cases required by the travel organization to take out thorough insurance that covers you in the event of loss of equipment, diving medical costs, possible postponement of your return trip and the like. Make sure you have that in black and white and especially to what depth you are covered. Also check whether liveaboard travel is included, because unfortunately that is not always the case.

Medical test

Not everyone is allowed to dive just anywhere, even if you have a diving certification. It is important that you are also fit and in some cases can demonstrate that. For example, each country has its own guidelines for medical examinations. As a rule, if you’re on medication, smoke, have had surgery, have lung, heart and vascular problems, or are over 50, you’ll need one. And let’s face it, many of us should have a medical exam. So check whether you need one and get yourself inspected in time.

Service and test of your regulator set

In the run-up to the trip, many divers have their regulator set serviced before it goes into the suitcase. It may sound like a sensible thing to do, but as a rule, these sets cause problems. It is not uncommon that the new parts in the set have to settle down for a while, that takes a dive or 10 and then it turns out whether the intermediate pressure in your hoses is a bit too high. The result is that the set will leak and they cannot always just solve that on board the liveaboard. It is wise to give your set a turn, but make sure you have used it before you start that beautiful journey.

Medication

Depending on where you are traveling, it is useful to take some extra medication with you. Some painkillers, diarrhea inhibitors, allergy cream and antibiotics, but also think about rehydration salt and medication against seasickness. The salts are very nice to use during your travel days if you spend the necessary time in air-conditioned airports and airplanes. The air is dry there and you notice that in your body and because of this many people appear slightly dehydrated in addition to being tired. And that is neither convenient nor comfortable when you go diving. Keeping yourself well hydrated is very important during a diving holiday and good salts can help you with that.

Seasickness can really get anyone, even if you have been working in the offshore industry for 25 years, and can really spoil your holiday. Good medication against seasickness is not available in every country and not every boat has it, so something in the bag from the Netherlands is so smart. Something that proves to help enormously are those small anti-seasickness patches that you stick behind your ear. If you know that you are prone to seasickness, it is even useful to start as soon as you start your journey. It takes some time to build up the active substances in your body and if you only use it when the ship leaves the port, then you are simply too late. Would you rather not take medication but still do something against seasickness, an alternative are ginger tablets, they help your stomach to relax.

Whatever you want to take with you in terms of medication, as soon as you fly you must be able to prove what you have with you, what it is for and the like. This means that you keep the pills in the original packaging with a leaflet, not to mention a letter from the doctor if he or she has prescribed them.

Take nice pictures

Today, the camera is almost a permanent part of diving equipment. Some stick to a small action camera, others pack the SLR or even a drone. Whatever your photographic or videographic needs, remember that not every country offers as much freedom as ours. For example, in some countries, having a drone is considered a terrorist action and you are not allowed to take it with you in that case. So let yourself be informed in advance, ask your tour operator and do a search on Google.

Do you now have a large camera set and are you wondering how best to take it with you? Ask your airline, they have all the information you are looking for. For example, you can often add an extra bag or suitcase to your hand luggage on scheduled flights, as long as it contains a camera. Make sure that you put any inbuses and other tools in your checked baggage, because they are just not allowed in the cabin of the plane.

In hand luggage or checked luggage?

What about your lamps, batteries, regulator set, are they allowed in hand luggage or must it go in the hold? Well, that depends on the airline and their policy, so you should ask carefully. In general the following applies:

– Your regulator set is allowed in hand luggage
– Batteries outside the lamps. Lamps and batteries in the hold luggage

If you fly with a charter flight, you will be severely limited in your luggage options and they will ask you to pay every chance they see. Scheduled flights, on the other hand, are easier and you can often take extra diving luggage with you for free. When you are looking for flights, it is therefore useful to compare the costs for the charter flight plus food and baggage costs with the costs for the scheduled flight. With scheduled flights, everything is often included and as soon as you look at the additional costs of the charter, it is not uncommon that a scheduled flight seems more expensive at first glance, but is cheaper in practice.

Checklist

Check in advance
• Dive insurance
• Medical test
• Testing your own regulator machine set
• Special diving equipment needed
• Which suit is the best to use?
• Special wishes in terms of food
• Restrict your phone by turning off roaming and streaming

Medication
• Re-hydration salt
• Diarrhea inhibitors
• Antibiotics
• Seasickness patches or tablets
• Painkillers

Hand luggage
• Passport, Logbook, Certification, Medical Exam & Dive Insurance
• Camera
• Computer & Dive Computer
• Money and means of payment
• Rehydration salts
• Earphones

Hold luggage
• Diving gear, including SMB, reef hook and/or nudi pointer
• Lamps, battery loose
• Tools
• Medication including pamphlets and/or doctor’s statement
• Sunscreen factor 50
• What warm clothes
• cover bag
• water tank