A question many travelers encounter is whether or not to dive into the deep and earn your PADI qualification. Especially when backpacking in exotic locations where the water is warm and full of extraordinary fish. But how do you combine scuba diving with living on a budget?
Let’s face it, traveling is making choices. The more you travel the more you come across beautiful locations with dozens of activity options. Most of them are expensive; diving, skiing, bungee jumping, sky diving, white water rafting, helicopter flights and guided expeditions. The options are endless. It is really a question of what you would like to do most, but with a bit of luck you can mix and match to your budget.
If you’re interested in getting a dive certification there are several places where it is very affordable. Even within a country the differences can be big. I found Asia to be a good place to look, but do your research and ask other travelers about their experiences. You might just get a good tip from you bunkbedbuddy.
If you would really love to give it a try but are, like me, a bit scared if this is really the thing for you, you can do a discover session first. In this session you’ll get some training before going to open water. The very first dive is just to learn the basics. Another dive will get you more used to being underwater and teaches you the last things before your real dive. At the end of the day you’ll take the plunge and dive with an instructor in open water.
If you are really hesitant you can find a company that does diving and snorkeling. If you don’t feel confident, you can always switch to the snorkeling and stay on the surface. You can also ask companies how many people dive with an instructor. If it’s just you or maybe two of you, then you’ll feel much safer than in a bigger group. If all goes well and you decide to go all the way, most dive schools can give you a discount on your PADI open water course and often you can finish that course in a shorter time. For me it took only two more days to get my certification after the discover session.
Another option is to do the Scuba diver course, which is just a part of the open water course. This way you can divide your training over two locations. My advice would be to do the whole course in one location though. You’ll feel secure with an instructor you know. There’s only one more tip I’d like to share: don’t wait too long with your next dive. Postponing will only make you insecure and in some countries you must do a refresher course after not diving for a year.