Manta Divers September, 2009
If you’ve done any air traveling at all, you are aware of all the new and ever changing rules and restrictions. As a diver, the weight restrictions are the most challenging to me. I am not about to gamble that the dive resort I am going to has my size gear in good working order, (It is my life, for goodness sake!) so I am forced to rethink my packing. In fact, I choose to look at the weight restrictions as a challenge and a puzzle, rather that just a plot by airlines to inconvenience me. Last month, I wrote about preparing gear for a trip, and this month, I’d like to explore just how to get that gear into your bag and under 50 lbs.
The first thing you want to do is check the website of whatever airline and make sure you know what the weight restrictions are because they may change and they can vary from airline to airline. Another thing to be aware of is there have always been restrictions on the dimensions of bags. Airlines do not seem to be consistent with enforcement of these rules (We’ve all seen passengers try to shove enormous carry-ons into the overhead bins.), but do not want to find yourself at the airport at 5AM with a bag they suddenly have deemed too large, or being forced to cough up another $100 for an oversized bag.
Once you’ve located a bag with the correct dimensions, lay out all the gear, clothes and toiletries you think you need. Then start getting rid of items! Start with the toiletries. Try to bring the smallest sizes of everything. You may want to check with the resort as to what they provide there. It may be okay to go the week without your special shampoo, shower gel and moisturizer and use what the resort supplies. They may have toothpaste in each room, too. Those items take up space and add weight, so only pack them if they are necessary. Ladies, the makeup could be kept to a minimum, too. Face it; if this is purely a dive vacation, it is a waste of time to put on makeup that will be washed off after the first dive anyway. Even if you a planning to enjoy the nightlife, a little mascara, some tinted sunscreen and lip gloss will suffice in most situations. A word to the wise: You should open any bottle of (e.g. sunscreen) gel or liquid that you pack and place a piece of saran wrap or some plastic over the opening, then replace the top. I can speak from personal experience; there is nothing worse than getting to your destination only to find your clothes and gear coated with sunscreen that exploded due to changes in pressure during your flight.
Look at the clothes you intend to bring and then mentally walk yourself through your days at the resort. If you are spending the majority of the day in your swimsuit, then you probably do not need a fresh outfit for each day you are there. Perhaps you can get by with a couple of shorts and just a change of shirt daily. Look for clothing with lightweight, wrinkle resistant fabrics. If you want to bring jeans, wear then on the flights to and from the destination to avoid having to pack such a bulky and heavy item in your bag.
Now that you have your load pared down, start packing. Load your gear in first (As it is the most important!). Make sure that your BC is completely deflated and there are no weights left in the trim pockets from your last dive. Utilize your regulator bag to hold small, soft items, such as your microfiber towel, underwear, or socks. It will be an efficient use of space that provides added protection for your regulator. Place sunscreen or other lotions into a plastic bag and tuck them into the corner of your bag. Try to utilize all available space.
After you have everything in the bag that will fit, weigh your bag. If it is not within your carrier’s limit, you will have to do some rearranging. You may have to transfer some of your items to your carry-on. Again, be sure that your carry-on meets your carrier’s size and weight restrictions. Use your carry-on to bring essentials, such as medications and a change of clothes, or items you want to use during your travel day, such as a camera or computer.
After all this, if your essentials just will not fit in one bag, suck it up and bring a second one. You will have to pay a bit more, but it will be worth it not to be missing something you absolutely must have and not have to risk being overweight! Happy Diving!
In Other News!
- We can still squeeze in a diver or two on our Roatan trip, January 9-16, 2010. Call the shop for availability.
More great news from Aqualung! You can save $150 on the purchase of a Cobra, Cobra3, D4, D6 or D9 dive computer now until December 15, 2009. This would be a great time to upgrade your computer or jumpinto computer diving for the first time. Manta Divers offers a free computer class with any computer purchase.
Where do you want to dive next summer? Door County? Lake Michigan? Far Northern Wisconsin? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions and we'll see what we can come up with.