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Why You Should Plan a Solo Dive Trip

By Chantae Reden | Updated On January 24, 2022
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Why You Should Plan a Solo Dive Trip

Solo Diver Gili Islands

Solo travel is empowering, this diver is relaxing and enjoying the beautiful blue sea on a traditional wooden boat after scuba diving the Gili Islands. Kastelic

Scuba diving and the buddy system go hand-in-hand, but what happens if you can’t find someone to join your dream dive trip? If you’re planning a dive adventure and waiting for a buddy to match your budget, availability, interest, or skill level, the trip may never happen. It’s better to go alone than not at all.

Going alone on a dive trip doesn’t have to be a lonely experience—you might be surprised to find it’s more social than you’d think. If you find your mind daydreaming about that freeing feeling of diving somewhere exotic under the sea, here’s why you should plan a solo dive trip.

You Won’t Miss Dive Opportunities

I walked in and out of a small dive center on Nusa Penida twice before finally signing myself up for a few fun dives. As a new diver, I wondered if I would feel awkward, afraid, and lonely on a boat with strangers.

My fears eased as soon as we were underwater. Had I let my self-doubt take over, I would’ve missed out on seeing elegant manta rays cruise beneath me. I spent that evening swapping dive tales, clinking glasses, and sharing pizza with the other divers. A shared passion for scuba diving ensured we had plenty to chat about, even though our backgrounds varied greatly.

Since this trip, I’ve vowed to scuba dive every chance I can, even if it means I’m bound to be buddies with a stranger. I’ve blown bubbles alongside sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and shipwrecks around the world on trips where I couldn’t find a buddy.

Almost all dive centers can accommodate solo dive travelers, usually pairing them with a fellow solo diver or with the guide as a buddy. While the Self Reliant Diver specialty dive course exists for independent divers, it’s not a requirement to go on a solo dive trip. Plus, it’s easy to accommodate one diver on a last-minute fun dive if space frees up, giving you more opportunities to dive even at busy dive centers during high season.

Solo Dive Trips Can Be as Social or Solitary as You Like

Traveling as a solo diver is oftentimes a more social experience than venturing out with a dedicated dive buddy. A shared passion for scuba diving connects travelers of varying nationalities, ages, and experience levels. “Where’d you learn how to dive?” “Where’s your favorite dive destination” and “What sea creature is underrated?” make for easy ice breakers. It’s common to link up with other dive groups or fellow solo divers, who offer the perks of traveling with others but without any commitment.

For a trip where you’re bound to make friends, look for dive resorts with social activities onsite, like trivia nights and beach clean-ups. On a liveaboard trip, socializing is part of the journey as you spend mealtimes and surface intervals with fellow divers. If you want to hand over the planning aspect of a dive trip, local dive shops often organize group trips that’ll expand your dive buddy rolodex. If solitude is what you want after a long day of diving, opt for a dive resort where you can retreat to a private room.

You’ll Enjoy Your Dive Trip, Your Way

Night diving versus dawn patrol, budget versus five-star, dive-all-day versus relax on the beach, deep versus shallow, macro versus mega—no matter how compatible you are, there are bound to be compromises when planning a trip with a dive buddy. A solo trip means you can enjoy the dives, surface interval activities, accommodation, and transportation you choose. You can splurge and scrimp on whatever you like, without having to worry if your travel partner shares your financial values.

Some liveaboard trips and dive resorts charge a single supplement surcharge for divers who are traveling alone to cover the cost of the second diver who would typically be sharing the room. To avoid paying this fee, look for single rooms, dorm rooms, or operators who offer a dive buddy matchmaking service that pairs solo travelers together. If you’re flexible, some dive resorts and liveaboards will waive the single supplement surcharge at the last minute, opting to fill their room in lieu of leaving it empty.

Two Scuba Divers Thumbs Up

Some operators offer a dive buddy matchmaking service that pairs solo travelers together.

You’ll Return Home with Newfound Confidence

Travel inherently requires interacting with new people in an unfamiliar environment. This can be uncomfortable at times, especially when things don’t go as planned. Travel long enough and you’re bound to miss a bus, misunderstand someone, lose your luggage—with no travel companion to rely on, you’ll be solving problems with your own skills. After overcoming the first few mishaps, you’ll probably realize solo travel isn’t as intimidating as it seems. You’ll return home with a sense of confidence that’s hard to acquire when you’re relying on another person.