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Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the Invasion to Roatan

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Invasion 2014' started by ROXANNE, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. ROXANNE

    ROXANNE Artist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    3,888
    2,301
    113
    Packing, Travel and Diving Tips for the Invasion to Roatan

    Well we are getting close to the ScubaBoard INVASION to Roatan!!!!!
    I thought we could touch base on some of the great ideas that everyone had on preparing, packing, travel, and dive related tips.
    For some this is old hat, so share your knowledge.

    I’ll get things started… Here are some of my tips.
    Anytime you are travelling outside of your normal area, it's good to check
    CDC Destinations/Travelers Health Info

    DON'T FORGET These Items when Packing!

    Airline tickets/info
    for going and return flights
    Passports (I also make a copy of it and put it in my carry on)
    Driver’s License or if you don’t have one, some other form of picture ID.
    Diving Certification Cards and Nitrox Cards
    Forms will be emailed by Bay Adventures soon. Please fill out and bring with you.
    DAN and Health Insurance Cards
    Credit Cards
    or ATM Cards (call you card company, let them know when and where you’ll traveling)
    (Some CC company charge an extra fee for transactions when out of the country)
    You can charge your drinks, tips, gift shop and any excursion through the resort such as the dolphin or shark dive to your room.
    There isn't an ATM at the resort, but there is one in town.
    Small Bills (1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s go a long way) (Some of the restaurants don't accept credit cards or $100 bills if you plan on venturing into town to eat out)
    Prescription Medication (keep it in the prescription bottle with your name on it)
    Over the counter medications and first aide items that you may need.
    Especially allergy medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction.
    (You can find a lot of the same products in Roatan, but the packaging may look different and the instruction might not necessarily be in English)
    Sunscreen (biodegradable containing a mineral ingredient such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide if possible for the coral reefs health)
    I found this line of biodegradable products www.reefsafesuncare.com
    Sunglasses and an extra cheep pair for the truck (polarized are better for gazing into the water)
    Hats
    Bug spray
    (if the bugs find you tasty), I'm also recommending Cactus Juice , www.reefsafesuncare.com
    or some other brand for the biting no see ums.
    Water, You can purchase a bottled water and refill the bottle or bring your own bottles to fill if you don't wish the cost of buying bottled water. You can bring flavor packets or liquids to flavor your water for variety. I like to bring flavor packs for my coffee too! I do strongly suggest drinking only bottled or can drinks when outside the resort and wiping any moisture from the tops to avoid having any issues.
    Personal flashlight, You may want to bring a small personal flashlight to navigate the walkways and stairs at night.

    I like to be organized (can’t you tell) so I have a travel checklist on file that I printout. Here's my list if you like. View attachment 124688
    That way, I don’t have to think too much about remembering what I need. The list includes everything that might be needed. If something's on the list that doesn’t apply to this trip, I just cross it off. I also includes things to do like stopping the mail, newspaper, contacting your cell provider if you want service there, and calling the credit card companies to inform them that I will be going out of the country so they don't cut me off in mid-trip.

    CARRY ON ANY ITEMS THAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE.
    Check with your Airline for specific rules as to what accepted and procedure for checking in, as these seem to be changing constantly.

    For anything in question or liquid form, check with your airline.
    TSA will take it and throw it away!
    We personally had a problem with our rechargeable batteries in our carry ons one time. They weren't allowed in the checked and they weren't allowed in the carry ons. Making up the rules as they go, Go figure??? I would suggest not putting them all in one place in your carry on. Dennis had quite a few, all in one spot and I think they stood out like a sore thumb.

    ID’s, Credit Cards, Cash etc.
    Any Cameras/Electronics
    You’re Regulators and Dive Computers
    Prescription Medication
    Glasses/Contacts
    Jewelry

    Put your name, address, and phone number in all your bags including your carry on and personal item in case they become lost or separated from you.

    Put some of each persons items in each checked bag. That way if one of the bags get lost, you still have some of your things.

    Making the most of the luggage weight restrictions
    (Don't forget, Men and Women are allowed to have a personal item purse/back pack/briefcase/man purse in addition to their carry on. Make the most of it!)

    I have a large purse that I use just for flying. the personal Item is not weighed, so it's great for a few heavier items. Just make sure they can be carried on and not needed to be placed in checked luggage.
    Think about light weight items when packing. Inexpensive t-shirts (like Hanes or fruit of the loom) are very lightweight, come in multiple colors, are great for shore diving cover ups and can be left behind if you shop too much in town.
    Light weight dresses are great for the ladies.
    Think kakis over jeans. Shoes can weigh a lot also. Even thou it's a pain at the airport, I'll wear my tennis shoes as they weigh the most. And if taking a light jacket, it goes on the plane with me as well.
    A personal hand scale is an invaluable tool so you don't have surprises when getting to the airport.

    Diving Tips

    Get yourself hydrated before the trip and stay hydrated, but don't over do it. Drinking smaller amounts of water through out the day is better than just guzzling a glass or 2.

    We like to use baby shampoo for mask defog.

    My feet get blisters and take a beating while diving multiple days, so I wear the thin trouser socks. It also helps your feet slip into your wetsuit!

    A lightweight cooler bag is a great way to carry those bigger underwater cameras. They give the camera some protection and are easy to fold up for packing, light weight and rinse out easily.

    A water proof bag for the boat and a pelican box or other waterproof case for shore diving come in handy for keeping things dry.

    Some Woolite or those all-in-one washer sheets if you plan on washing the funk off your clothes or dive wear in the sink/tub. Especially great when your staying longer than a week. Don't forget some close pins too. They help when hanging items up for drying.

    Skin or Wetsuits? Warm tropical weather is the norm, with little change in temperature from winter to summer. Average annual temperature is 85° F/29.4° C. Humidity is usually high, especially from May to September. (Which is why we are going earlier in the year than we usually do for the Invasion) Water temperature varies between 27-31° C/81-88° F. While the weather is consistently good year-round, during the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual 30-45 meters/100-150 feet. (Which is why we are going earlier in the year than we usually do for the Invasion) Daily highs around 87°F throughout the month of April and low temperatures are around 78°F. Water temperature averages 28° C/82° F.

    Update water temp recorded on Mon. 4-21-14 was 81° F.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
    beaner, Moonie, Dubi and 3 others like this.
  2. Scuba_Dad

    Scuba_Dad Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Melbourne FL
    1,583
    206
    63
    Roatan airport was an adventure yesterday. I thought I was at Disney World because of all the lines.

    Roatan airport is NOT the most efficiently run airport to fly out of. The problem is... All three major airlines depart at about the same time, so we had everyone from Delta, American Airlines, and United all checking in at the same time. So, you know what that means...

    Line #1: Pay your $39/pp exit tax. They do take credit cards, but they will add a surcharge. Cash is best.
    Line #2: Check your luggage. Since everyone arrived at the same time... the line was extraordinarily long, and very SLOW moving.
    Line #3: Document check... they make sure you paid your exit tax...
    Line #4: Security Check... TSA PreCheck is NOT an option... everyone has to go through it. (Oh! We had a power outage while we were in line... Yup! All the power went out)
    Line #5: Boarding line... since all three airlines are boarding at the same time... which line should you get in? Since nothing is really organized... all the lines zig and zag, and you can't tell which line is going to which gate. We accidentally got into the correct line...

    Needless to say... we got to the airport shortly after 11 for a 1:30 flight... we were stressing to make it to our flight on time. Our mistake... We took a 15 minute break after checking in our bag to have an empanada. We thought we were home free, but we didn't realize we had three more lines to go through. Oops!

    Lesson learned...

    Al

    ---------- Post added February 18th, 2014 at 06:23 PM ----------

    One thing I've noticed on the several trips I've taken to Honduras. The workers at the airport, ferry, etc will almost take your luggage away from you and take it to where you need to go. They'll also be extremely helpful without you even asking. Then... they'll ask you for a tip. Actually... it's worth the tip to avoid the hassle of getting your bags to the correct place.

    When I took the Ferry from La Cieba to Utila... My bags were the first ones off the ferry... They'll grab your passport and the exit tax fee and maneuver up to the front of the line to pay your tax for you... Be aware... that's going to happen at the airport, ferry... or any other place where you're lugging your bags.

    Al
     
    ROXANNE likes this.
  3. SayNo2Snow

    SayNo2Snow Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Alberta, Canada
    98
    26
    18
    Thanks for the check list Roxanne!! Leaving for Bonaire in 2 days and I'm becoming brain dead with the excitement. Now I can be calm and begin breathing normally again!

    Ann

    :banana:
     
  4. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: everywhere
    25,355
    5,241
    113
    My best tip for arrival. When you arrive with the 2-3 other flights at the same time early afternoon and everybody is standing in 4 lines outside in the heat - Get in one of the the Right side lines.

    Once in the building the line snakes around the corner to the right. 4 lines then merge down to 2 at the Customs/Immigration desk. Still can take the better part of an hour though. We actually picked someone in the left line once and noticed they were still a dozen people back as we exited to the baggage claim...:wink:

    Isn't AKR picking up the Invaders at the airport? I would think they'd bring the shuttles since there's so many. So they'll handle your luggage once you clear it thru the checkpoint most likely.
     
  5. ROXANNE

    ROXANNE Artist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    3,888
    2,301
    113
    Glad to help Ann. We did have this same thread for the Invasion to Bonaire last year. It has a lot of the same info, but there are a few things particular to Bonaire. http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/in...560-packing-diving-tips-bonaire-invasion.html
    Have fun and enjoy your trip.

    Thanks for the heads up and yes we do have airport transfers for the Invaders.
     
  6. kerrycorcoran

    kerrycorcoran Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Nebraska
    407
    231
    43
    Good information for sure!! Recently purchased a Dive Caddy Gen II for the trip; hoping it will meet airline sizing requirements. I'll be sure to measure things A LOT while packing!!
     
    ROXANNE likes this.
  7. ROXANNE

    ROXANNE Artist

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    3,888
    2,301
    113
  8. Dannybot

    Dannybot Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    321
    145
    43
    I keep copies of my C cards and dubi's on my iPhone just in case I forget, or lose them. I also have them in my email, but with the internet being so slow and spotty in the Caribbean, you can't really rely on that.
     
    Colin Gray and ROXANNE like this.
  9. Smit

    Smit Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Shawnee, Kansas
    235
    323
    63
    I found in Mexico it was better to exchange dollars for pesos when shopping in the local shops. The exchange rates at the small shops were not good.

    Is this true in Roatan also? Would it be best to exchange dollars for Lempira's to shop in Roatan?
     
  10. cardzard

    cardzard Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Port Richey, FL
    6,207
    5,321
    113

    There is no need to exchange US Dollars for Lemp. The US Dollar is accepted basically anywhere on Roatan. I suggest taking small bills to shop with but I am sure they will exchange your money at the hotel or direct you to the best place to do so.
     
    Audsred and Scuba_Dad like this.

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