6 Tips for Scuba Diving on a Budget in 2024

Being short on cash does not necessarily mean that your diving has to be put on hold. Sure, all-inclusive liveaboard trips to idyllic locations are incredible, but there are diving options for much smaller budgets that are just as much fun! We have put together some top tips for scuba diving on a budget this year.

Top hacks for scuba diving on a budget.

1. Stay close to home.

Even if you are landlocked, there are likely to be some options for diving that are close to home. Many people think of the ocean when they picture a scuba trip, but did you know that there are some incredible dive spots based in quarries and lakes, too?

All across the USA and Europe, and at other places around the world, you can find quarries and lakes that offer excellent diving. These freshwater dive sites host an array of marine life, have crystal-clear water, and offer treats such as wreck diving …all without tides or waves to worry about.

As an example, the USA’s Great Lakes offer well-preserved wrecks that date back to the 1800s! There, you can find wooden schooners, steel freighters, steamships, barges, and even luxury yachts.

Want to know more about lake and quarry diving? Check this out: Explore Europe: 7 Top Places to Go Lake and Quarry Diving.

Do not knock lake and quarry diving until you try it! Ask your local dive center about dive sites nearby and what they have to offer. We think you could be surprised by what is on your very own doorstep.

2. Research cheaper diving locations.

If diving near your home is not an option for you, there are some great places where you can go scuba diving on a budget and enjoy incredible diving. If you are on a European wage or similar, you may be surprised at how far your budget can stretch in some countries:

You can find cheap accommodation and spend very little on food while you are there. Even the cost of diving tends to be cheaper than it is in the USA or Europe. If you are happy to stay in hostels, eat delicious street food, and take public transport to get around, there are many places worldwide where you can go scuba diving on a budget.

3. Get a dive group together.

Many companies offer group discounts for divers, and some even include accommodation in the package, too. Not only is traveling with a group of dive buddies more fun, but it can also save you quite a bit of money.

You can split the cost of groceries, taxis, and accommodation prices; traveling in a group is a great hack for scuba diving on a budget. And you are never going to regret taking a dive trip with your friends!

Not yet certified? Are you interested in learning as a family? Here is: Family scuba diving: 8 Great Reasons to Start Today.

4. Go shore diving.

Shore diving can work out much cheaper than boat diving. A boat costs money to rent, fuel up, and cover the cost of the boat staff. Boat diving also tends to be a longer day, so you often have to spend money on food and refreshments for the boat trip, too.

Shore diving tends to be quicker, and it generally requires less planning and expense, making it great for scuba diving on a budget. In many cases, you and a buddy can head out on a shore dive and only spend money on the cost of filling your tanks up.

Some areas of the world require you to have a Dive Guide, which, depending on where you are, is still pretty inexpensive for shore dives. Shore diving can offer just as much exciting marine life as boat dives, with large ocean creatures coming fairly close to land, and the simplicity is hard to beat.

Nervous about shore diving? Check out the SSI Waves, Tides & Currents to enhance your dive skills so you can enjoy this unique type of diving with confidence.

5. Search for last-minute deals.

If you are in a position to pack your bags at the drop of a hat and take a last-minute vacation, you could be in a great position for scuba diving on a budget! 

Keep an eye out for last-minute flight offers, last-minute hotel offers, and even last-minute offers for diving. Many Training Centers are in locations that have a high season and a low season, so they might offer discounted courses in their low season to get more business coming in. 

If you want to learn to scuba dive but are nervous, read this: Learn to Scuba Dive with Confidence: Answers to 13 Scuba Diving FAQs.

6. Rent your gear or buy second-hand.

It can be expensive to accumulate a full set of diving gear for yourself, and if you only plan to use it once a year it might not make sense for you to invest in it. Many Training Centers offer gear rental with the price of courses and guided dives, so having your own gear might not be necessary.

If you want to buy your own equipment though, keep an eye out for some great secondhand deals. Many people buy brand-new gear and then sell it after 50 dives when it is still in perfectly good working order.

Having said that, make sure that you are purchasing reliable gear that is in good condition - you always need to prioritize your safety. If you buy secondhand regulators or tanks, make sure you get them checked and serviced before taking them diving.

There you have it, some tried and tested ways to save money and go scuba diving on a budget. So, where will you go diving next?

Check out the SSI Dive Site Locator below to find dive sites near you. Enjoy! FIND DIVE SITES NEAR YOU.