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U.S. DIVE TRAVEL NETWORK
___1. DIVING GEAR & ACCESSORIES: Assemble items as detailed on the USDT Recommended Gear List, which is located in the Helpful Checklists Directory on our Home Page. We strongly recommend you do not rent regulators or BCs overseas, for your own safety. Especially in Third World locales, or super-busy commercial centers on touristy islands. Rental gear gets heavily used, sometimes damaged by careless novices & is infrequently inspected for repairs. It is much cheaper & safer to rent any dive gear you may need from your hometown dive shop. (Always good to boost your local businesses, too :)
___2. CURRENT PASSPORT: If a passport &/or visa is required, make sure that yours is up to date. Many countries are requiring that you have at least six months validity left on your passport before you enter. If you need documents, please check with the federal Passport Agency nearest your home. Remember: all U.S. citizens need a visa for Australia. In many major North American cities, you may secure your Aussie visa from the local consulate, or via the new "E.T.A." procedure -- Electronic Travel Authority. Your airline sales rep or your travel agent can secure the ETA quickly by computer with this speedy new automated system. Please remember to check about visas for all countries you visit; this is extremely important! Call us if you need help (952-953-4124). Homeland Security rules now require that all U.S. citizens need a passport to re-enter the USA from any country, even from Mexico, Canada or nearby Caribbean islands.
___3. REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS: For
all overseas dive trips that require it, please get your inoculation updates
before you travel. We recommend that you get at least hepatitis-A &
tetanus shots, if needed; & also malaria-prevention medications in
countries where your local health department alerts you to be cautious.
But be sure to consult your personal physician before getting any shots
or taking any medications. Divers, it's best to avoid an anti-malarial med called "Larium," just to be on the safe side. But be sure to consult your personal physician before getting any shots or taking any meds that might interact biochemically with compressed air in your system. Be safe, friends.
___4. PADI MEDICAL STATEMENT: This is an optional form & only need be signed by persons who know they have, or suspect they might have, serious medical conditions that can affect scuba diving safety. You will find the approved PADI form in the Helpful Checklists Directory, which you can navigate into from the Home Page. Read the first page of this PADI form carefully & if you answer "YES" to any of the obviously serious questions -- for example those regarding pregnancy, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, history of decompression sickness, lung disease, history of blackouts or epilepsy -- then please have your physician read the PADI-approved "Guidelines for Recreational Scuba Diver's Physical Examination" before giving you a pre-dive physical checkup. You can call USDT any time & we'll e-mail you a PDF copy of these guidelines. Finally, please also have your examining physician sign the Medical Statement with a brief OK note to verify your fitness for this scuba diving trip. Mail all these materials back to U.S. Dive Travel at the address at the end of this document. .
___5. MEMBERSHIP in DIVERS ALERT NETWORK: This is optional but strongly advised. Based on many years of adventure-travel experience overseas, U.S. Dive Travel recommends that you get this DAN diver insurance policy, or else a similar policy sold by PADI. With the DAN policy, for a nominal fee, you'll be thoroughly covered under generous limits for one full year for any dive-related medical fees, hospital fees or costs of a ground ambulance, plus you get substantial emergency air evacuation coverage from anywhere in the world to a hospital or hyperbaric chamber. The policy kicks in when your personal medical insurance is exceeded. Given the exorbitant costs of medical emergencies today, USDT strongly recommends a solid backup of diver accident insurance. Call DAN's toll-free number (1-800-446-2671) to enroll. The other excellent option is PADI's Diver Accident Insurance, which also gives you strong medical & rescue coverage, plus a death benefit for modest annual fees. For higher fees, you can increase your PADI Diver Accident Insurance as high as $120,000 medical & rescue coverage plus a $35,000 death benefit. For PADI's policy call toll-free (1-800-223-9998, Ext. 212.)
___6. PERSONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE: Make sure your policy covers all illnesses, accidents or injuries outside the U.S., especially any serious scuba-related events. Best to always be prepared. You would be astonished at how expensive even one night in a recompression chamber can be. Nobody needs to be nailed with a whopping bill like that. Please do not leave home without this insurance, friends. This is your first line of financial defense in event of an unlikely, but potentially VERY expensive medical mishap overseas. And we hope you never encounter any such emergency.
___7. TRAVEL INSURANCE: This is optional but strongly recommended, especially for trips to remote regions, or to Third World countries, since 9-11 reshaped the political landscape of our world forever. We do not sell or broker travel insurance for ethical reasons, but we strongly encourage you to get it. Whether or not you purchase travel insurance, please sign U.S. Dive Travel's Travel Insurance Advisory form. Travel insurance packages can help protect you against cancellation or interruption of your vacation due to unforeseen incidents such as: injury or medical condition; financial default of an airline, hotel or overseas dive operator; travel industry shutdowns or strikes; natural disasters such as typhoons & floods; or traffic accidents overseas. Travel insurance also can cover such unpredictable overseas events as long transportation delays in undeveloped countries; loss, damage or theft of your costly luggage; seriously delayed luggage delivery; or the need for legal help abroad. When you sign this advisory, it means that you acknowledge you are freely assuming all financial & legal responsibilities for any costs that stem from mishaps such as those stated above. For more information, please call agents at Travel Guard International at 1-800-826-4919 or call Access America at 1-800-729-6021. You can easily charge your travel insurance policy to a major credit card by phone.
___8. READ the "PADI SAFE DIVING PRACTICES STATEMENT." Call U.S. Dive Travel & we'll fax you a copy, if you need one. Thank you for your help in setting a conscientious safety standard that will reflect well on all of us. If you haven't been diving in more than a year, you are more at risk for diving accidents that stem from simple miscalculations or inattention underwater. Therefore, we are adamant that you please take a 1-day refresher course before you head overseas. Call the nearest scuba instructor or divemaster with proper credentials from PADI, NAUI, SSI or YMCA, in your own city. As professional dive guides, we've learned even with ourselves, when a diver goes more than 8-10 months without donning scuba gear & using a regulator in the open water, some vital scuba skills can become a little fuzzy. This dilution of awareness & general diving prowess can lead to serious accidents. So please do the right thing & everybody wins: yourself, your loved ones & your friends at USDT.
___9. SIGN ALL 4 SECTIONS of the LIABILITY RELEASE & WAIVER. Have your signature notarized during the sign-up, please. Your local bank will likely do so in a quick two minutes. Mail us only the originals! Our apologies for the minor inconvenience, but we've learned over the years that some couples, married or not, will leave travel documents until the last minute to sign, then in a rush one partner will sign for the other person. Or busy executives & professionals sometimes relegate the waiver forms to their assistants. This, of course, renders those documents utterly invalid. Thank you for your patience & understanding. Our intent is twofold here: 1.) To prevent needless litigation from certain parties that will drive vacation-package costs skyward for all our good clients in the future; & 2.) To remind all clients of some fundamental health & safety issues, since many of our destinations are remote & carry a small inherent risk for the unprepared or novice traveler. We care for our clients as if they were family; & U.S. Dive Travel works extremely hard to prevent injuries or accidents overseas. If we work together, everybody wins. Client safety & security is the first foundation of any good dive trip, we are sure you will agree.
___10. 75 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE: Not later than this deadline, please pay your final balance by cashier's check or direct wire transfer for all lodging, diving, vessel & side tour costs. You may choose to pay with Mastercard or Visa for air tickets only. The U.S. Dive Travel partnership does not accept personal checks for land or air reservations -- no exceptions. Thank you for your gracious understanding. Also please air-mail in all following items, completed & signed: o USDT Diver Registration Form; o USDT Travel Insurance Advisory; o USDT Liability Release & Waiver, signed + notarized (the original hand-signed hardcopies) NOT sent by fax.
___11. CHECK U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TRAVEL ADVISORIES: Be sure to make a careful advance check of the current political conditions in the country you choose to visit -- well before your departure date -- then also a day or two before boarding your plane, just to make sure everything is safe & sound. USDT recommends you pay particularly keen attention to destinations such as the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, any countries in the Middle East or Southwest Asia, any countries prone to past terrorist attacks such as Egypt or Israel, & also to Malaysia, & the Java, Bali, Sumatra & Molucca Islands of Indonesia, plus North & East African countries & Myanmar (Burma). The best website to peruse is the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory page, which is updated periodically: http://travel.state.gov/travel/ Then just follow the links down to the appropriate country-specific advisory page.
___12. AN EXCELLENT "RULE of THREE AIRLINE CHECKS": Remember that most international airlines, in this era of heightened security checks & stricter maintenance rules, can change their flight departure times at the drop of a hat. Don't get caught flat-footed! Be sure to call your air carrier two days before you travel, then again the night before your departure, then finally about 4-5 hours before you leave for the airport, just to make sure there have been no major schedule changes. This is super important, folks -- keep a sharp eye on these "flighty" airlines! ;)
___13. BRING EXTRA SPENDING MONEY: You will need enough readily-convertible cash, traveler's checks or a credit card to cover the cost of tips (normally 10-15% of the pre-tax price of services) + side tours, cabs, motorbikes, souvenirs, drinks, entertainment & meals not covered by your specific package. Best to use a safe, hidden money belt.
___14. FINAL REMINDER, SUNSEEKERS: PLEASE DO NOT FORGET to TAKE YOUR SCUBA CERTIFICATION CARD or "C CARD": This is a big item. No "C Card," no diving, no fun in the sun. Pure & simple. Heads up! Thank you for coming to USDT with your tropical vacation needs. We are delighted to have you for our clients & we wish you the very best of luck on your dive vacation. God bless your adventure with perfect safety, perfect weather, perfect "viz," friendly encounters each day, plus many exciting & colorful critter sightings. Enjoy the Big Blue, amigos del mar !!! Have a wonderful vacation…
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make your e-checks, wires & cashier's checks payable to:
-- U.S. DIVE TRAVEL --
Please have the bank teller print your name at the bottom of your cashier's check, then please mail all cashier's checks, or credit card authorization forms (notarized), plus your completed travel documents to:
Susan & John Hessburg
U.S. Dive Travel Network
Feel Free to Phone U.S. DIVE TRAVEL's
Reservations Office in St. Paul, MN (952-953-4124).
U.S. Dive Travel
PMB 307 -- Suite # 116
15050 Cedar Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55124-7047
© Copyright 1995 - 2013 / U.S. Dive Travel Network.
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