Find out what’s best for you
That’s a question I get asked a lot.
The reality is everyone’s needs are different.
Rather than me trying to guess what’s best for you, I’ll give you some of the pros and cons of buying vs. renting so you can make the wisest decision based on your individual situation.
Ready? Here we go…
If you rent, you won’t have to lug your snorkeling gear around with you when traveling. Fins, especially, are large and cumbersome taking up precious suitcase space.
If you never plan on snorkeling again (although after trying it, I seriously doubt it!), renting your snorkeling gear will be cheaper than buying. Take a moment to think about how much buying your own gear will cost you, relative to how much you’ll use it in the future.
Depending on the selection of gear at the rental company, it may be difficult to find a mask that fits your face properly. If you don’t know why a properly fitting snorkeling mask is important, you really should read my section on What You Should Know About Snorkeling Masks.
It’s difficult to be certain of the sanitation procedures of every rental company. Many people will have used your snorkel before you. Was it sanitized properly? Hmmm… something to think about.
If you don’t know of a rental company in the area you’ll be staying, you’ll have to go searching for one when you could already be at the beach swimming.
When you own your own snorkeling gear you can be assured everything fits properly. You did read What You Should Know About Snorkeling Masks and What You Should Know About Snorkeling Fins, didn’t you? If you haven’t, you really should take a moment to at least glance it over.
Another important consideration is sanitation. You won’t have to guess who had that snorkel in their mouth before you and if the rental shop sanitized it properly.
You can take your time choosing the right gear for the right price before your trip. You’ll be able to comparison shop at all the local dive shops in your area at your leisure.
You never know when you’ll be headed back to the beach again. It’s great to know that your gear will always be there, ready to go.
Having you own snorkel gear means you’ll have one less thing to do when you get to your destination. In other words, you’ll be at the beach sooner instead of searching for the rental shop.
If you’re absolutely sure you’re only going to snorkel once in your life, buying your own gear is usually more expensive than renting.
You’ll have to carry your gear around with you. If space is at premium (I know it is when I travel), your gear could be taking up room for other things like all that great stuff you bought while shopping in Hawaii. There is a way to partially get around this… keep reading…
Ok Grant, But What Do You Recommend?
Who says you have to only either rent or buy? How about the best of both worlds?
My favorite recommendation is to purchase your own mask and snorkel from your local dive shop and rent your fins from a snorkeling rental company once you get to your destination.
Owning your mask and snorkel means you’ll be assured your mask fits your face properly and your snorkel is sanitary. Peace of mind goes a long way.
A mask and snorkel is small and light, taking up very little space in you suitcase. The fins are the cumbersome part and renting them means you won’t have to try and find room for them in your bag when it’s packed with all those great things you’ve bought on you trip.
Insider Tip: Oh yeah, here’s a quick tip about packing your snorkel gear: Pack your mask between your clothes so the lens won’t take a beating by the airline’s luggage handlers. If you are bringing your own fins, pack them near the outside of your bag. Fins are tough and will help protect the more delicate things in the center.