5 Things You Need to Know About Scuba Diving; Here's Your Scuba 101

An underwater adventure awaits

Are you seeking an underwater adventure that involves more than sipping piña coladas poolside with your toes in the shallow end? If deep sea navigation paired with exploration floats your boat, scuba diving will be right up your alley as you plunge beneath the surface.

Scuba diving is an experience you won't soon forget. As land creatures, being able to breathe underwater without coming up for air may seem unnatural, but it's unbelievable. Let's dive in…

The Skinny on Scuba

Scuba 101Unsplash

As explained by Arenal Diving, "SCUBA (stands for) Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus." Advanced divers can go as deep as 40m, but as a beginner, "Most courses limit the maximum depth of all dives to 18m until the diver has obtained further training and experience."

Aside from the thrill of going deep, the things you'll see under the sea will open your eyes. As Aquaworld puts it, "As soon as you submerge, (you) will access a whole new dimension filled with marine life and biodiversity overall. Bright coral reefs, flashy invertebrates, curious marine mammals and an unbelievable array of colorful fish."

Not to mention how you'll feel. Being underwater gives you the sensation of weightlessness. "A scuba diver exploring the ocean can be compared to an astronaut space walking. Being able to control your buoyancy will give you a great comfort which enables you to freely dive," notes Aquaworld.

No wonder scuba divers are always so eager to share their amazing adventures and dish about their dramatic dives!

You'll Need to Get Certified

Get certifiedgetyourscubacertification.wordpress.com

This activity is far from a "dive right in" sort of hobby. As fun as scuba diving is, you'll need to learn the ropes to ensure you're as prepared and safe as can be. Whether it's a few classes, a full-on course, or a pre-dive brush-up demo, scuba education is not only useful, but required in any legitimate diving spot. You must be at least 12-years-old to begin scuba diver training.

As per the World Organization of Scuba Diving (WOSD), "Learning to scuba dive is actually very easy. In principle, everyone can learn in 15 minutes time how he or she needs to breathe and move underwater. However, being safe and responsible underwater needs some more time. To do this, you not only need the necessary knowledge. Also, you need to master various skills to ensure that you are no longer a danger to the underwater world, for other divers and for yourself."

According to Fly & Sea Adventures, "In order to become a scuba diver, you will have to complete a short course and obtain a certificate." The course consists of three parts – knowledge development, confined water dives, and open water dives. Fly & Sea Adventures adds, "Courses last a minimum of three days, but the practical sessions, confined dives and open water dives can be spread out over a few months."

The more teaching and training, the better. Study up, practice, and prep as much as you can before your first outing and always continue educating yourself between dives. Follow these steps to take towards certification.

Get in Gear with the Appropriate Gear

Scuba gearstore.ecdivers.com

Scuba diving requires special gear that not only protects but provides underwater utility needed for deep sea swims. As Arenal Diving explains, "We have different equipment that we use to enable us to dive; masks allow us to see under the water, fins help us move around easily and the scuba unit allows us to breathe underwater. The air that we breathe is exactly the same as the atmosphere (only cleaner and without humidity)."

According to Scuba Diving, "It's helpful to think of buying gear in two phases: first, the basic stuff you need for class; second, the major pieces of life support — regulator, BC and dive computer — that you're allowed to purchase once you've got a (certification)."

You'll Need to be Aware of Your Body and Mind

The "bends"Unsplash

Scuba diving isn't the same as swimming. You will need to realize you'll be experiencing new and sometimes odd sensations and reactions to the different way of getting air while under the surface. Some people experience decompression syndromes AKA Caisson disease, commonly referred to as "the bends."

"The bends" occurs in scuba divers or high altitude or aerospace events when dissolved gases (mainly nitrogen) come out of solution in bubbles and can affect just about any body area including joints, lung, heart, skin and brain. Decompression sickness (DCS) is caused by the formation of bubbles of gas that occur with changes in pressure during scuba diving," as explained by emedicinehealth. Symptoms include fatigue, rashes, joint pain, itching, chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and others.

Emedicinehealth advises seeking medical care if you experience any of these symptoms within 48 hours of scuba diving. Doctors treat patients in a hyperbaric recompression chamber.

If you don't feel mentally or physically prepared for such possibilities, rethink your drive to dive.

Buddy Up

Get a scuba buddyUnsplash.com

Find a friend, family member, or "special someone" to experience scuba diving with. Whether a beginner or a long-time scuba diver, sharing the moments and memories with someone as thrilled about the experience as you are is priceless.

Additionally, being with a buddy is an extra step towards safety. Going out into the ocean is always risky no matter how many precautionary measures you take. Knowing someone is accountable for your whereabouts and you for theirs adds another layer of security.

If you can't find an adventure-seeking someone to scuba with, Aquaworld knows you won't be lonely. "Diving is very social! You'll meet a lot of new people in your adventures from all over the world with many different cultures and you will always have something to talk about with these new friends."

You Must Love the Water

An underwater wonderlandUnsplash.com

Any scuba diver knows how much time will be spent in the water. If you're not into the whole "beach thing," choosing scuba as an activity may be a letdown. But if you love the ocean air, blue waves, sunshine, and sand, scuba diving is your calling. You'll be off dry land for extended periods of time, making your experience refreshing and rewarding. Even the training will involve lots of underwater education, so you must be willing to get wet!

And according to Andy Scuba Diving, even non-swimmers can get into scuba. "In over 10 years in the diving industry we have had plenty of experience with non-swimmers and even the occasional person who has a fear of water! It is not unusual that someone who is fearful of being in the sea still has a compelling urge to go scuba diving. It just proves what a powerful attraction our beautiful underwater world has."

Success! Scratch scuba diving off your bucket list.

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Travel Tips

Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!