If you’re an adventurer and thrill-seeker (or want to become one) then you’re more than likely familiar with the fact that skydiving can cost some serious dollars to make those dreams come true. Today, we’re going to explore the world of skydiving and figure out how much it’s going to cost, on average, to get onboard with one of the most commercially available thrills available to you. Whether you’re conquering a fear of heights or knocking a peg off of your bucket list, it’s important to budget your trip and know what you’re getting yourself into, before you start dropping money on tickets. Read on, for all of the details!
Skydiving is one of those things that has a mysterious, evasive cost attached to it until you finally dig in and decide that you’re going to do it. I’d like to think that a majority of people including it on their thrill-seeking adventure lists and statistics back that up. According to the United States Parachute Association, approximately 3.2 million skydives were made in 2014 alone. That’s a massive number of people plummeting speedily back to Earth, but it speaks to how popular the sport is, and how many people are willing to dip their toes into pure adrenaline to enjoy this increasingly commercial thrill.
The sport is relatively safe, too, and better standards, more advanced equipment, and new practices are constantly being implemented by commercial and professional skydivers ever year. Like any other sport, skydiving is a growing, evolving practice that rewards long-term investment. For many, one dive isn’t enough. For many, the first dive is just the start of a fledgling fascination that can result in annual trips to different locations all over the world. It is a global sport, after all!
However, for the purpose of this article, we’re going to treat you like you’re a beginner. Don’t fret–the information that we’re sourcing is going to be useful for veterans and newbies alike, but not everyone is up to speed on some of the tertiary costs that come along with the sport. Therefore, it’s worth examining the costs from every angle, to see just how much you’ll end up spending in total, on average, on a skydiving trip.
Determining Skydiving Costs
It’s probably not any great surprise that a wide variety of factors need to be considered when you’re determining the cost of a dive. Thankfully, the process is a whole lot less ambiguous than many people assume, but there are still quite a few angles that need to be taken into consideration. Among the most important are:
- Where you’re skydiving
- Who you’re skydiving with
- Whether you’re renting gear or using your own
- If you’re diving alone, or in tandem
- The company that you’re hiring (or an independent contractor)
- Season or time of year that you’re skydiving
We could probably break those categories down even further, but it definitely helps to illuminate the wide variance in pricing that you’ll see depending on how you shape your plans and your research. Thankfully, many of the companies that you can book a skydiving trip through help to provide some clarity as to what each of these factors is going to cost you. The best that we can do, therefore, is look at some examples provided by expert testimony and industry veterans.
If we take a look at Gold Coast Skydivers, a widely-recommended Gulf Coast skydiving group, we can get a better idea of some regional prices for diving in the United States. They do a great job of breaking down the different pricing components, with specific costs attached to specific additions to a total skydiving package.
Though prospective skydivers are requested to call and acquire a given cash price for jumps, experienced instructors tell interested thrill-seekers to expect a cost of about $80 to $90 for a solo-jumping experience, and about $150 to $170 for a tandem jump with a professional skydiver or instructor. All in all, that’s not a bad price, but you also need to take into account some of the additional costs that might be associated, based on your own preferences.
Are you using your own gear? If not, rental gear is going to cost you approximately $25. An added video package can tack on an extra $100 charge. Specialized training can ramp up those costs even more, but even so, anything less than a $200 bill, even for a solo skydiving trip, is absolutely affordable for the experience.
We can also look at prior research conducted on the subject. Sporting events research and writing site Sky Above Us has a full report on the variable costs of diving, and it directly addresses the ways that your own expectations and plans can and should impact the costs that you’re incurring during your skydiving trip.
According to these industry experts, a tandem dive will run between approximately $150 and $250, depending on factors such as location, health, age, and other qualifiers. A solo dive runs between $80 and $120, but can be significantly reduced by using one’s own equipment.
Of course, there can be other costs that might crop up unexpectedly, too. We can try to anticipate a few of them, while also pointing out which can be avoided and minimized.
One of the additional fees that you’re almost certainly going to run into will also change depending on the overall cost of your skydiving package. You should always tip your pilots and instructors after a successful dive, especially if it’s your first time. Why? Because like anyone providing a service, these professional are doing their best to make sure you have the most damned fun that you can during the entire experience. On top of that traditional responsibility, they’re also doing everything they can to keep you safe. When the event in question involves plummeting towards the earth in excess of 100 miles per hour, it’s understandable that you might want to show your appreciation for making a safe landing.
Depending on what type of skydiving you’d like to do, you might have to go through additional training. Accelerated Freefall (AFF) training can be significantly more costly, and also requires more training beyond your USPA certification (which is required for all solo skydiving.)
You’ll also have to take into account the cost of equipment rental. While this is often a static expense for many skydiving companies, it’s also important to factor in. Below, we’ll talk a bit about the costs of owning and maintaining your own equipment. It should be said, however, that safety should always be of paramount importance; if you cannot reliably maintain your own diving gear, then rental fees are a small price to pay for your own well-being.
Tips for Reducing Costs
The number one recommended way to reduce the cost of a skydiving trip is the same best practice for reducing any vacation cost–do it as a group! In addition to the associated group rates, you’ll be able to share the cumulative costs a lot easier amongst a group, and some of the additional fees mentioned above can end up being drops in a bucket, in comparison.
Tipping your pilot and instructors is just good manners, and it becomes easier when you can split that chunk of change between several people. Additionally, any training materials that you decide to buy can be shared between multiple people, meaning that you won’t have to endure the cost on your own. The requisite training that you have to undergo will certainly be more fun in friendly company too, right?
If you’re a first-time skydiver, you can reduce your costs significantly by not being too picky about where you choose to do it. According to an article by Sky Above Us, jumping costs are typically reflected by the cost of living where you’re jumping. If it’s an expensive area in general, the prices for popular tourism activities are going to follow suit, meaning that you can save money by sourcing out skydiving locations in more affordable regions. There’s a pleasure to not being picky, after all!
Related to that, you can cut your costs if you dive on a day that’s less “ideal” than most would care for. Off-season? Overcast? Many times, you’ll score steep discounts by choosing to skydive on occasions that are outside of the ideal–clear, sunny skies and beautiful summer weather.
Depending on how often you plan on skydiving (and how frequently) it can occasionally make more sense to own gear of your own, thereby saving you from recurring rental fees. A complete kit of parachutes can cost between $2000 and $10,000, depending on the quality of the equipment and whether or not it’s brand new. Surprisingly, if it’s well maintained, that equipment can last quite a long time, too! Balance those future rental fees–which can run between $50 to $100, against how often you’re going to be skydiving in the future, and how soon!
Though determining the exact price for your next skydiving trip is going to be hugely dependent upon subjective factors, we hope that this guide will be immensely useful in helping you to anticipate the necessary costs. If you have any suggestions or questions, let us know in the comments below!