There are different options to obtain your PADI certification, Of course we know the PADI Open Water course, where you get certified to become a diver and explore different dive sites all over the world; however some people do not have the time to sit through a course for at least 4 days or their financial status is in the way or any other personal reason there might be to not do this course.
For this group there is another option besides doing a discover scuba dive to get certified. There is the PADI Scuba diver course, This course is basically cutting the course in half. (time and financially). You can travel around the world and dive all different dive sites with the restriction of going 12 meters deep and you need to be supervised by a PADI professional. Having a PADI Pro escort you along the reefs is usually an advantage as most of us are not born as natural navigators, they can show us the best spots, show us where the smallest nudibranchs is or where the sharks might hang out. The disadvantage might be the limit of 12 meters deep, some of the best dive sites require you to be at least open water certified.
Once you travel to your dream destination it is of course possible to upgrade your Scuba diver course to a complete Open water course. Just remember you need to do some more classroom time, pool work and then you can do your last 2 open water dives. If you did the classroom time and the pool back home remember to bring all proof from your instructor to your vacation dive center so they can see what you have done. ( this is considered a referral) Still you do need to go to the pool for a small refresh before you can go into the ocean to finish dive 3 and 4.
The fact that we need to take you to the ocean is for both you and your new instructor a benefit. We can see how comfortable you are in the water and you can get accustomed to your instructor and understand his/her signals underwater. This “readiness assessment ” session can avoid many problems once you hit the ocean, and is part of the PADI standards.
If you started diving at home and want to finish the course at your vacation destination (or the other way around) do not get on that plane before you packed all your paperwork! Of course these days we can do a lot online, but keep in mind your school back home might be closed on Sunday.