For many, skydiving is the ultimate adrenaline rush. What can possibly beat jumping down an aircraft and hurtling back down to earth at a dizzying speed? It’s the kind of thing you have to try at least once in your life, if only for the bragging rights.
The problem, of course, is paying for it. How much does it cost to skydive? Plane tickets and insurance aside, a skydiving trip can run you back at least a few hundred dollars. There’s no set price range, but prices are affected by several factors. these include whether or not you’re skydiving alone (you may want to pay an instructor to fly with you), whether you’re bringing your own equipment or renting them, what else you’re doing on the trip, where you’re going, how competitive the company is, what other services you’re getting, and the time of the week (weekends are usually more expensive).
A tandem skydive, where you have an instructor dive with you, can cost from $120 to $250, including the equipment but excluding the instructor’s tip. Ten to 20 percent is usually acceptable. Solo skydiving costs $80 to $120 if you’re renting equipment, but can be as low as $25 if you have your own gear. For most of these you have to be certified; this will cost you $1,500 or so for a training package. An accelerated training package includes about 8 hours of instruction, plus on-the-ground work before embarking on about 10 actual jumps.
A cheaper alternative is indoor skydiving, where you enter a vertical wind tunnel and simulate a free fall, usually with an instructor beside you. There’s a small training session, about 20 minutes, to familiarize you with the basic positions. Each “jump” lasts about a minute and costs $20 to $40. Most companies impose weight limits and make you sign a waiver freeing them of all responsibility if you get injured during a jump.
If all this is too much for you, there are ways to cut costs, especially if you’re traveling to skydive. For instance, group jumps usually cost 10% to 20% less per person. Jumping during a weekday or on overcast days can also mean cheaper rates, not to mention smaller crowds. If you have a choice, pick a destination that’s not too touristy; the general rule is that the higher the cost of living, the higher the skydiving costs. Finally, if you plan on going back, book them right after landing—most companies offer discounts for follow-up skydives.