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How To Budget For Your First Skydive

Thursday, August 31, 2023

We’re not here to tell you that the skydiving community is loaded and that having endless stacks of cash is a prerequisite to skydiving, because it’s actually quite the opposite! Our community is chock-full of people from all walks of life, some with plenty with fun money and others who work hard just to play hard. Let’s check out what goes into the cost of skydiving, why is starting out tandem skydiving a good idea, and look at some ways you can save for your big day in the sky. 

Woman wearing sun glasses while skydiving at Skydive St Louis near Chicago

Why Is Skydiving So Expensive? 

Point blank: tandem skydiving is a luxury experience where you get what you pay for. The price behind the skydive is determined by compensation for instructors, pilots, videographers, packers, and ground crew; wear and tear on the gear and aircraft; and, of course, fuel costs. Every time skydiving gear is used it becomes less valuable, sort of like a car depreciating by gaining mileage. In skydiving, we prioritize safety, and that means making sure our gear, aircraft, and staff are consistently well looked after.

Tandem skydiving instructors go through rigorous training to earn their instructor rating and show the utmost dedication to making the sport better every day. We’re talking about a USPA D license, a minimum of 500 jumps, at least three years in the sport, and a current FAA Class III Flight Medical Certificate. Tandem skydiving instructors choose to take on a lot of responsibility because they love sharing the freedom of flight with others and advancing the sport of skydiving.

This is why starting with a tandem is wise — you get to experience the thrill of leaping into the big blue sky without having to commit to the time and resources necessary to train to go solo. Making a tandem is a great way to whet your whistle with an almost responsibility-free experience and see if going whole hog is right for you.

How Much Does It Cost To Skydive At STL? 

Girl jumping out of a plane at Skydive St Louis near the Gateway Arch

Our tandem skydiving rates range from $269 without a media package to $378 with skydiving photos and video. Although it does bump the cost up a bit, we 100% encourage our tandem students to get a photo or video package. The last thing you want is to land from your first ever skydive and regret not documenting it! Sure, you can learn to skydive solo or do more tandem jumps, but you will never ever get your first jump back — the pressure is on to capture the awesomeness! 

  • Are you supposed to tip your instructor when you go skydiving? Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. Our tandem instructors and videographers are trained professionals who are passionate about sharing skydiving with people just like YOU. If you feel like your experience was out of this world, let them know! Even if fiscal tipping isn’t in the cards, writing your instructor a quick note, giving them a genuine thanks, or shouting them out in an online review goes a long way. 
  • How expensive of a hobby is skydiving? The cost of skydiving significantly drops once you gain your skydiving license and buy your own gear. Most dropzones offer single-jump tickets for licensed jumpers for around $30! 

How Do I Prepare For My First Time Skydiving? 

There are plenty of ways to prepare for a first jump, and budgeting for one is more simple than you may think. Do you remember getting your first hourly job? Shortly after, it’s common to start measuring your purchases in the hours you’ve worked. For example, if a skydive is $259 and you make $15/hour, it will take a little over 17 hours of work to pay for the skydive. You can use this general mentality when budgeting for your jump!

Even if an hourly rate isn’t applicable, it’s likely that you get a daily coffee or lunch out, have a few subscriptions you’ve forgotten about, or another consistent (and unnecessary) cost in your life. A $6 coffee per day is $42 per week … multiply that by 6 and you’ve got yourself one tandem skydive! We don’t want to get preachy, but if you cut out some of the daily or weekly luxuries, your skydive will pay for itself in no time.

If you’re still thinking, “Hmmm, doesn’t sound like it’s for me … I can’t start my day without my overpriced coffee.” Well, first … you do you. Second, that’s why we have skydiving gift certificates! If you’re not ready to take the leap yourself, giving the experience of a lifetime to a friend is unbeatable! Talk about the coolest gift-giver EVER! And if you’re ready to go but don’t have the funds to make it happen, asking for a skydiving gift certificate from someone who loves to see you soar is just plain smart!

Is Skydiving Worth It? 

Group of friends excited to go skydiving at Skydive St Louis

A million times, yes! Skydiving is TOTALLY worth it! If we’re being honest, we believe skydiving is a priceless activity. Whether your first skydive is a one-and-done activity or sparks your interest in learning how to jump solo, we suggest everyone who is interested and able to skydive at least once. Skydiving allows you to confront and conquer fear in a unique way, leaving you feeling empowered and with a newfound lease on life. 

We think the gateway to soaring the St. Louis skies is calling your name! Start saving today (you’ve got this!!!) and when you’re ready, come jump with us! We can’t wait to have you. Blue skies.

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