Oops my bad, I did not read the first post and responded for snorkeling only.
As a dive instructor I could not disagree with Jason more about not bringing a snorkel with you. But that is a personal thing. Otherwise everything he has said is completely true.
You did not say were you live. I personally do not like to carry my dive gear on air planes. So I tend to carry my snorkel gear only. The only exception would be my BC and wet suit. When I go to remote dive sites I just rent the stuff I need.
One word of caution. Most beginner divers tend to think they know it all. Beginning divers do not even know what they don't know. I would suggest lots of dives in familiar waters before worrying about traveling great distances to see some of the premiere dive sites. Take smaller trips to calmer less thrilling waters to gather lots of experience.
Yes their is a difference between ocean and quarry diving.