Now that you have your charter planned and you are counting the days until you set sail, it is time to start thinking about packing for your trip! Packing for a sailing vacation is not quite the same as packing for a resort stay, so we do have some tips and suggestions for you to keep in mind. First things first, let’s start with the luggage itself: soft-sided bags is a must, duffel bags, backpacks etc. You are working with limited storage space on a boat, so it is best to have luggage that is more easily stored and moved around than giant wheeling suitcases.
Couple jumping from sailing boat
You will want all the usual items of clothing you would bring on a beach vacation. Swimsuits and cover ups will probably be what you spend most of your time in while in the water and on deck. It is always good to have t-shirts and hats to help protect you from the sun. Depending on the time of year, it is useful to have a windbreaker or light rain coat just in case. For shoes, street shoes and beach shoes are really the only must haves. If you are one who likes water shoes, those are handy too. To keep the boat nice and clean, you will probably want to go barefoot when on deck. If you do not like the barefoot idea, then bring along some non-slip shoes that will not leave marks on the boat. If you are someone who is very attached to their sunglasses, you should consider getting a strap to keep them in place.
There are some obvious items you will want to have on board, but probably so obvious that you may not think to pack them. Ziplock bags for electronics will rightfully be one of the most useful items packed. It is best to keep money and electronics stored in dry bags/ziplock bags to avoid any unfortunate accidents. Seasickness pills are also a staple, especially if one of your crew is known to have a rough time on the water. Do not forget the sunblock! This will most likely be a sun-filled vacation, and burns are never fun. Try to avoid using tanning oil on deck as it can stain the wood or fabric on the boat. Make sure to have a small beach bag to take ashore with you, along with a separate beach towel from the ones provided on the boat. Flashlights are also good to have on hand. If you are light sleeper, do not leave behind the earplugs or eyeshades.
Now that you have all the practical necessities in your bag, leave a little extra room to bring some fun things along for your charter. Firstly, make sure you bring some music. All boats have CD players which can tend to be more reliable than iPod hookups, so have both on hand if you can. Playing cards are also a great thing to have when lounging around on deck or at night. It is common for sailboats to fly a flag of where they come from, so if you have a country/state/school flag, bring it along! It is always a great conversation starter with the other sailboats.
While there are plenty of things to remember to pack, there are also plenty of things you can leave behind for your charter vacation. Any navigation tools or charts can be left behind, the charter company will provide these materials for you. Boats will also be equipped with cooking and eating utensils, so no need to worry about those. Boats will always have a first aid kid, though a rather basic one. Ladies, leave your fine jewelry and makeup at home. You will probably spend most of your time in and out of the water and lounging in the sun, so these things will just not be necessary.
A few other things to remember before your leave for your charter, be sure to bring your passports as well as photo-copies of them. Also, print out your base information to show to any taxi drivers, especially if traveling in a non-english speaking country. If you plan to fish during your charter, check to see if you need to obtain a fishing license first. Be sure to bring a copy of any sailing credentials if on a bareboat charter. For small children, we recommend bringing your own life vest for them that you know fits well and comfortably.
With these packing and pre-departure notes in mind, you should be in shape for a worry-free and enjoyable sailing vacation!