10 things you need for a sailing holiday

Boating holidays are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a fantastic way to explore the world and relax while doing so. What could be more enjoyable than sailing leisurely from port to port, exploring little beaches and coastal islands as you go? It’s no wonder that sailing trips have become so popular when they offer travelers so much exploration potential.

The fantastic thing about sailing trips is that there are various options to choose from, you could opt to charter a yacht complete with a crew, or you could rent a boat and learn the ropes so that you are eventually able to sail alone. You see, if you want to charter a yacht in France, Spain, or Australia even, you need to have the correct license and training. You could opt to attend sailing classes before your trip, or you could learn as you travel — how you choose to learn to sail is up to you. Just remember that if you can’t sail before you trip, you will need to have a qualified sailor on board at all times.

When it comes to packing for a sailing holiday, what it’s important to bear in mind is the fact that space is a premium aboard most boats, so don’t go crazy with your packing. A sailing trip is not the time to pack your entire wardrobe — you should only pack the things that you actually need, however hard that may be. Don’t overpack because you will regret it when you end up with limited space while sailing.

To help you work out what you will need when it comes to preparing to sail off into the sunset for the trip of a lifetime, below is a list of essentials that you don’t want to forget. Stick to this list, and you can ensure that you don’t accidentally over pack or forget any essentials.

1. Sail Boat

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning as when it comes to chartering a sailing boat, there are a lot of things to consider. If you are going to enjoy your trip, selecting the right boat is crucial.

When it comes to selecting the perfect boat rental, what you want to do is consider where you want to go. Say, for example, you want to visit Barcelona in Spain, it could be worth looking for yacht charter in Barcelona. Or, say you want to sail around the Balearic Islands, you could look for boat rentals in Ibiza or Mallorca. When choosing a boat to rent, make sure to take your destination into account.

Obviously, where you charter your boat from will depend on a range of factors. These include where you want to sail to and from, what the cost of boat rental is, how many people you are traveling with, and what help you will need, such as the assistance of a crew or a sailing teacher, for instance. Different boat and yacht hire companies offer different things.

2. Sun protection

One of the most important things to think about when it comes to packing for a sailing trip is your skin and keeping yourself safe in the sun. The fact is that when you are out on the water, you can burn twice as fast as on land as the sea reflects the sun’s UV rays, making them stronger. The last thing you want is to ruin your vacation by burning yourself or ending up with heatstroke or sunstroke, so taking care in the sun is of the utmost importance.

To take care of yourself in the sun, packing high factor, water resistant sunscreen is a must. Ideally, you want waterproof sunscreen, but that isn’t always available, so water resistant sunscreen will have to do. Ideally, you want to pick a sunscreen that is factor 30 or above, to ensure that your skin is properly protected. As well as packing sunscreen, it’s also a good idea to pack a lip balm with SPF protection to keep your lips safe from the sun as well as to prevent chapping — you see, the salty sea air can cause sore, chapped lips. A hat is also a must-have, to help protect your head and face from the heat. If you plan on wearing swimwear most of the time, packing a cover up to pop over the top and protect yourself from the sun is a good idea.

Dehydration can be a real issue when the weather is really hot, so it’s important to pack a large water bottle that you can fill up at the start of the day and use to stay well hydrated. If you are someone who forgets to drink enough, get a bottle that has different times marked on it to use to show you how much water you should have drunk by each part of the day. Ideally, you want to be aiming to drink at least two litres of water a day, but in hot weather drinking more than this is advisable.

3. Toiletries

The salty sea air can wreak havoc on your hair and skin, which is why packing all the right toiletries is a must. After a busy day of sailing, swimming or snorkeling, a hot shower is the perfect way to relax before dinner, so don’t forget to pack your favourite wash stuff.

To prevent your skin from drying out and becoming cracked and sore, packing a heavy duty moisturiser is crucial, as is packing a gentle exfoliating scrub to help remove any dead or dry skin cells. Regarding the soap and shampoo that you pack, opt for bars instead of liquid soap and shampoo because these take up less space and are more eco-friendly too. Just think, whatever you wash down the sink will go straight into the sea, so making environmentally-friendly choices is a must. Don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste — if you can pack mini toothpaste and other toiletries to save space.

4. Motion sickness treatment

If you have chartered a yacht before and never got seasick, then there’s no need to worry about motion sickness treatment. However, if you’re not sure if you get seasick or you usually get travel sick in cars or on planes, then it could be worth packing seasickness treatment just in case. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of the sea feeling rough with no medicine on hand to make you feel better. So if in doubt, it’s worth packing some seasickness pills, just in case.

You can pick up some seasickness pills from your local pharmacy, just make sure to pick ones that are non-drowsy. Or, if you are not keen on pills, why not invest in motion sickness wristbands and wear them throughout your trip? These are meant to offer highly effective motion sickness relief. They’re so effective for preventing nausea that many pregnant women use them, so they must be good.

5. Clothing

When it comes to packing clothing for the trip, what you don’t want to do is overdo it. For a sailing trip, you only need a few casual outfits. What you want to pack is clothing that’s comfortable, suitable for sailing, and isn’t too heavy. Short and T-shirts, leggings and tops, dresses, etc. are all ideal for packing for a sailing trip. You don’t need to pack anything too fancy, even if you are going as part of a group, as sailing tends to be a relaxed affair. Just pack items that are cool and comfortable, and ideally, that dry quickly should they get wet.

As well as regular clothing, it’s also worth packing a waterproof sailing jacket, for if the weather takes a turn for the worse. To save space, opt to pack a waterproof jacket that folds down into a tiny bag and can be easily packed into your suitcase. Don’t forget to pack only non-slip shoes as boats can become slippery when wet, so non-slip shoes are a must. A hack for making sure your shoes are anti-slip is to use a hot glue gun to add lines or dots to the soles of any shoes — this works a treat at preventing slips and falls.

6. Swimwear

Part of the fun of sailing is making the most of the sea or the lake that you are sailing on, so packing swimwear is vital. If you plan on swimming every day or most days, make sure to pack more than one set of swimwear, so that you don’t have to wear wet stuff.

As well as packing your swimming costume, make sure to pack a couple of towels and anything for in the water, such as snorkeling stuff or a rubber ring to float about in. A word to the wise, if you are going to use inflatables out at sea or even in a harbour, it may be best to take a piece of rope to, to attach your inflatable to the boat that you’ve rented to prevent yourself from drifting out to sea. This might sound silly, but undercurrents exist and can easily carry an inflatable off.

7. Portable chargers

While most sailboat rentals come with electricity, just in case yours doesn’t, it’s worth packing portable chargers for anything electronic. Whether that’s your smartphone, tablet, or camera, packing a portable charger is a must.

This can either be a battery operated charger or a solar powered one — if you are heading off to a hot country, using a solar powered charger is most probably the better option. A solar powered charger may cost more to buy, but it’s the more cost-effective option in the long-run.

8. Food and drink

If you opt to rent a luxury yacht or book a sailing holiday through a company, you may not be required to provide your own food. The company may provide a chef or food for you. However, if this isn’t the case, you will need to pack your own food or plan stops each day at towns or cities where you can get off to eat.

It’s a good idea to determine what cooking facilities the boat that you have hired has on it so that you know what types of meals you will be able to cook. Some of the most luxurious boats have wonderful cooking areas on them; some even have outdoor BBQing facilities. So it’s worth contacting the company that you are renting a boat from to find out what facilities you will have access to.

9. Activities

In case you get bored while you are aboard the yacht that you have chartered, it’s a good idea to pack some activities to keep you and your travel buddies occupied. Things like cards, board games, adult colouring, books, magazines — basically anything that will keep you occupied, are ideal.

While you are sure to enjoy sailing, the chances are that at one time or another you will get bored and will want something else to keep your occupied. That is why remembering to pack some activities to keep yourself and your travel buddies occupied is so important. Obviously, if you forget to pack anything, you can always pick some bits up when you make port in a town or city while exploring the area.

10. Ziploc bags

To ensure that your belongings, from your wallet to your smartphone, are kept safe while you are at sea, make sure to pack ziplock bags. That way should anything fall overboard or get wet for one reason or another, such as due to a big wave, it will be protected.

As extra protection, it’s worth insuring anything that you are taking with you, to ensure that should you lose anything at sea, you will be reimbursed for it by your insurance company. If you already have home insurance in place, you may be able to add cover to it for taking goods outside of the home.

There you have it, a guide to the ten things that you will need to pack for your sailing holiday aboard a yacht that you have chartered.