It sounds like a vacation dream: Ditching the office for the wide open spaces of the ocean, with little but the lapping of waves and the sound of seagulls as your constant companion. While it may sound like the stuff of dreams, sailing tourism has become more and more popular in the last few years, which means it’s become more available and more affordable than ever. We’re not talking a cruise – instead, chartering a yacht or sailboat for an excursion is the ultimate in low-key, private luxury. Decide whether or not a sailing holiday is perfect for you by considering your options and your itinerary.
Chartering a Yacht
There are a number of vacation companies that allow you to charter your own yacht, complete with a crew if necessary. If you’re looking for a smaller sailboat and you have sailing experience, you may be able to captain your own boat. However, because of insurance and liability concerns, most rented boats will come along with a small crew to care for the vessel while you officially enjoy the luxury of a boating holiday.
When you’re ready to rent a boat, check out a number of vacation rental companies in your area. Most will have a full menu of options, from a small sailboat to the most luxurious of yachts. Keep in mind that there may e restrictions on where the vessel can sail and how many are allowed to be on the boat at any one time. Luckily, because most boats have their own accommodations, food and lodging are often included in the price – make sure to ask before you book so you know what you’re paying for with your rental fee.
Of course, the most important decision isn’t which boat you’ll choose, but where you’ll take it. From touring the banks of the Mediterranean Sea or enjoying watersports in Turkey, a sailing vacation is limited only by water – and luckily, the Earth is 70 percent covered in H2O. If you’d rather enjoy your boating holiday closer to dry land, you can choose to sail any number of freshwater lakes and even rivers for an interesting way to see the sights of your favorite country.
Talk with a travel agent about your options for a sailing holiday. Larger vessels will be required for longer trips and larger bodies of water, so you may score a better deal when you choose a smaller yacht on a lake as opposed to a catamaran on the ocean.
Best Sailing Weather
Don’t forget to check the almanac before you hit the open water – weather is very important to sailing success. A rough patch is to be expected, especially when you’re sailing for a number of days. However, you’ll need to ensure that a rough patch doesn’t become a major squall or risk your safety – and ruining your vacation altogether.
A solid yacht rental company will be able to tell you the best times to sail. Of course, those times vary around the world, thanks to different weather. Usually, early summer is best for sailing, while you may want to avoid late summer and fall – common hurricane seasons.
When in doubt, make sure that the yacht rental company you choose has an iron-clad cancellation policy. That way, if you have to postpone your trip due to weather concerns, you can reschedule without incurring fees due to circumstances beyond your control.
Guide or No Guide
Some vacationers prefer the solitude that a quite, personal sailing vacation offers, while others prefer to work with a guide. Even if you have a crew on board, investing in an experienced guide can help you discover new place, solve on-board problems and get the most out of your sailing vacation. A guide will naturally know the best waters for smooth sailing and will be able to arrange for excursions, such as watersports and diving. A guide can also point out some of the best ways to view the sights, whether it’s seeing city architecture from the boat or knowing exactly where to spot whales. Still, it’s a decision left up to you and the kind of vacation you want while onboard.