Thinking about a sailing charter vacation? Congratulations! You’re well on your way to the vacation of a lifetime, and we’re here to help. Before you call a charter professional or book something blindly online, use our excellent page of charter references and resources to make sure you find the perfect boat and destination for you.
What Kind of Charter is Right for You?
A sailing charter can be anything from an exotic vacation in tropical islands, or a summer cruise around your home waters. To find out the best place for your trip, start asking yourself some questions.
Are you interested in a crewed or bareboat charter? A monohull, or a multihull? Will you be bringing the kids along, or is this an adults-only cruise? Are you looking for a low-key, romantic sailing experience? Or are you looking forward to sailing the open ocean in one of the world’s most gorgeous sailing destinations? Will you want to spend time off the boat playing with toys like kayaks, SUPs, and scuba gear? Or will you want to spend some nights on land?
If you’re taking time off of work or school for your vacation, a charter destination in the Caribbean or Bahamas is much closer by plane than a charter in the Mediterranean or Pacific Northwest. If you just want to spend some time on a boat, have you considered chartering the Chesapeake or the Great Lakes? If you have your heart set on a specific boat, look ahead to make sure it’s available during the time you want to be traveling.
Then, think about weather. Do you want to pack a bathing suit and nothing else? Or would you consider a charter that had you sailing in the morning, skiing in the afternoon?
Multiple factors will affect the amount of money you spend on your vacation, so decide where you want to be a high roller, and where you’ll be thrifty.
If you’re the happy owner of a 30-foot cruiser, you might not need an agent to offer you a 100-foot mega yacht that costs $50,000 per week. And while a captain or crewed charter may cost more, it might be worth it to have an experienced local captain on your boat while you explore uncharted waters. Typical crewed charters that are quoted as ‘plus all’ include the price of the yacht and crew only; all other expenses are additional, and in most places of the world an average of 35% of the charter fee is collected in advance to pay for expenses.
Charter prices are listed per week, not per boat, so invite friends with you to cut the price tag down significantly. Also keep in mind airfare, taxes, cruising fees, gas, water, and your provisions. Make sure to ask for full disclosure with your charter agent to ensure you budget accordingly, and ask if there are any affiliated travel agencies to handle any airfare or hotel requests.
Looking to save some money? Check out our list of tips by Charter Expert Eva Hill.
When you’re ready, speak with a charter professional. Even if you’re thinking of taking a flyer on a last-minute online deal, charter professionals can often help you find a better, more secure option that will make sure your Dream Vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
Check out our charter directory for trusted sources.