How to Get Ready for a Sailing Tour

So you’re going on a sailing tour? How exciting! There’s nothing better than exploring a new place from the vantage point of the sea.

If it’s your first time setting sail on holiday, you’re likely to have a lot of questions: What to expect, how to pack. What you’ll very definitely need and what’s better left at home. How will your days be structured and what activities you might do. A sailing vacation is certainly different than one taken solely on land, and requires a different level of preparation.

We’ve gathered up our thoughts to help you best ready yourself for a taste of life at sea. Remember to travel light and enjoy your time. It’s going to be amazing with the proper planning.

Pack Your Bags

What kind of bag is appropriate for a sailing vacation? A soft-sided duffel is best, and a small one at that. Boats do not have very much storage space, and you’ll mostly be wearing bathing suits. Remember, less is more!

Definitely bring:

  • Clothing—bring several swimsuits, tee shirts, shorts and enough underwear. Depending on the itinerary, you might want to include one nicer outfit if you are going ashore for an evening. A jacket and/or sweater are recommended for windier moments on board.
  • Sandals and rubber soled boat shoes—boat decks can be slippery!
  • Towels—one for the beach and one for showering. 
  • Water resistant dry bag—for keeping your phone, wallet and other valuables safe from wetness.
  • Sunglasses, a strap to keep them attached and a hat—a=out at sea, you’ll need to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s glare.
  • Sun protection—lotions are best as sprays make the deck slick. Opt for 50 SPF or higher as the sun’s rays are very strong reflecting off the water. (Editor’s note – Lexli Sunscreen Spray is the best we have found for ocean visits)
  • Medications and first aid items—remember your prescriptions as well as pain relievers and seasick medicine if you think you might suffer from it on board. Bandages, bug spray, anti-bacterial and anti-itch cream are a good idea as well.
  • Entertainment—bring a book or two and a game and download some podcasts or movies for free time fun.
  • Toiletries—bring travel sized everything, as you won’t have much room to store these necessities.
  • Passport and money—mais oui

Definitely don’t bring:

  • Jewelry—Hard metals can damage the boat and can also garner unwanted attention in certain ports, so it’s best to leave your precious pieces at home.
  • Hard sided suitcases or rolling luggage—there’s no storage on board for these items. Pack in a soft duffel bag instead.
  • Flat or curling irons—these use too much power and are unnecessary when you consider you’ll be in and out of the water often. Combine all that with the humidity factor at most sailing destinations and you’ll realize hair ties and natural hairstyles are the way to go on sailing trips.  

What to Expect Once You’re On Board

You’ll most likely be assigned a room for sleeping, and you might be surprised when you see how small it is. But never fear—much your days will be spent on deck and at ports of call enjoying the scenery. (Sometimes, you can even spend nights on deck, sleeping under the stars. Try it, you’ll like it!) Store your gear here and go join the group.

Determine what responsibilities you’ll have on board and what is left to others—the captain, crew, or simply your friends. Figuring out upfront what you need to do, whether that’s preparing food or helping navigate, will help avoid any misunderstandings later. Then, pitch in where ever you are needed.

Most days, you’ll probably spend part of your time sailing and part of it sightseeing on land. Find out the itinerary for your trip upfront and then plan accordingly. Doing a little research on your stops will help you determine the most interesting sights and activities there. Plot out what you’ll do and have fun with it.

Make sure you also take the time to get in the ocean. Most sailing trips give you the opportunity to snorkel, scuba dive, paddleboard, kayak, or simply swim around. Get off deck and in the water. How many chances do you get to experience this? 

In addition, you’ll probably have the opportunity to experience new foods and cultures on your trip. Be open and friendly. Try new things and see what you like best!

Plan for the Unexpected

If you find yourself experiencing a bout of seasickness, don’t go below into your cabin. Instead, sit down on deck, take deep breaths, and stare at the horizon. Eat something—an empty stomach will make things worse—and take an over-the-counter medication.

Drink plenty of fluids. You’ll need more water than you think to stay hydrated. The sun is strong at sea! 

Got a sunburn, rashes, bug bites, headache? Dig into that first aid kit you so smartly packed and take the appropriate measures. You’ll be back to enjoying the fabulous ocean views in no time.

Be Like the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scout motto is always be prepared, and the same holds true for a sailing holiday. Pack well, avoid common problems such as too much sun and dehydration, and know where you’ll be docking and what you’ll be doing there so you bring the right provisions. Then, sit back and have the time of your life—there’s nothing like a vacation at sea!

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