Preparation for a trip and putting together a sailing week packing list is a fun activity filled experience with excitement and anticipation. Yet, my idea of excitement is to plan everything to the T and spreadsheet the hell out of anything. Here it is, my guide on how to prepare for your first sailing trip (and a spreadsheet, if you love them too).
A sailing trip is not an all-inclusive holiday – there will be meals, taxis, and activities that will require payment there and then. Moreover, the deposit for the boat and any damage will be split and charged to the guests.
Have an accessible amount saved up
For this matter make sure you have a disposable amount saved up (ask your trip organizer for an approximate estimate). For me it was around £250; add another £200 for water sports and if you plan on doing any shopping – extra amount for that).
International bank charges
Familiarize yourself with international charges your bank imposes on foreign transactions. If you are in the UK, I recommend opening up a sailing week (it’s as easy as setting up a PayPal account) – it’s a mobile first bank with a contactless card that has no international charges, no need to notify them you will be traveling abroad and instant notifications to your phone on your spending.
Note: I also had to use my PayPal account once as Vodafone Italy didn’t accept either of my UK debit cards (including Monzo) to top up my phone online.
Bank contact details
Have an access to your bank account’s emergency numbers. Sometimes banks might try to block an international transaction – have the number to call and all the details/passwords you need at hand. Take a photo of your debit cards and email them to yourself.
Splitting the bill
There will be occasions when somebody will pay for an entire lunch bill. How do you split that? We have used SplitWise for this purposes – an app that allows you to seamlessly split bills amongst members of a group.
Cash is absolutely necessary to have as you will be taking taxis, ordering in cafes and simply getting some water to hydrate when exploring on the land. For that purpose – exchange your currency for Euros (an equivalent of 100-150 euros should be sufficient).
Travel Insurance and Sim Card
When you choose to go on trips that take you off the beaten path, the rewards are immense. Yet, you have to be aware that you are one of the trailblazers and taking necessary precautions is part of being a badass adventure traveler. If you haven’t made a habit of getting a travel insurance to cover your trips yet, this is a good time to do so.
Sim-card and internet
There will be no Wi-Fi on the boat, and most likely you won’t have working roaming. The best solution is to get a local Vodafone Sim card at the airport. Make sure you get the number/link to top-up when you run-out of credit. Take the photo of your new phone pin and email details yourself (you can access the details from somebody else’s phone connected to the internet).
You will get enough data to post an occasional Instagram picture and talk to folks on WhatsApp. It won’t, however, cover you enough to catch up on the GOT’s latest episode or download songs from Spotify (hence get your Spotify playlist ready to play offline). Be prepared for a digital detox. If you have to work – pinpoint some cafe’s on the land with wifi in advance.
Sailing week packing list
The main thing to remember is that you won’t have much space on the boat to store and nicely fold your clothes. There will be no ironing board and no washing machines. You will most likely be notified by the captain that you are only allowed a soft duffel bag.
Clothing and shoes
Instead of telling you that you need two white shirts and a pair of chinos, here’s a general guidance on sailing week packing list for the trip:
- Check what the weather will be like. This will affect whether you can get away with mostly long or short sleeved items.
- Check and itinerary and see what kind of scenarios you will encounter. Normally it would be: a white party, smart casual, sporty, beachwear, casual, festival. Have outfits ready for each of those scenarios. Same applies to the shoes. Throw in an extra pair of flip flops as you are very likely to break or lose a pair.
- Extra towel to use as a beach towel.
- A sunhat and sunglasses
- Leave accessories (jewelry, watches) at home unless you don’t mind losing/breaking them
- Go for breathable, easy to dry fabrics – it might be very hot and humid to wear synthetics.
- A smaller bag to take on city exploration trips/evening.
- European Adapter
- Extra batteries and SD cards for the camera
- USB Charging dock
- Waterproof phone pouch
- Headphones (even though I haven’t used mine outside the airport once)
- SPF Lip balm
- Travel size shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste (you can get them from duty-free)
- Makeup for ladies (if you wish), shaving kits for men (if you wish)
- Eye mask and ear plugs
- Nail file, tweezers, and scissors
- Wet wipes
- Floaties (they are well worth bringing)
- Costumes (check your itinerary – you will normally have a fancy dress event)
- A country flag
You hopefully won’t need them, but they don’t take much space and you can also get all that in the airport pharmacy.
- Waterproof plasters
- Motion sickness medicine
- Throat medicine
- Rehydration salts
Finally, take the right mind state with you – don’t let the sailing week packing list and sorting out logistics make it any less fun for you. You are about to take on a great, fun journey and think of it as just preparing inventory for your utility belt (fellow Fallout fans will understand the reference). Ahoy Sailor! Fair winds and following seas to you!
I am inviting fellow sailors to add any comments or suggestions that can help others prepare for the first sailing trip so feel free to write comments!