Chartering in Croatia: What To Pack
Packing, always a favourite part of a holiday, right? Well, maybe not quite. So, here is a short guide about what to pack when chartering a yacht in Croatia.
I was never good at packing. When I first went backpacking around Europe, the travel allowance was 32 kg, so you better believe I had 32 kg worth of luggage with me. I pictured all of the occasions that could arise while travelling and all of the different outfits I needed to match those occasions. Needless to say, I didn’t wear even half of what I lugged around and every extra item became a burden I needed to think about and quite literally, weighed me down.
Now, a week holiday on a yacht is quite different to backpacking around Europe for 3 – 4 months; however, you would be surprised by just how much luggage people bring onboard.
I worked as a hostess on island-hopping tours, then luxury yacht charters for five years and I always saw the same mistakes, time again (I wish I had taken some photos of some of the extraordinary amounts of luggage some groups brought on-board). They say, when you are going on holiday – pack what you think you need, then halve it. After years of travelling, I would say this is a fairly accurate description.
This guide isn’t for those who are travelling for periods of time before or after their tour, because I am aware this is what a lot of people do. This is for those who are simply coming to Croatia for a week or more and will be spending the majority of their time on a boat.
Starting with the Luggage.
There is a superstition which says suitcases bring bad luck to sailors, so, soft bags or duffel bags are preferable. It also depends on the type of yacht you have booked, some luxury yachts – for example, gulets and the likes, have spacious cabins and storage. However, on a smaller sailing yacht or catamaran, storage can be limited – so be sure of everything you pack because you will be dealing with it for a week.
You will no doubt have your important documents like ID and passport if you have travelled to be here, but also consider:
- Sailing Certificate and VHF license if you are skippering yourself
- Driving license in case you intend on hiring a car while here, or even a scooter
- Boating license – if you may want to use/rent a jet-ski
- Travel insurance (always a good option)
- Cards and Cash
- Check your international costs abroad and minimise using ATMs if possible
- Carry enough cash for daily outings, excursions, supplies – most vendors in Croatia accept card, but cash is always easier
- Check your daily limit – especially if you have extra boat costs and tips to pay at the end of the charter, make sure you have enough cash
Like I said, when I went travelling – I pictured myself in a variety of outfits in different destinations and the truth is, I basically wore the same thing everywhere I went. This is exactly how it works on a boat. I always laughed when I saw people coming aboard with their oversized Samsonite luggage – wondering a) where did they think that would fit on a yacht and b) what on earth was in that thing.
Trust me when I say, you will only wear half of what you think you will. First, you should know, that the Adriatic Coast is very Mediterranean in style, while smart-casual dress may be needed in a fine dining restaurant, everywhere else is fairly relaxed.
- Swimwear and bathers – this is one of the few items where I will say, bring a few changes, because this is what you will live in. Sarongs and wraps are also an item you will use a lot.
- Light, cotton clothes – particularly if you are coming in July and August.
- A couple of t-shirts and shorts
- For the ladies: A dress or two, still keep it light and casual, but create a wardrobe that you can mix and match. Summer or maxi dresses are perfect, you will feel dressed for the occasion if you want to go out at night, but not over-dressed.
- For the gents: a nice t-shirt or short-sleeved shirt and chinos or something similar
- One, windproof/waterproof jacket, particularly earlier in the season and at the end of the season as the weather can be changeable and nights get cooler.
- One pair of trousers – more for out of peak-season in May/June and September/October
- Sunglasses, hats etc. (and ladies, a floppy hat always works on a boat – it folds easily and looks fab!)
- Non-slip pair for boat use (on gulets and luxury yachts you will mostly be barefoot)
- Sandals and/or trainers for trips ashore (bring trainers if you plan on doing any hiking or biking)
- Water shoes are a good idea, as the Croatian Coast is for the most part – rocks and pebbles
- Underwear goes without saying – either bring enough for the week, or the majority of destinations have laundry facilities.
- Gloves for sailing (if you are skippering your own yacht)
- Towels – check with your agent or inventory list, whether bath and beach towels are provided
The Essentials & Accessories
- Personal medications: there will be a basic first-aid kit aboard, but be sure to bring any special medications, also motion-sickness tablets or bracelets are a good idea.
- Toiletries: Bring travel-sized – shampoos, soap, toothpaste etc.
- Moisturiser and lip balm with SPF protection as it can be long days in the sun. Aloe Vera gel is also very handy to have if you do get a little too sun-kissed
- Sunscreen – a lot of boats will provide, so check with your agent or inventory list. If they do not, speak with your group, 8 – 12 different people do not all need to bring sunscreen.
- Phones, cameras, chargers and adapters
- Waterproof bag – if you plan on adventuring on kayaks etc.
- Small backpack or handbag for onshore adventures.
- If you have small children, pack floaties or a child’s lifejacket as not all boats will have small sizes.
The Games and Entertainment
There will be downtime on a boat, so bringing books and games is worth it, especially if you are travelling with children
- Ipod – you will want some sweet tunes while you are cruising the Adriatic. Most yachts have a music system, otherwise, you may want to bring a mini travel-speaker
- Bananagrams – a game similar to Scrabble that was an absolute hit among adults and families when I worked on a yacht, plus it is compact! (Other board games are too bulky)
- Colouring Books with pencils or crayons for children
Do NOT Pack
- A hairdryer or hair straighteners – trust me, you will be having too much fun in the sea and exploring to want to spend time in your cabin blow drying your hair, not to mention it is the last thing you will feel like doing in 30-plus degrees!
- High heels – completely unnecessary, it is a very relaxed atmosphere along the coast, a nice pair of sandals will more than suffice
- Expensive jewellery or belongings, there is a very high chance they could get lost, damaged or go overboard
- Towels or linen – most yachts come with both, so just check your inventory lists
- Water toys, snorkel equipment etc. Chances are the boat will have plenty on-board and if they don’t, there are kiosks everywhere along the coast where you will be able to buy some.
Are you packed yet?
Ok, this still sounds like a lot of stuff, but these are the essentials; anything else is superfluous – remember, you are coming sailing, the idea is to break away from life and the things that can weigh us down and get back to nature and basics. I guarantee you will spend 80% of your time in your bathers and the other 20% not caring what you look like because you are too busy soaking in the gorgeous surroundings of the Adriatic coast and islands.
Happy packing, we mean – sailing!