As summer is quickly approaching — and as I’m pressuring friends into joining me another week at sea — it’s time to break down my The Yacht Week
survival kit packing guide. Girls, you’re gonna need this for reference. Heck… I’m gonna need this for reference.
A super Instagram-able floatie: Duh. Have you ever seen a picture from The Yacht Week that didn’t involve an inflatable pizza or flamingo? I didn’t think so. (Bonus: A huge floatie to fit your whole crew. It cost more to fly with this “checked bag” than the actual float cost, but being able to chill as a group with room for an ice chest full of drink refills, so worth it.)
Country Pride: This is huge at The Yacht Week so bringing a flag to hang on the boat is a must. Throw in some flag shorts, bandanas, coozies, sunglasses, swimsuits, etc. If you can print a flag on it, you should bring it.
Boat Decor: Think battery-powered and waterproof, so disco balls, lights, streamers, more flags, etc. Coming home drunk and trying to find your boat in a lineup of 30 boats becomes way easier when you’re the only boat with flashing lights hanging from the overhang. That is, if you remember to turn them on before heading out.
Custom Crew Memorabilia: Tank tops, another flag — seriously, you can never have enough flags — we even had a custom stamp made with our boat’s name on it so we could leave our mark on everyone who passed by.
Group Costume: The last day is a regatta where group costumes are more important than the actual boat speed. The more original and unique costume and the higher energy your group has, the better chances of winning.
Extra Party Swag: A few extra props never hurt nobody. Unless, of course, you’re out of room in your suitcase. Water guns, neon sunglasses, inflatable beer pong tables, glow sticks and body paint will all come in handy throughout the week.
Swimsuits: I know what you’re thinking. 7 days on a boat means you’ll need at least 7, maybe 9, bikinis, but, trust me, this is far from true. Most days you’re sailing, and once you reach the marina, the last thing you’ll want to do is get in that dirty water. Instead, use the extra space for cute outfits to walk around and explore in. I probably only used 3 – 4 of the swimsuits I brought. 2 for the different big raft parties, and another 2 to rotate between tanning and swimming.
Shoes: I read every blog I could before this trip, and every single one recommended bringing boat shoes, so, naturally, I searched high and low for a pair and ultimately borrowed a friend’s pair to take — Thanks, Reb! But as useful as boat shoes might seem on a boat, I never actually wore them. Comfy sandals and a pair of sneakers should be on your list, though. Stick with cute sandals for at night, since most party venues are outside, and old stone paths won’t mix well with heels.
Clothes: Read through your The Yacht Week itinerary to prepare for any parties that require themed attire. Athletic wear came in handy for during the day when it wasn’t warm enough to be tanning as we sailed to the next destination and also at night for when we got back to the boat after parties and continued hanging out. A lightweight sweater for colder nights should also be included on your packing list, along with a beach coverup for during the day. With minimal space for luggage, bring outfits that can be interchangeable to save space while packing.
Avoid Denim: You’re on a boat, and sometimes things get wet, so you don’t want to be waiting around on your denim pants/shorts to dry. Stick with light weight and cotton materials that will dry faster and keep you cool.
Odds & Ends: A good pair of polarized sunglasses are recommended to protect against the sun’s glare reflecting off the water and some super trendy sunglasses straps to save them from slipping off your nose onto the bottom of the ocean. A hat to shade from the sun, a refillable water bottle, and a beach towel — which can be purchased in the marina to save baggage space — are also handy items to have.
Duffle Bag: A small boat and lots of hard suitcases don’t go well together. A duffle bag or collapsible suitcase is highly recommended. Don’t make the same mistake as I did because my suitcase didn’t even fit through the bedroom doorway.
Beauty and Health:
Makeup: Waterproof mascara. Obviously!
Small mirror: Yes, there are mirrors on the boat, but it gets so hot in there that I could barely stand it long enough to change my underwear, let alone apply a full face of makeup before I sweat it off. A small portable mirror will be convenient for applying makeup on the deck with an ocean breeze to cool you off. (Side note: Some boats have AC. I was uninformed about how highly to prioritize that while choosing a boat, though.)
Showers: I wish someone had explained to me that there are showers at The Yacht Week, but they are public showers in the marinas. Gross. Take shower shoes and a small bag to carry your toiletries/clothes in to the shower. Towels are provided on the boat, but investing in a bigger towel might be worth it — I’m not sure who they actually expected to be able to dry off with the napkin-sized towel they gave us. Bringing a pack of wipes will also be useful for a refresher during the days spent completely at sea.
Sunscreen: Lots of it, and for your lips. Can’t be having cracked burnt lips when that foreign cutie goes in for a kiss. Know what I’m saying? And if you forgot to apply — and reapply — bring a bottle of aloe vera for after sun care. Ouch!
Medicines: Advil is completely necessary, even though I’m convinced that hangovers are non-existent while sailing the Adriatic, and if seasickness is a thing for you, look into motion sickness medicines or patches. Clorox wipes aren’t a medicine, but I always keep some in my bag while traveling, and they were perfect for wiping down tables after a hungry crew devoured whatever Savannah and I made for breakfast and dinner.
Travel Insurance: Get it. I, thankfully, didn’t need it, but alcohol and slippery boat decks could have ended badly, and I couldn’t imagine having to pay for a foreign medical bill. I luckily made it out of The Yacht Week with nothing more than a few hundred bruises that I’m still trying to figure out where exactly they came from. Allianz has an affordable plan that’s good for a whole year, so you’ll have protection for any other daring adventures you embark on in the near future. Plus, certain plans will reimburse you for any flight or baggage delays too!
Outlets: I can’t speak much on the outlets inside of the bedrooms, but in the kitchen where my bed was, there wasn’t a standard wall plug. A car charger or USB plug were available, though. It seemed everyone was always charging here, so either the plugs in the bedrooms were non-existent or they didn’t work, so a car charger with multiple USB outlets would be the most efficient.
Waterproof: Things happen, and if you’re someone who takes pictures of everything, then highly consider a lifeproof case for this trip. You’re near water all week long, and you can’t predict when or prevent water from destroying your phone or camera — which reminds me. Don’t forget to charge the GoPro, and don’t forget to bring an extra battery. I’m still crying that I only have footage from the first day.
Music: Don’t show up disappointed when your boat isn’t equipped with an aux port but, instead, a CD player. Prepare a few mixed tapes beforehand, so you’ll never miss a beat.
Extra, and still very important:
Cash: Always cash. Many places on the islands won’t accept cards, so cash is important. There are ATMs all over, but I paid $20 per withdrawl when I needed extra, so exchanging currency through your bank back home prior to arriving would be more cost-effective.
Valuables: Leave them at home. People are constantly passing through your boat, and you don’t want to risk damaged or stolen valuables putting a damper on the rest of the trip.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “This is such a long list, Tara, and you’re expecting me to get this all in a duffle bag?” Honestly, I haven’t tried yet, so I’ll get back to you all at the end of summer, but spending another week like this, is worth at least trying… And if all else fails, I’ll just shop when I get there. Bon Voyage!