Sailing trips and holidays have become mainstream. Although still perceived as a preserve of the elite, and a symbol of luxury and exclusiveness, the fact is that more and more charter agents depend on the middle class to keep their business afloat.
On the other hand, while there is no doubt that sailing trips have become considerably more affordable over the years, they can still leave a hole in your pocket if you are not careful in your planning.
Knowing how to save money on your sailing trip means that you can comfortably stay within your budget even as you enjoy an unforgettable holiday.
Let’s, then, find out some of the helpful tips and tricks that, if followed wisely, can save you a fair sum.
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When it comes to the yacht chartering business, it pays rich dividends in being the early bird. Yacht charter companies operate in a volatile business where a lot of unexpected future events can upset their plans.
This means that they go the extra mile to make sure they get as many charters booked as soon as possible.
In other words, as a customer, you can look forward to some really attractive discounts, as well as some other freebies, on their normal charter rates.
As a bonus, you will also get the chance to choose among the newest, roomiest and fanciest of yachts.
This may sound counterintuitive, given that we just suggested the advantages of being the early bird, to book your charter really late in the day.
As you will see, booking late makes sound financial sense when it comes to chartering a yacht. As mentioned above, charter agents love the certainty of having their boats booked well before the season starts, which is understandable.
However, not all yachts are booked all the time, and some of the early bookings are also canceled at the last moment.
In other words, yacht charter agents are always coming out with some improbably deep discounts to make sure their remaining yachts are not idling at the marinas.
Be aware that such last minute deals mean that you will have only a short amount of time to plan your trip, and you may only have a limited selection of boats to choose from.
If you can negotiate with these little challenges then there is no reason why you shouldn’t make the most of the last-minute charter deals.
Having your sailing holiday planned in an off-season may sound like a wacky, not a good idea at first, but it has its merits.
Just like any other business, the prices in charters industry are a factor of the total demand which peaks during the sailing season.
If you blindly follow the crowd and book your trip in the middle of the peak season, then you should be prepared to shell out top dollars for the charter as well other ancillary expenses.
But, if you play it smart, you can book your trip at the periphery of the sailing season, just before the season starts or soon after it concludes.
The weather and sea conditions are by and large pleasant for sailing. The places and marinas will be a lot less crowded and some of the businesses might be closed, but that only adds to the charm.
Take into consideration this is the time when you can avail some substantial discounts and freebies like extra nights on your charter.
First to Third Tier Charter Companies
Not all yacht chartering companies are created equal, and there exists a clear hierarchy in the industry. At the very top are large chartering companies with a huge fleet of fancy yachts. These companies offer a tremendous range of new boats to their clients and command a hefty premium.
At the second tier, there are mid-size charter companies who have a mix of new and old boats. While their newer boats are chartered at a price comparable to the first tier companies, they do offer cheaper rates on their older boats.
However, for the bargain hunters, it is the third tier where the real potential for savings exists. Third tier charter agents are small operators who own a small fleet of mostly older boats.
While there is a real scope for substantial savings when you charter a boat through them, it is important to carry out your own diligence check before signing the dotted lines.
Make sure that you research about their operating histories and reviews from past customers so as to eliminate the possibility of unpleasant surprises in the middle of your vacation.
Prepare Meals in Advance
When it comes to saving money on a sailing trip, most of us tend to fixate on charter prices. While booking a yacht certainly makes for a substantial chunk of the total budget, the little expenses on ancillary items are where you can make a great deal of savings.
For example, eating and drinking the way locals do works out much cheaper than restaurant meals. In fact, if it is possible, you can prepare your meals, freeze it, and carry the same with you during your trip.
You can also bring frozen meats which work out cheaper than procuring them locally.
Similarly, follow the same policy when it comes to your drinks. Carry as much alcohol with you as is legally permitted. Drinking the local brew or tipple instead of wines at restaurants and pubs is a cheaper option.
These little savings over the length of your trip add up, and, will probably help you save more than your charter discounts.
Anchor Outside of the Marina
Docking at marinas costs money. Marinas at popular spots are crowded owing to the steady stream of visiting boats, which consequently makes them particularly expensive in terms of docking fees.
Since docking fees are something you cannot get away from, you should ask your charter agents about their deals with marinas in the region where you can get discounts.
You should also ask them about cheaper, and less crowded alternatives to popular marinas nearby so that you can dock there instead, and save a decent sum of cash over the course of your sailing holiday.
As you can see, while sailing has become affordable over the years, there are still many different ways to further save money on your holiday. The key is to be flexible, plan meticulously, and doing your research diligently. Knowing how to save money means that a sailing holiday will no longer be a once in a lifetime event, but something you can look forward to every year.
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