Last Minute Sailing Holidays – Tips to Save Time & Money!

Are you ready for it? Did you hear the news? Sailing holidays have become mainstream.

No longer the preserve of the moneyed elite, more and more people are opting for an adventurous sailing holiday to experience the thrill and luxurious solitude that is only possible out on the sea.

Besides the usual and considerable appeal of yachting, such as the sun, sea, and exclusiveness, you also get the opportunity to see and do more, even on last-minute sailing holidays.

New to Sailing Holidays?

However, if you are new to sailing holidays, then you will have valid concerns about a lot of little details about chartering a boat.

When do I book the boat in order to get the best possible deals? Is my budget enough to afford a hassle-free sailing holiday?

What are my options if I want to sail all by myself or with my partner? How do we avail the services of a skipper, and how much would it cost?

These are all legitimate queries, and you must fully inform yourself before firming up the sailing holiday plan.

In this article, I have addressed exactly those questions and concerns so that you can go about planning your exciting sailing holiday with full confidence.

Boats in the marina

When Would You Get the Best Deals?

As a rule of thumb, you are likely to get the best deals and discounts when booking the boat early. The boat chartering business is fraught with risks and uncertainties, and, therefore, owners prefer to have them booked early.

In other words, you can look forward to some substantial discounts – as much as 10 to 20 percent – on the regular sailing charges when you book months in advance.

However, there are always some unforeseen circumstances that do not allow many of us to book the boat well in advance.

It is Not Too Late!

What are your options when you and your group of family and friends have firmed up a sailing holiday plan really late in the day?

Thankfully, you do not have to necessarily pay through your nose in cases of last-minute sailing charters.

As a result of last-minute cancellations, there are a lot of yacht charter companies with free boats that can be booked days before you go on your sailing holiday.

Such last-minute deals are routinely advertised by charter operators on their websites and newsletters.

Keep a close eye on their websites, and it is more than likely that you would not only get a charter deal well within your budget but also avail attractive discounts, free days and waiver of certain fees.

Boat on the water in Sardina

3 Good Reasons to Book Early

As mentioned above, it is possible to get some steal of a deal even when you charter the yacht at the last minute.

Why, then, should you bother about booking it months in advance? Besides the obvious reason of significant monetary savings, there are other equally important non-monetary benefits of an early charter.

1)  You should remember that a sailing holiday is highly flexible and allows you to plan the itinerary to the last detail.

The importance of careful planning is especially important when you are sailing as part of a group, as everyone will have inputs of their own.

In other words, you will need a lot of time to plan the trip. Booking your boat early allows you the luxury and excitement of such detailed planning.

2 ) Booking early gives you the chance to charter a boat that is perfect for your needs and requirements. You can choose from the newer yachts with roomier cabins and spacious decks from the most reputed yacht operators for the same amount of money.

3) Not all charter companies help you with provisioning. If you are going on your first sailing holiday, then you would want enough time to research and procure things you would need to carry on the boat.

Boat on the water

How to Sail on a Small Budget?

As mentioned before, the perceived high cost of sailing holidays is what deters a lot of people from even considering chartering a yacht.

Now that you already know when to get the best deals on yachts, what are some other additional tips that can help bring down the overall cost of your sailing holiday?

1) Firstly, if possible, avoid booking your holiday in the middle of peak sailing season. While I do not recommend sailing out of season, it is certainly possible to book your holiday at the periphery of the sailing season, either at the start or at the tail end.

2) Let go of the urge to book the newest and shiniest yacht. Yachts that have been in action for a few years are completely seaworthy when maintained well. Therefore, approach reputed yacht operators about their older boats, and you can get some steep discounts.

3) Do you really need the longest boat when a smaller size, say 32 feet, will suffice? The thing about sailing holidays is that you’d spend most of your time out on the deck or sightseeing the islands. In other words, you can compromise on the size of the cabins and further bring down your overall expenses.

4) Avoid crowded and touristy marinas as much as possible. Look for the nearest, less crowded alternatives. This will translate into considerable savings in the form of docking and provisioning costs.

Boat on the water near the coast

Best Options for Sailing as a Couple or Alone

Typically, sailing holidays involve a decent-sized group of family and friends who book a boat together.

Doing so keeps the per-head costs down. However, if you are sailing with your partner or all by yourself, then you would need a different strategy.

In particular, you can choose one of the following two options.

1) Charter a small yacht that accommodates the two of you and enjoys complete freedom and privacy.
2) Look out for larger sailboats that are advertising their cabins for individuals and couples.

Legs on a boat

Tips for Sailing With a Skipper

If you are going on your first sailing holiday or do not possess any sailing certification, then it is advisable to hire the services of an experienced skipper.

However, before you do so, there are a few pointers you should check in order to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

1) Inquire about the skipper’s sailing experience, especially in the location where you would be going for your holiday.
2) Make sure that the skipper is fluent in English so that there is no chance of a breakdown in communication in the middle of the sea.
3) Make sure you and your skipper are on the same page when it comes to rules about smoking etc, while on the yacht.
4) Finally, ask the yacht operator about how much you should tip the skipper and crew at the end of your sailing expedition.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, you are feeling a lot more positive and excited about the possibility of a sailing holiday of your own.

As you can see, with enough time and planning, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy a sailing holiday while staying well within your vacation budget.

So start researching, inquire about deals, and plan with meticulousness and enthusiasm, and you’ll be well placed to experience the unique thrill and luxury of a sailing holiday.


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Did you already enjoy last-minute sailing vacations? If so, feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “Last Minute Sailing Holidays – Tips to Save Time & Money!”

  1. Love your website and it’s giving me some new ideas that I hadn’t thought about. A group of us are going to Croatia in the summer. I might see if they would like to try sailing. It isn’t something I have done before but I am always looking for new adventures

    • Hi Diane,

      Thank you for the compliment, I really appreciate:)
      If you want my suggestion, There are two excellent options for groups
      The first one is to rent a yacht depending on guest numbers. A catamaran is a great boat for a sailing holiday with friends, lots of spaces, comfortable, and beautiful:)

      The second option is to participate in a flotilla, which is absolutely fantastic for groups. Lots of fun!

      Without a doubt, this could be a wonderful adventure!

      Thank you for the comment and I wish you a fantastic day!

      If you need any help, please feel free to contact me , I’ll be more than happy to assist:)

  2. Quite refreshing news indeed to hear that sailing holidays are no longer the preserve of the moneyed elite. I enjoyed reading your post and I read a lot of travel news. Your hints and tips will be put to good use as I plan to go on holiday soon. However, my friend, I am going with, is suggesting that we use a Cruise Ship. Isn’t it more expensive to travel by Cruise Ship than a boat?

    • Hi Zegu,

      A Cruise can be more expensive than a yacht; it depends on the type of cruise you’ll choose. If it’s a luxury cruise, then it will be more costly. The same thing for a private yacht, the bigger the yacht , the higher the price , and it can even be cheaper than a cruise in certain circumstances. The price of the cruise is generally charged per person and the price of the yacht is charged for the whole boat, which can be divided by the number of passengers. Here is a nice article about yacht vs cruise, I am sure you will enjoy the reading!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a wonderful day!

  3. wow this article has certainly caught my interest. The idea of sailing on the open sea sounds truly AMAZING!

    What would be your recommendations for those of us who have never sailed before? I think hiring a skipper for us inexperienced would be a must.

    In you experience would it be a good holiday for a family with young kids or is it more suited to couples alone?

    • Hi Paula,

      Yes, you’re right the sea is truly amazing, but if you don’t have any sailing experience, then you’ll need to hire a skipper.

      Kids love being on a boat, and yes, definitely, it could be a wonderful adventure, you just need to take some precautions. For example, you’ll need to hire a safety net and make them wear a life jacket.

      Here is a helpful article about how to sail with kids, I think you’ll find it very interesting!

      I hope it helped and if you need more information, feel free to contact me at any time:)

  4. Wow….!!! This alot of information about sailing that i did not know. The truth is i really have been wanting to sail but the problem was i knew nothing about it. I live in a hot country and i have been wanting for a while to visit the sea book a boat and just have fun… i know. Your post contains some of the very information that one needs to know before they book . Thank you so much for this post.

    • Hi Barrack,

      Thank you for the comment and for passing by!

      You don’t need any sailing skill to book a boat, you can hire a skipper and let him take care of the navigation:)

      Have a nice day!

  5. Hi thanks for the valuale advice regarding sailing with kids. The life jackets and nets are certainly very important. I have been discussing this holiday ootion with my husband after reading your article and we are seriously considering taking a sailing holiday possibly next year when the kids are a bit bigger. Thanks so much for spaking our interest , we will be coming back closer to the time.

    • Hi Paula,

      Thank you for passing by and for the comment, but I think you left a message on the wrong article.

      This post speaks about the last minute sailing holidays and your comment belongs to how to sail with kids article:)

      However, thank you anyway!

      Have a wonderful day!

  6. I have always wanted to take a sailing trip, and I believe that the time has come for me to finally do it. It’s good to know that getting a smaller boat will be just as good for me as a larger one. This is something that I will have to keep in mind so that I will be able to book the right tour for me, and get the right budget for it.

    • Hi, Harper,

      This a great idea! Yes, you can get great deals at the last minute sailing holidays. So try to take advantage of this, you’ll be glad you did!
      Thank you for the comment and wish you a wonderful day!

  7. I like that you mention how it’s important to book months in advance. My brother is looking to go on some private sailing tours and wants to get a good deal. I’ll be sure to talk to him about booking in advance.

    • Hi Kyle,

      Indeed, it is essential to book the boat a few month in advance because not only you get better deals but also you have the option to choose the yacht you want.
      Yes, it is a good idea to tell your brother about the booking:)

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a lovely day!


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