What to pack for a sailing vacation

What to pack for a sailing vacation

You’re in for an unforgettable experience exploring some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Perhaps you’re an experienced salty sailor with your duffle bag perpetually on standby. But for some of us, packing for that much-anticipated vacation will take a bit more thoughtful consideration – especially if it’s a new type of adventure! Afterall, packing for a boat cruise is not quite the same as for a standard land-based trip.

What to pack for a sailing vacation

The right packing list for your sailing vacation.

Firstly, while many choose to sail in the balmy Caribbean, sunny Mediterranean, or exotic South Pacific, not all charter destinations boast toasty warm temperatures year-round. Check your destination’s weather forecasts so you can properly prepare for chilly, windy, or rainy conditions. 

And remember that nighttime temperatures are often much cooler – especially on or near the water. 

Many experienced sailing charterers will tell you – nearly everyone over-packs (by a lot!) on their first boating vacation. Remember that your chosen vacation platform is a boat – it’s uber casual and designed for water-based fun.  If you’re in a warm destination you’ll likely spend most of your time in a bathing suit, shorts, tees, sun shirt or casual coverup.  In most destinations, even the nicer restaurants expect that vacationers will arrive in breezy, unfussy attire. Also keep in mind that space on board can be limited and you probably don’t want to spend your vacation tripping over your belongings.

What to pack for a sailing vacation

Your sailing vacation packing list.

Let’s dive right in and discover the key items to pack for your sailing vacation – to ensure you have all the essentials for a fun, safe, comfortable trip.


  • Travel bags: choose flexible sports bags or backpacks that fold easily. Do not bring rigid suitcases, as they are difficult to store in the lockers on board. You will likely not be able to leave them at the base for the duration of your cruise.
  • Day bag: preferably waterproof, to protect your camera, phone, sunglasses and wallet. Otherwise, a plastic zippered bag will give you the minimum protection you need.
  • Beach bag: for your towels, sunscreen, snorkeling gear for going ashore.
  • Security pouch: bring an under-the-shirt security pouch for documents.

What to pack for a sailing vacation

Clothes to pack for a yacht charter

A good rule of thumb when packing for a sailing vacation is to put everything you think you need in a pile and then cut it by a third..

  • Swimwear: pack a few swimsuits, bikinis, or swim shorts so you always have a dry one.
  • Beach clothing: lightweight, quick-drying clothing such as t-shirts, tank tops, beach shorts, coverups and sun dresses.
  • Shirts: long sleeve shirts or rash guards with built in SPF sun protection – ideal for snorkeling. 
  • Waterproof clothing: light and waterproof jacket, which will not take up much space, but will protect you when needed, which is very rare.
  • Outer layers: a warm sweatshirt, sweater or jacket for the evening, especially if you are sailing in Europe in low season.
  • Casual dinner outfit: for dinners out.
  • Flip flops/sandals: with soft non-marking soles and good grip. Although most of the time you will be barefoot on the boat to keep it clean.
  • Water shoes: to protect your feet when on the beach and snorkling.
  • Other shoes: many destinations have very nice hiking options.
  • Sunglasses:
  • Sun hat or caps.


  • Sunscreen and sunblock: take plenty and make it oil-free and reef-safe – look for products that are free from oxybenzone and octinoxate.
  • Insect repellant: avoid the bug bites.
  • Lip balm: prevent wind-chapped lips and choose one with SPF for sun protection.
  • Travel size toiletries: shampoo/conditioner, soap/shower gel, toothbrush, and toothpaste.
  • Make up: only minimal as desired.
  • Seasickness pills or patches: perfect for those who get seasick.
  • Earplugs and eyeshades: good for light sleepers.
  • Medications: prescription and non-prescription. Be sure to bring a copy of your prescription for any prescribed medications, and make sure prescription medication has all details on the bottle including your name.
  • Others: such as extra eyeglasses, contact solution and contacts.

What to pack for a sailing vacation


  • Passport and visas.
  • Bareboat certification: If you are sailing yourself, don’t forget to bring your original certificates and copies with you.
  • Insurance contact details.
  • Yacht charter rental documents.


  • Small flashlight.
  • Notebook and pen.
  • Drivers license if you think you will rent a car.
  • Cell phone and chargers.
  • Electronic Adapters.

Leave at home checklist

  • Tanning oil as it stains the yacht fittings.
  • Cooking and eating equipment and utensils.
  • Navigation tools and charts.
  • First aid kit, as all boats have them on board.
  • Valuables and Jewelry.
  • Hair dryer and straighteners – you will be in the water a lot!

Welcome on board! Now it’s time to choose your destination. Alternatively, if you have any questions, contact us – we’re happy to help!

Holiday Yacht Charter
  • Pollen Maritime AS
  • Martin Linges vei 25
  • 1364 Fornebu, Norway

Need help with booking?

Contact us
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