The Yacht Week Survival Guide
If you haven’t heard of The Yacht Week, the time is now. With routes in Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, the British Virgin Islands, and Italy, each week has something different to offer. The Yacht Week is a week of sailing to some of the most beautiful ports in the world, paired with exploring, fine dining, quality cocktails, and the wildest parties. Each day is immaculately planned, and The Yacht Week staff is there every step of the way to make sure you live out your dream vacation. This experience is truly the trip of a lifetime, and The Travelogue goes as far as to say it's been one of the favorite weeks of our lives. Simply put, you won't regret it!
Let’s break it down by route:
Croatia: The OG of Yacht Week routes, this route is known for being the largest and for having the craziest parties. Definitely not for the faint of heart, and it requires constant rallying. There’s also a Croatia route that includes Ultra Music Festival Europe.
Montenegro: A mid-paced route, explore old, quaint towns, do some yoga, and turn up at stunning destinations.
The BVI: Known to be one of the most beautiful sailing routes, this mid-paced route has plenty of beach bars and brunching.
Italy: A slower-paced route with plenty of hiking, yoga, and strolling on cobblestone streets. Definitely made for those who are less interested in partying and more so soaking up an experience.
Greece: We might be partial, but many skippers claim this route is their favorite. The Travelogue spent Week 33 of 2018 with The Yacht Week Greece, and we loudly sing its praises. This route includes wild day and night parties with plenty of opportunities for bottle service. Traveling on smaller fleet of yachts, this allows you to get to know the rest of the ships from around the world and gives time for exploring around the tiny ports you'll sail to. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and you’ll eat your fair share of delicious Greek food.
Consider this your survival guide. The Travelogue is giving you our best tips, advice on booking, letting you know what to pack, and other key information.
Booking for The Yacht Week is done through TheYachtWeek.com. Bookings typically open late October, and trust us when we tell you to book early. Most of the good yachts are reserved by December/January. By February 2018, there were only 2 boats with AC left. Start talking to friends and a potential crew the summer or fall before, that way when everyone’s ready you can pull the trigger quickly.
One person will have to pay for the hefty down payment, so make sure one person can commit and you’re also choosing people that will pay you back relatively quickly.
Your crew (skipper and hostess included, we’ll get to that later) is what makes the week. We totally recommend exploring TYW’s website to get a feel of the routes and what may or may not be best for you and your crew. Keep in mind when booking that you should stick with like-minded people and like-budgeted people. If you’re down to pop bottles and stay up to watch every sunrise but your friend is more into spending days being active and only drinks casually, maybe Croatia is for you and they’re better suited for the Italy route. TYW is about going with the flow, being carefree, and having a blast. Keep in mind TYW wants boats to be gender equal or more women. It could cost more if you have a boat of all guys.
But, maybe you want to go alone or just with your BFF. And that’s totally okay! TYW has a handy dandy crew finder through their website, so if you’re a solo traveler or with a small group you can find others to join up with. There’s also Facebook groups that you can join for this purpose and chat with fellow party-goers. TYW also does a few giveaways for free trips and for single crew members to join "The Love Boat." Sign up for the email list to get more info on stuff like that.
But what boat?
Yachts typically sleep 6–12 people and there’s 4 different levels. Trust us now when we say you want air conditioning. It’s hot in the cabins and it’s hot where you’re sailing, so you’ll want to fall asleep not drenched in a puddle of sweat. It’s worth spending the extra money for some extra space and comfort, because when you’re with people for a week at a time, cramped quarters are cramped. TYW also offers catamarans, which, to be honest, definitely look the coolest and have the most space up deck. They don’t have as many beds, though, so if you have a full crew of 10 these won’t work for you.
Hostess or no?
Picture this. You’re hungover, the boat is rocking, you need water. Would you rather have a gourmet charcuterie board, Nutella covered pancakes, and Bailey’s iced coffee be brought up to you in an immaculate display, or would you rather be stumbling around the galley trying to put jam on a piece of toast? That’s what we thought.
Having a hostess on board means your entire crew splits the cost of having another person on your yacht. It might seem like a lot at first, but from firsthand experience, we would not have made it without our hostess (shout out Daniela). You go shopping with your hostess on the first day at port, so they can help you with meal ideas and discuss allergies or restrictions. The hostess makes all of your breakfasts and lunches, and a few dinners (depending on the route). The meals were phenomenal, fresh, and opened all of our eyes to different styles of cooking! Your hostess also is there for you if you need medicine, more booze/food, help with booking tables, and general exploration around the island.
Don’t skimp – get a hostess!!
Cost will obviously vary per boat and per group, depending on how nice your yacht is, if you get a hostess, and how much you eat or drink (ahem, tables too). When the Travelogue went on TYW, we had a premium yacht (air conditioning, 3 bathrooms, slept 10) with a hostess, and paid around 1400 USD per person. Even though it is single-payer like we mentioned, the great thing about TYW is they let you pay in portions so it’s not all due up front!
Beyond your payments to simply get onto TYW, you’re going to have more. It’s also important to know you are responsible for paying for your hostess and skipper whenever you eat on land (but not for their drinks at the bar). Here are some broken down estimates (all prices are in Euro):
150 per person on Day 1 to put in for a slush fund.
100-200 per person for alcohol, depending on how much you drink. Keep in mind you’ll have to make a cash deposit up front as well of about 60 dollars.
100 per person for groceries for the week.
50-80 per person per group dinner. They start off at a set price, but you usually buy booze. Keep in mind they’re optional, but you’ll have 2 or 3.
150-250 per person for tables. Tables usually have minimums of 400 to 600. We got 3.
200 on Day 7 for tip (100 for skipper, 100 for hostess).
All in all, you can expect to spend another 600-800 dollars throughout the week. Many people say give it a guesstimate of 100 dollars per day. TYW isn’t cheap for most people, so if you’re considering if, start saving as soon as possible. No one wants to be stressed about funds on vacation! If that means waiting two years and doing it right, do that.
When it comes to Yacht Week, you don’t need much. You’ll most likely live in bathing suits and cover-ups, and want to bring along the outfits for themed parties and the regatta race. See pro tips below for our favorite packing tips for large groups.
Below is a summed up list for clothes and other things you’ll need:
As many bathing suits as you want – 5 or 6 recommended.
3-4 different light, airy cover-ups or dresses to put on over bathing suits when exploring.
Your regatta outfit. Coordinate this with your crew!
Themed outfits - they vary per route. Could be a white outfit, striped outfit, tropical, etc. TYW will let you know!
3-4 nice outfits for group dinners.
A pair of shoes you can get wet (Chacos, Jesus sandals, Tevas, etc).
A nicer pair of shoes for going out.
Tennis shoes optional for routes where you are hiking.
Hawaiian shirts or sarongs...because why not. Kenny Flowers is our personal favorite and also offers discounts for groups if you want to coordinate!
A pair of shorts and a top or two for exploring without a bathing suit.
A floatie! And get at least one person to bring an air pump.
An aux cord and dongle/converter for iPhones. Most boats have Bluetooth, but come prepared just in case.
Emergen-C, Airborne, or some other vitamin C. Take one every morning.
Pepto and Tums – because drinking a lot irritates your stomach.
Sea sickness medicine – we HIGHLY recommend sea sickness patches. We also believe they cure hangovers. Dramamine is also a godsend.
A microfiber beach towel that’s easy to pack, or just buy one when you get there to save space. We love these fun ones with a waterproof pocket from
Mousse, leave in conditioner or hair oils, because you most likely won’t be styling your hair beyond that and the ocean makes your hair super dry.
GoPro/Camera/any fun photography equipment.
A dry bag and or waterproof phone case (optional of course).
Toiletries – we’ll touch on this in pro tips.
Reusable plastic cups – this will keep you from using plastic and straws to eliminate trash and save the environment. Yay!
Reusable ice cubes – keep your drinks cold and from getting watered down.
Air pump to blow up floaties.
Additional portable speaker to bring up to the front of the boat.
Tide to go pen. Because accidents happen.
Tons of sunscreen! We love SunBum!
Have one friend check a bag that everyone can throw extras in, like floats, the pump, costumes, cups, sunscreen, etc. It makes it so much easier to have it all in one space. You can even ditch the bag on the way home if you find one at Goodwill you don’t care about.
When you get to port, buy certain things that the whole group will use in bulk. Shampoo, body wash, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen (LOTS OF SUNSCREEN). This will avoid a million little bottles floating around. Or if you’re bringing a big group checked bag, buy it in the states (or wherever you're flying from) and put it in there.
Take a shower at Nikki Beach (Greece specific). This will save you a trip back to the boat on a water taxi – trust us. It’s a blast and everyone will be jealous. If there's not a shower available, it's also a good idea to book a hotel room. It'll be a nice break from the boat!
Buy TONS of water with your groceries. It’s not too expensive, and it’s better to have more than run out when you’re dying of thirst in the morning. You’ll want to drink it throughout the day and bring it with you when you’re exploring as well.
Tables are worth it. It’s so much more fun to have champagne with sparklers come out to greet you instead of buying overpriced drinks at a bar. No lines, and you make your drinks as stiff as you want. It's also a place for your group to hang out and have a home base.
When choosing a floatie, get one that looks cool but is also practical. If you get a giant one that fits ten, you’re probably going to have no extra space on your boat to sit up front. We recommend ones that have holes in them that are easy to sit, but also flat group ones that are pretty much like air mattresses so multiple people can lay on them.
When you go shopping with your hostess, make sure you have plenty of snacks to munch on when you get back to the boat drunk.
Stay up to see the sunrise at least once! It’s worth it.
TYW is very environmentally friendly – they don’t like seeing straws in their pictures! Use reusable cups that come with the resusable straws to eliminate this.
The best regatta outfit wins a special prize, but the real winners are the boats that have fun in their bathing suits so they’re not drenched in sweat! If you want to get super creative, think about dressing up your boat as well – just make sure you’re not littering!
Your sheets, pillows, and bath towels are included with the boat. No need to bring extra!
Don’t bring any high heels or super high wedges. You’ll be walking on cobblestone streets! Low, flat espadrilles are best, or just stick to sandals.
Even if your boat has AC, your skipper has to turn on the generator. Make sure to remind him or her! It also should be noted that the generator can only be turned on when at port – once the boat starts moving it turns off.
Skip the shower in the bathroom and shower on the back of the boat. This will keep your bathroom dry and smelling a lot more fresh.
Definitely get an Airbnb or hotel room the Friday night you’re back at port. This means you can sleep in on Saturday (instead of having to be off the boat at 9 AM), and give you a spacious, comfy bed and real shower.
The rooms on the boat are tiny. You'll get some snuggle time in with whoever you're rooming with. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Prior to the trip, make sure you download the Day 8 App! This is awesome if you want to meet people beforehand and get in contact with your skipper/hostess.
Pack your things in a duffle bag, backpack, or something soft. There's no room for big suitcases on the boat.
If you're injury prone, it might be a good idea to get travel insurance!
TYW is a marathon - there are parties (on most routes) every. single. day. Keep this in mind on slower days where you're just floating. It might be best to take a little break every once in a while to ensure you stay fresh!
A SPECIAL THANKS AND TONS OF LOVE
Each route has a professional photographer. We were lucky enough to have James Connolly on ours. He took almost all of the amazing photos displayed on this page, and we can't thank him enough. Check him out on his website here or on his instagram @jampatcon!
Side note - get to know the staff. Invite them aboard, feed them, give them drinks, get to know them. They're all awesome, and have great stories from different parts of the world. We can't thank James, our skipper Lukas, and our hostess Daniela and the rest of the staff for such an amazing time! The Travelogue and crew will be back!