What to Wear on a Yacht Vacation - and How to Pack

03.09.2019 Natalya Walker

You booked your yacht charter holiday, you discussed the itinerary and noted down the experiences you will be including in your boating holiday. Now you need to think about what to wear and what to take with you. If this is your first time (or even if it is not), here are a few things to help you get ready for your holiday. What to pack for the yacht charter and things to remember whilst on board.

What to take on a boating holiday


To start with, there is no major difference as to how to pack for a yacht charter holiday vs a traditional stay. You can plan your clothing according to the season, your planned activities and comfort. Packing for a Caribbean winter sun getaway aboard a luxury catamaran or motor yacht rental in Ibiza in the summer would be, of course, different to packing for a sailing boat cruise in Norway in autumn or a stay on a narrowboat on one of the inland canals in the UK. However, here are a few things to consider in addition to the normal packing.

What to pack for a week on a catamaran

Here is my sample packing list for a week-long yacht charter holiday aboard a Catamaran in the summer.

  • Shorts x 2
  • Tshirts x 4 or 5
  • Casual dresses x 2 or 3
  • Going out outfits (no more than 2)
  • Bikinis and beachwear
  • Flip flops
  • Trainers
  • One pair of dressy shoes (heels or glamorous wedges)
  • Shell jacket
  • Hoody top
  • Pair of leggings
  • Camera
  • Make up bag (with simplified items, no more than 10, don’t forget waterproof mascara and eye liner)
  • Toiletries (do not bring full-sized bottles, they will not be convenient, think travel size)
  • Earplugs. Even if you are not a light sleeper it may be busy and noisy at the marina. Some people also not used to the sound of the waves, so earplugs will come handy
  • Medical kit. Just take what you usually pack like painkillers, plasters etc and add some anti-nausea pills. Even if you do not normally get seasick, the first day may be a good idea to take them if the sea is a little choppy
  • Protective waterproof case for my camera or phone to take pics in the water
  • Cables/adaptors needed depending on the country
  • Favourite playlist updated and ready!

All of this I pack into a soft bag and love the freedom of travelling light! Read on for more tips and advice from Natalya Walker.


Tip 1: Pack light


Remember there is limited storage space aboard a yacht charter

If your charter boat is under 55 ft chances are that no matter how spacious it is for the boat, you will still need to be conscious of space. So, a massive suitcase, for example, would not only be too big but also think where you going to store it on the boat. You don’t want to occupy cabin space with a large chunky suitcase. So if possible, stick to duffel bags or something soft you can fold away easily.

Of course, the type of charter boat, size of boat and the size of your group matter. If you are packing, say for Lagoon 450 and its 8 or even 10 of you (all cabins will be occupied) so no extra storage space, then you need to be conscious of space. If you are a couple however and you will have empty cabins on board you can take more as you will have storage.

Sailing yachts (monohull) are narrower than Catamarans and offer less space overall, so you want to be even more conscious of space. 

You can read here about differences between catamaran, a sailing yacht or a motor yacht

Overall, unless you anticipate ample space on board (you are going on a mega yacht or its just a two of you plus crew aboard a large Catamaran) the general rule is to be space-conscious. Avoid bulky items (large, hard-cased suitcases) and you will feel a lot more comfortable. Plus – its easier to carry. Once aboard – you will realise that you do not necessarily need that much, a bathing suit, a towel and a pair of shorts and you have all you need!


Tip 2: Pack clever


If you are going on a boat charter holiday, think about your itinerary. Of course, you will have stopovers on land to visit some restaurants and you may wish to wear a few dressier items. You do not need too many of these, however. Life at sea is thrilling, freeing and so serene. Chances are very high that you will just want to relax and be comfortable. So you will probably want to wear shorts, light dresses or light tops, and comfortable shoes while onboard.

If you are on a monohull sailing yacht you will want to wear light shoes with good sole grips, and not flip flops, while sailing. Bare feet can easily get injured on a sailing yacht so the correct footwear is important.

Aboard a catamaran or motor yacht, this is not an issue so anything goes. You may still want to avoid high heels aboard these yachts however.


Tip 3: Must-haves

Essential items of clothing to take on a yacht vacation


  • A shell jacket. No matter what the season or the weather is – you will be in the open water and it can get windy. So it’s always a good idea to pack a shell jacket – it does not take much space at all but can protect from the wind and water!
  • A hoodie. The hooded sweatshirt is for warmth – if it gets slightly chilly you would want something cosy and warm under the shell jacket.
  • A pair of comfortable non-slip shoes. Finally, the shoes. A comfortable pair of trainers with non-slippery soles will always come handy.

I am not going to mention the obvious things such as bathing suits, cameras, etc – See the list at the start of this blog for all the things I would personally pack for a week long getaway on the boat (summer holiday list) – so you have a bit of a checklist for inspiration.


Read Part 2 of this blog post - 'Who is who, and what to expect on board from the skipper, hostess, and chef'

What to Wear on a Yacht Vacation - and How to Pack
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