The Yacht Week is infamously known for its slogan "Nothing like the real world". And it's true. Your week on the sea, exploring different islands, the parties, the beautiful scenery --- the list goes on! --- is nothing like everyday life (if it is, well you have a pretty cool thing going for ya!). Truth be told, it can be quite the adjustment. There are several things that I packed that helped me make the most of this incredible experience. Considering these things, I've come up with 4 ways to maximize your experience with The Yacht Week.
1. Take care of yourself
Going on this trip is a start- taking a vacation is an awesome way to destress and relax. Don't stop there though- your physical health should be a priority too. I learned from some Travel Noire District members that several of their crew got sick from their yacht week trip. For some of them, there were experiences with nausea, but by the end of it everyone had cold symptoms. I had an additional trip after my yacht week experience, so it was super important to me that I stay healthy.
I recommend you pack vitamin c tablets (to boost immunity) and gatorade packets (replenish those electrolytes). I took two Airborne everyday starting a few days before the trip and all throughout. I also think getting sleep is crucial. You truly don't have to party all day and all night. I made sure I got at least 5 hours each night- it definitely helped me recuperate from being out all day in the sun/the drinking.
Getting seasick can be a real thing, especially if your prone to motion sickness. Drinking lots of water may feel contradictory if your interested in partaking in alcoholic beverages, but staying hydrated is one key way not to get seasick. Plus, it's not advised that you take any motion sickness meds if you have been drinking; so just do yourself a favor and stock up on water. Having some sort of aid like Seabands is a worthwhile alternative, in the event you feel queasy due to the rocking of the boat (I provide more detail about options to avert seasickness in this Don't Rock the Boat post). Unsure of how our stomachs would take to the local food, I also packed Imodium. Luckily, we never had to open the bottle.
2. Get comfortable
As mentioned in my Yacht Week Packing Guide, space can become limited really quickly. I did not disclose that most boats do not have A/C; thus it can get really hot below deck (day or night). If you know you don't do well with being hot, consider paying more money for a boat that comes with A/C (to my knowledge there are not many per route but look into it!). If that's not an option, come prepared to manage the stuffiness. You could pack a portable fan that is operated by batteries (because access to power is inconsistent- more details below). One thing I learned from my talks with fellow Travel Noire District members, is that a lot of folks sleep above deck at night because of how hot it can get. Knowing this, I bought a double hammock just in case my boyfriend and I would need to relocate. We ended up not having to use it. Most nights cooled down just enough that with the assistance of open windows and doors (which created a draft), we could sleep comfortably.
In some ways sailing for a week is like camping. The bathrooms are just big enough for one person, the shower head sits over the toilet (which you can't flush paper down). In general, you have access to only so much water (you can't re-up at every stop), that is needed for bathing and for cooking/cleaning. If it would help you feel more clean, pack some baby wipes to freshen yourself up each day. Also, the yacht does come with towels, but perhaps you like having a fresh bath towel every couple of days- if this is you, figure out how to pack an additional towel in your bag.
3. Document the experience
One thing is for sure, this trip is one of kind and you will want to capture some awesome moments. Whether you use your phone or a camera, you will want to make sure your device is charged. Depending on your route (and where you are from), you may need to pack an adapter and/or electricity converter(There are combo adapter/converters too!). Generally, charging can only take place when you are docked and connected to power. The exception to this is by using a cigarette plug outlet. With only one on the boat, I recommend you get a multi- use port like this; then multiple people can charge at a time while sailing. I found it super useful to have a surge protecter on board- we were able to charge even more devices at once when hooked to power. A multi-outlet power strip would work too, but you would need the electricity converter to ensure the voltage is being managed properly. My friend Dee also had a solar charger that helped keep everyone charged up. We didn't use it to its maxium potential (i.e. let the sun charge it) but it was cool to have that option, considering the infrequent access to power.
Aside from those techy things, you want to consider that you'll be in and around water A LOT. I wish I had a waterproof selfie stick handy. If you can manage to pack one, I highly recommend having that gadget on deck to capture some crazy group shots in the water.
Without a doubt, waterproof your phone! I initially bought a Lifeproof case, specifically for this trip. My case failed the water test (a test to see if any bit of liquid gets into the case, while a piece of paper is inside). Lifeproof was willing to replace it with another case; sadly it also failed the test. It might have just been my luck, so check them, as well as any other waterproof phone case, out for yourselves. I'd just advise you look into it ahead of time, so if you have to go another route you can. I ended up getting a waterproof case bag by Joto on Amazon. It was inexpensive and worked as expected: my iPhone never got wet and I still had great use of the screen and buttons while it was in the bag. I've heard good things about Tethys and FriEQversions too!
4. Enjoy the ride
Depending on your route and the day of the week, you could be sailing to your next destination for as little as 1 hour to 6 hours or more! Play some tunes, while you kick up your feet and relax. Some boats have usb ports, so you can play music right off your phone or ipod. Just know that not all boats have this feature. To prevent any disappointment, come prepared with CDs with your favorite mixes.
Other things to do while sailing include reading a book or magazine, completing crossword or sudoku puzzles, or playing cards. Depending on how rough the waters are, you might have to come up with creative ways to keep your activities from blowing over board- we made it work with our relentless game of Spades!
Lastly, be prepared to be disconnected during your time on the water. Unless you opt into an insane international data plan, you won't be able to check email/social media like that. While every boat comes with wifi, it is a small amount to share among a crew. It's advised to only use when you first arrive to check in with friends/family and for emergencies. Depending on your route, you can catch up with the world via wifi at local restaurants and other places when you dock. Ultimately, I recommend you focus less on when you will have wifi and be present, in the moment, enjoying this experience with your crew.