Sailing On A Budget: How To Get The Luxury Experience For Less

Would you like to go sailing on a budget? I’ve got you covered…

Free-flowing sails and the wind in your hair, what could be more perfect than cruising on calm ocean waters, heading to foreign lands, and anchoring up in secluded beaches to gaze up at the stars at night time?

For many, a sailing holiday is the epitome of luxury. But for many more, securing the funds to do it is a totally different question.

The good news is, there are ways of experiencing that truly escapist feeling, and you don’t have to be on the back of a mega yacht to do it.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at some tips and tricks for enjoying a sailing holiday on a budget, without simply cutting corners. 

We’re going to show you ways to get the luxury experience for less, so keep reading to find out exactly how.

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Buy A Secondhand Boat

The benefit of buying used motor boats for sale is that you still have the freedom to go where you want and do what you want to do, but one of the largest upfront costs is dramatically reduced.

The sheer price of brand-new boats can put many first-time sailors off their dream holidays, either because they simply can’t afford it, or worry they won’t get enough use out of the boat to make paying all that money for it worthwhile. 

There are plenty of different models available for all kinds of sailing holiday budgets, but one thing is for certain – they’re always expensive.

Save a massive hole in your pocket by choosing a secondhand boat from a reputable seller – or better yet, from someone you know.

Sometimes these boats may need a little maintenance or restoration before they’re fully seaworthy, but if you’re prepared to get your hands dirty and take on a bit of a project, the results can be truly rewarding. 

Two men and two women sitting on the deck of a boat toasting with champagne flutes full of a blue drink while sailing on a budget

Go As Crew

Provided you’re not brand new to sailing, skippering or working on a yacht as hospitality staff is a nifty way to see the world on your transport mode of choice – and make a pretty penny whilst doing so.

Many owners of larger yachts and luxury pleasure boats will hire staff, particularly for longer trips. You’ll be in charge of preparing meals, housekeeping, or driving the boat itself.

Yes you’ll be sleeping in tiny bunk cabins, and you’ll be working instead of (strictly speaking) on a holiday, but if your heart yearns to be on the ocean and you don’t quite yet have the funds to be the owner of said luxury yacht, why not rack up those sea miles in this alternative fashion in the meantime?

Travel Off-Peak & To Less Touristy Destinations

There are so many lesser-discovered hidden gems to be explored, sometimes even just a beach or two around the corner. What’s more, you don’t have to go to Santorini in August just because everyone else does. 6,000 other Greek islands are waiting to be explored.

Especially for super busy tourist destinations, picking quieter travel times can actually be a more pleasant way to experience somewhere new.

You won’t be bombarded with tourists getting in the way of your photos, and the locals may be more willing to interact since they’re not tripping over distracted feet all the time.

If flexibility is a power you possess, make use of it by scanning for last-minute deals, and staying on the lookout for trips you can do ‘off-season.’

Explore Local Charter Options

This may sound like an irrelevant tip, but it’s all too easy to overlook. Do your research, and the benefits you can reap can be amazing.

Don’t settle for packages and charters with the big-name international sailing companies everyone’s familiar with. They can hike up their prices for no reason other than being a trusted, well-known brand. 

Of course, when looking around for alternatives, you’ll want to thoroughly investigate to make sure all the relevant qualifications are held.

But generally speaking, a local or smaller charter company will be able to offer you similar experiences – if not more bespoke ones, for better prices.

So whilst it may be easy to go with the first option you find on your internet search, putting in the hours will make you more likely to find a luxury option for a smaller cost.

Two men and two women jumping off a yacht into the ocean

Grab A Gang, Get A Discount

Many charter companies will offer deals and promotions for larger groups, making the experience more economical per person.

So, get your friends on board (figuratively and literally), and your holiday will instantly become more affordable.

On top of that, tourist destinations will be likely to offer similar discounts when you anchor. You may find yourself able to book private tours simply by turning up in a bigger number. 

Plus, you’ll have more of your friends and family around you, and what doesn’t scream luxury like a big family argument with all your siblings about who ate the last ice cream in the chilly bin?

Rent, Don’t Buy

Reduce your travel costs by renting, rather than buying large items. This can come down to the boat you’re planning to use if you don’t intend to be a regular sailor.

But it can also apply to the experiences you have whilst you’re exploring.

Snorkelling equipment, water inflatables, and furnishings for your boat can all be hired out, so you won’t be spending loads on items you’ll only be using for a couple of weeks or so. 

And again, if you’re in a bigger group, these costs will be shared out, leaving a smaller dent in your wallet each time.

Two people on a sailing boat at sunset, looking towards a landmass in the distance

Don’t Waste Your Budget On Expensive Flights

Of course, you have to get to your sailing destination before the real holiday can begin. Most of the time, that may involve flights to a foreign country or faraway region of the world.

But look closer and you’ll often discover there are sailing holidays near you that people are getting on planes to come to themselves.

Save a huge chunk of your holiday budget by scrapping the long flights, and sailing somewhere closer to home. 

As soon as you’re on the water, you’ll feel as though you’re in a foreign land, even if you only end up being a few hours away from normality.

Luxury sailing is achievable on a smaller budget if you’re clever with how you go about it. With these helpful hints, we hope we’ve inspired you to get creative on planning your next holiday or potentially even start seriously thinking about your first.

Sailing is a dream holiday style that lets you relax and unwind whilst seeing new places and exploring constantly changing locations. 

So start getting excited, because with these tips under your belt, it won’t be long before you’re sailing the open sea.

Read about some of those places known for sailing in these posts
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Find flights – I always use Skyscanner as my starting point when searching for flights. One search will give many options including airlines I may not have thought of. This means I can find the best possible flights to suit my needs

Book accommodation – my go to is always for the best places to stay. It’s not just hotels anymore, but hostels, apartments, B&Bs and more. I love that the bookings are usually cancellable, and that I can book now and pay later.

Hire a rental is my go to here. It allows me to do just one search and it finds cars from many of the different supplies, so no checking multiple websites to compare.

Get travel insurance – you would have heard by now that saying “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. If we’ve learnt anything from the last couple of years it should be how essential travel insurance is. I use CoverMore for my insurance.

Pick up an eSIM – I tried an eSIM on my last trip and it was fantastic. I set it up before I went so it was ready as soon as I landed, and I still had access to my home number for emergencies. Get your own eSIM at Airalo.

Book activities, tours & attractions – I use a few different websites for this. Viator and Get Your Guide tend to be the first places I look. In Asia, Klook often has more options, and in Australia it’s Experience Oz.

Manage your money – the best way to manage your different currencies is with an account from Wise. You can hold money in many different currencies, and use them with the ATM card or from your phone.