I was surprised to find that bareboat chartering is a very economical way to vacation IF you’re willing to vacation with a boatload of your (soon to be) closest friends. Your accommodations always have unlimited access to the worlds largest infinity pool!
Money Saving Tips
Of course you have to be conscientious about money from the start or you’re likely to spend a lot. Our strategy for saving money on bareboat charters is to be willing to negotiate with the charter companies for deals and be flexible with your dates so you can get the best prices on flights. Usually we book 6 months in advance so we get commitments from the crew using an approximated cost and a range of dates (an example of date ranges would be February). After we collect the cash from the crew we pick the lowest combined price based on the quotes we’ve gotten for the charter company and online quotes for flights. The quotes for flights are easy; the quotes from the negotiations with charter companies take a lot of back and forth via email.
Once we settled on this rough strategy we’ve been able to beat our cost estimates by enough money to add an 8th day to what would have otherwise been a 7 day trip 🙂
Charter Company Negotiation Tips
Most charter companies offer a loyalty discount so it’s cheaper after the first charter. Try to convince them to offer this discount as a new customer; it’s usually around 5%. The best method to negotiate on price is to have a written copy of a quote from a competitor offering a similar boat during similar dates. Try to plan your trip outside of high season: you have a much better chance of negating on price and they typically offer extra incentives in the off-season.
Above all: always be courteous and friendly while negotiating!
What does Chartering Cost?
The first thing a potential crew member asks about joining our a trip is how much is it going to cost. Much to my surprise the cost of our winter Caribbean bareboat charters has been quite similar. Without further ado:
Placencia, Belize 2019:
This 7 night February trip we had 2 catamarans. 19 people paid for a spot on a boat.
Not everyone took the hopper from Belize City to Placencia but enough did that I thought it was fair to include that expense in the trip.
Phuket, Thailand 2018:
This 8 night February Trip we had 2 boats. 14 people paid for a spot on the boat but last minute we had one person drop out so only 13 people split the Thailand incidentals.
Boats in Phuket and Flights to Phuket were expensive; we knew this would be our new most expensive trip. We were pleasantly surprised to find how inexpensive things were once we were in Thailand.
Team members wanted to spend more days in Asia after flying all this way, which meant taking more vacation. Given the same propensity for extra days during the 2017 Greece trip and only 6 months between trips we had fewer participants than we expected.
Greece (Cyclades) 2017:
This 7 night July trip we had 26 people and 3 boats.
There are some boat costs in the incidentals that for other trips would be in the boat split. The Greek Charter companies had more add on fees at check-in time than other companies we’ve worked with.
None of our 26 people spent only 7 days in Europe so the flight cost is more of an approximation than the other trips.
St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2016
This 8 night January trip we had 15 people: 9 on a Moorings 50.5 and 6 on a Moorings 43.3.
Antigua and Barbuda 2015
In our 8 night February Antigua Bareboat we had 17 people: 8 on a Sunsail 384 catamaran and 9 on a Sunsail 50.
British Virgin Islands 2014
This 8 night March trip had 5 people on a Jenneau Sun Odyssey 39i.
- For flights I just used the flights I purchased and extrapolated for everyone else. We provide details of the best flights we found with the crew when we confirm the dates.
- The “Boat Split” includes a small amount of incidental costs; the “Boat Split” leftover after paying the charter company is credited to the crew in the “Incidentals Split”
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