So! You've booked a charter yacht in the Caribbean, complete with a crew and now are wondering how to pack. We can help! See the photo? That blue bag is way too big! Leave it at home and pack in a smaller bag bringing only the following:
What to Pack for a Sailing Vacation and Other FAQs...
Even though I usually pack more, I really only need:
5 pairs of shorts
1 pair of sandals or waterproof reef shoes
If you have a dinner ashore:
Ladies: 1 casual sundress
Men: 1 button down shirt & dress shorts
What kind of luggage should I bring?
Please bring soft sided luggage or duffel bags. Yachts prefer that you bring carry-on luggage so that there won't be a problem with lost bags. Space for storing bags is limited. Hard sided luggage can damage the glossy varnished woodwork and floors.
Do I need lots of clothes and dressy attire?
No! Remember the old adage — "Bring half of the clothes and twice the amount of money that you think you'll need!" Pack your bag and if it is uncomfortable for you to carry it then you've packed way too much! You will need casual wear such as shorts, T-shirts, swimwear, beach cover-ups and shoes that can get wet with saltwater. A few of the finer restaurants require button-up shirts and slacks for the gentlemen. Rarely does one need a jacket and tie. "Smart Casual" is the rule of thumb for everyone in the Caribbean. Please, no hard sole shoes onboard! Walking onboard a pristine yacht with your shoes is considered bad etiquette. With the exception of exploring ashore, you will be barefooted ALL of the time.
Do I need to pack sunscreen?
No, we have plenty of both onboard. If you do bring your own, please don't use oily or sprain on lotions which can cause the decks to become slippery and stain the yachts' fine upholstery. We strongly recommend Coppertone Sport SPF30
Can I bring my CD's and my iPod?
Yes! Feel free to bring any of your favorite tunes! We have an extensive music & video library, but it is always fun to listen to something new. We can even hook up your iPod to our stereo system! Also, you will find many books onboard to read while relaxing on deck.
What about making phone calls from the yacht?
Most stateside cellular phones such as AT&T and Sprint will roam in the British Virgin Islands as well as other islands in the Caribbean. Check with your carrier for roaming charges and availablity for both voice and data.
Where can I check my e-mail?
There are lots of new places in the British Virgin Islands where you may go online; but do try to unplug yourself from the world.
Does the British Virgin Islands accept U.S. Currency?
Yes, the BVIs accept U.S. dollars, travelers checks and credit cards in most places. BUT! ATM machines and banks are not located on every island. Please bring a sufficient amount of cash for the week. Banking conveniences in the islands are not as easily available as they are stateside.
Should we dine out?
Yes! Now don't worry. The cuisine on board for your yacht is five-star excellent and included. Your chef has planned for your every need, your every snack, your every beverage and certainly, your every meal. (Fact: 32 meals are planned for every eight day/seven night charter.) The reason to dine out is to explore and enjoy the unique ambiance of the islands. A raucous lunch at Pirates on Norman Island, a quiet lobster dinner ashore in Anegada, or the fun nightlife & dancing after a Foxy's famous Fri/Sat. night barbeques are traditions of the islands and give you a glimpse of the Caribbean that you will cherish.
If you choose to dine out, yes, you pay the bill, but it will be worth it. Most guests find a lunch and a dinner ashore provide the perfect variation to the week that you will enjoy. You might invite the crew, it would be a special treat, but it is not expected. The point is that you enjoy the islands and experience first hand the culture, flavors and people!
As they say, "When in Rome..." You will want to remember that you are visiting a different country. The British Virgin Islands has its own culture and customs that are quite different from the United States. Sometimes we live in such a hectic world that we forget a few common courtesies. A very important rule is to remember in islands to greet the locals with a "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon" or "Good Evening." A smile and a polite greeting may seem very old-fashioned to you, but here it is still very much a part of everyday life. Try it! You will very likely get a broad smile and perhaps even a new friend! In town, the locals generally prefer that you wear a cover-up over your bathing suit. T-shirts and shorts are fine, shoes are optional; but bikini tops are not appropriate.
What other things should I remember?
Bring all your medications. Even some over-the-counter medications that are so easy to find at home are difficult to locate in the British Virgin Islands. If you are concerned about seasickness, then ask your doctor for a prescription for the patch. We have found that using nonprescription acupressure wristbands cures most mild cases of discomfort. Three Moons does carry an extensive first-aid kit. Thankfully, it is rarely if ever needed. Don't forget to bring spare pairs of eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses.
And most importantly...Bring your passport!