Charter trips range from the adventurous to the luxurious, and everything in between. No matter what kind of charter it is, though, and how many times I pack for a boating trip, I still have to think about what the next adventure entails – what the weather will be like, what are the ports of call, what unique events are planned. But the essentials remain the same.
We use a rolling duffel bag that's fully collapsible for ease of storage on the boat, and I always bring the following:
- Two sarongs. They work as cover-ups, beach towel, skirts, or a tablecloth!
- T-shirts, zip-off slacks (creating shorts), and quick-drying underwear
- Hat and loose, long-sleeve light shirt for sun protection
- Flip-flops for showers at a marina
- Keens or other similar waterproof shoes that offer toe protection
- Rain gear – lightweight, heavyweight, or cheap poncho (it covers a backpack)
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Just in case, bring Pepto Bismal, seasickness medicine, Neosporin, ibuprofen, bandages, and moleskin
- Small travel sizes of toiletries now readily available, just enough for your trip
- Insect repellent
- Extra contact lenses, and prescription glasses as backup
- Camera, extra media, spare battery, plus 12-volt inverter to charge batteries
- Dry bag for camera and other non-waterproof things
- Small flashlight for finding your boat or the keyhole
- Small LED headlamp for reading in bed
- Hand-held GPS and VHF
- Extra batteries
- Small calculator
- Plug adapters if traveling in Europe
- Zip-lock bags for galley
- Favorite herbs & spices (in plastic film containers or similar) to add zing to simple dishes
- My ditty bag with extra line, a Leatherman or folding knife, more clothespins
- A small notebook for notes about the trip
- Small backpack for going ashore
- Security pouch for wearing under a shirt
- Copies of our passports, kept separately
- PADI or other diving credential
- Small alarm clock
- Rip-stop bag (folds small) for carrying groceries or beach stuff
- Pocket packs of tissues, and antiseptic sachets for wiping hands, to keep in your backpack
- Tiny bottle of iodine for purifying water
- Net bag to keep your snorkel gear separate in the lazarette, easy to grab, and easy to carry in the dinghy.
Before You Leave
- Take credit cards and ATM cards; call your credit-card issuer to alert them that you'll be in a different location, or when they see foreign charges, they may think someone has stolen your card, and suspend it.
- Pack light, and pack everything in zip-lock bags in case your duffel is left on the runway in the rain, or a container of liquid leaks, or there's an unexpected leak in the boat. Also, everything stays neatly folded even if you or airport-security rummages through your bag.
- Make sure you leave your air and travel schedule with someone at home.