Top 6 Yacht Charter Planning Tips [GUIDE]

Considering booking a yacht charter? Here are six things you should know.

Table of Contents

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When to Book Your Yacht Charter

It’s best to book your yacht charter at least 10 months prior to when you want to travel, especially when booking during the “high” or busy season. This allows you to have first-choice on your boat and more flexibility in the planning process.

When traveling on the water at certain points of the year, you’re at risk of encountering stormy weather. As mentioned earlier, hurricane season will be different in various areas of the globe, but typically early summer through late fall is the peak time for hurricanes to produce if the right weather allows. Our biggest tip –get insured before a storm is announced!

there's a hurricane or bad weather where im traveling

If you purchase a policy that insures against bad weather, you could receive a reimbursement of your trip cost if the storm causes you to cancel your trip. Just note that insuring your nonrefundable trip cost the earlier is best –once the hurricane is named and you don’t have travel insurance, you’ll be out of luck. Our team is here to answer your questions or help you find the right policy, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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What is the Cost of a Yacht Charter?

Because there are so many options when it comes to selecting your perfect yacht charter, the price from one to the other really does vary. Things that factor into the price of a yacht charter include:

  • All-inclusive or not
  • The size of the ship
  • The type of yacht
  • The time of the charter
  • Length of trip
  • Destination of the yacht charter
  • End-of-trip expenses
  • Charter itinerary
  • Crew gratuities

That being said, you have a say in how much you want to spend on your trip. More affordable charters might start around $10,000 and superyacht charters can range higher than $150,000. If price is a factor, make sure to talk with your yacht broker or agent about it prior to booking. If you’re looking for some tips on how you can save some money, keep reading down below for our yacht charter planning tips.

Is a yacht charter all-inclusive?

Some, but not all yacht charters are all-inclusive. Similar to all-inclusive resorts, an all-inclusive type of yacht charter typically includes the cost of the crew, food, drinks, fuel, and possibly other fun things like water sports vehicles. It isn’t the most commonly-opted type of charter compared to the better known “plus expenses” type of charter where you pay a base fee and are charged for the rest of the other expenses separately.

How much do you tip for a yacht charter?

Just like eating out at a restaurant, it’s not required you tip your charter crew, but we’d recommend it and would say your crew would greatly appreciate it. The average tip rate is anywhere from 15 – 20%, usually paid at the end of the charter to express your thanks to the crew.

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When to Travel

The time in which you take your charter can easily play the biggest factor in how much you’ll enjoy your vacation away. This is because there are different “yachting seasons” and one could be better than the other depending on the destination and busyness of the chartering calendar. Winter and summer seasons describe the different points of the year and will help you determine the best time to travel to a certain location. The “high” and “low” seasons describe the frequency of bookings ramping up or slowing down. Let’s break how long yacht chartering season is, shall we?

Winter — Contrary to the snow and cold many of us experience in our calendar year, the winter yachting season actually occurs from April – October. This is the best time to take a yacht charter in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, or Florida.

Summer — Despite not being warm in many areas of the U.S. during November – April, this time period is considered the summer yachting season. The summer season is the best time to take a yacht charter to regions like Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

High — As you might have guessed, the high season relates to the busier time in the yachting year. During the winter season, the months of December are the busiest due to the holidays. In the summer, the busiest months are July and August. Be sure to book your cruise pretty far in advance if wanting to travel during the “high” season as boat and itinerary selections become slim the longer you wait.

Low — The low season refers to the slower booking times in the yachting calendar. The less busy times of the yachting calendar are January – June, and September – November. You’ll likely find good deals when traveling during this time, but the weather might not be as ideal as during the peak or “high” season.

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Ideal Charter Destinations

There are stunning yacht chartering destinations all over the world –it’s hard to choose a favorite! Below you’ll find a few of the most popular locations to charter to help you determine which region might be best for the type of vacation you want.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Caribbean Yacht Charters

BVI Yacht Charters

You’ll enjoy a yachter charter to the British Virgin Islands the most during the “winter” season, especially during August and September when the water is warm and the sun is hot in the Caribbean region. Be wary that hurricane season is June – October and make sure to get travel insurance to protect the cost of your charter in case you’d need to cancel. You’ll find out more about travel insurance further down in the article.

scenery of British Virgin Islands looking out into the ocean

Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the current travel safety tips and restrictions for the British Virgin Islands before booking!

Bahamas Yacht Charters

There are two great places to charter to when visiting the Bahamas: Exumas and Abaco. The best time to visit the Bahamas in general on a yacht charter is between December and April, during the high season and when the weather is a bit cooler. Many cruisers love chartering the Bahamas (and the Caribbean in general) for its crystal-clear blue water and white sand beaches.

Bahamas scenery with yacht ships in blue water

Travel Safety Guide — Want more information on if the Bahamas is safe and what’s open during the COVID-19 pandemic? We’ve written a comprehensive guide based on current government regulations that will help you prepare for a safe vacation to the Bahamas.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Mediterranean Yacht Charters

Luxury Croatia Yacht Charters

In the world of luxury yacht charters, the Mediterranean offers the most. It’s a great way to experience several cultures and many different regions in one trip. The best time to visit the Mediterranean on a yacht charter is from April to October. If you’re looking to avoid crowds of tourists, try booking your charter during the low season from April to May and September to October. 

marina in croatia

blue outline of arrow pointing right Domestic Yacht Charters

Florida Yacht Charters

Florida is among the most popular destination in the United States for yacht chartering, which isn’t surprising! From the vast ocean off the shore to the beautiful inland, Florida is a monumental area for all things watercraft. It’s also great for those not wanting to fly internationally to get to their port of call. We recommend taking a yacht charter from November – May for more dependable weather and better temperatures. You’ll find fantastic charters out of destinations like Miami, the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West.

charter boating near large villa in Florida

Even though you won’t be leaving the United States on this Florida yacht charter, it’s always helpful to read about the current Florida travel restrictions before booking your trip.

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Type of Charter

Technically, there are three main types of charters that exist: bareboat, skippered, and crewed. We’ll break each one down below.

Bareboat Charter — You’ll be sailing the fully-equipped boat yourself without a pre-hired full crew to help navigate, which requires you to have a skipper license. Of course, if you want a crew to join you, you’ll need to hire them yourself.

Skippered Charter — Opting for a skippered boat will allow you to fully relax since they will navigate the ship, help with local knowledge, and help you select where you want to sail. Keep in mind there won’t be a crew to cook meals and prepare beverages, so if you’re okay with that then sail on!

Crewed Charter — Booking a fully crewed yacht charter means the crew will navigate and sail the ship in addition to providing you with meals and beverages each day of the charter. Another benefit of having a crew on your yacht charter is that they offer itinerary recommendations and some even do great at entertaining your kids while you enjoy some time alone with your significant other.

There’s also what’s called a cabin charter, which means you’ll be renting out a cabin on a yacht with a group of other people you might not know. This option is great if your budget is limited or you weren’t able to get a full party to travel with you. It’s a great way to still be able to experience a yacht charter without the full cost.

Want to know what type of boat you should select based on the type of charter you’d like to have? Keep scrolling to read about different types of charter boats and what they have to offer.

blue outline of arrow pointing right  Catamaran Yachts

One of the most popular types of charters is catamaran charters. They are just as big and luxurious as motor yachts, but you can also sail with them. Plus, since catamarans are usually double-hulled, there are two separate sleeping and accommodation areas –a great feature if traveling with family and friend groups and wanting extra privacy. If you’re looking for a step up in quality, we recommend searching for a luxury catamaran yacht charter for the most tricked-out vacation.

two catamaran yacht boats on the water

blue outline of arrow pointing right  Sailing Yachts

Sailing yacht charters offer more adventure than a motor yacht since they are wind-powered via sails. You’ll even see some sailing yachts compete in regattas or yacht races. Sailing yacht boats are a great option if you want to learn more about sailing from the crew, fishing, and even expeditions in places motor yachts aren’t able to go. Luxury sailing yacht charters are top of the line when it comes to having a memorable experience sailing in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

sailing yacht boat on the water

blue outline of arrow pointing right  Motor Yachts

Motor yachts are known for their large decks and overall space on the boat, which is great if you’re chartering with your group of friends or various family members. Superyachts are included in the motor yacht category if not multi-hulled and are deemed “luxury yachts” for a reason –their sheer size and luxurious accommodations. Superyachts offer many different types of luxury amenities, which is a perfect option for families since there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

motor yacht boat on the water
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Travel Insurance

Booking your charter early offers you benefits, but you’ll want to also look into protecting your trip investment with travel insurance right away too. Most charters allow you to insure against the loss of your security deposit, but that’s only a portion of your trip cost. Yacht charters can be a big chunk of change and we’d hate to see you lose that if you suddenly needed to cancel your vacation from something unexpected. Check out these reasons why travel insurance is important:

  • You’re traveling during hurricane season and you’re worried bad weather will cause your trip to be canceled.
  • Your partner traveling with you becomes ill at the last-minute, causing you to cancel your charter.
  • A natural disaster hits one of the destinations on your itinerary and you lose the cost of the excursion you booked in advance.
  • You contract COVID-19 during your trip and you have to pay for unexpected additional hotel and meal expenses.
  • A sudden work commitment comes up, causing you to cancel your scheduled charter trip.
a couple sitting on a yacht drinking champagne

If you are concerned about border closures, travel advisories, travel suppliers cancelling, or fear of travel, we’d recommend looking into a specific upgrade to trip cancellation coverage called Cancel for Any Reason. This benefit offers the most cancellation flexibility in the travel insurance industry, allowing you to cancel for any reason at all and receiving a portion of your trip cost back. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • You must purchase the policy within the time-sensitive period — usually within 1-21 days of your initial deposit or payment.
  • You must insure all nonrefundable costs under your travel insurance policy (nonrefundable flights, prepaid charter costs, paid-in-advance tours or excursions, etc.).
  • You must cancel your trip at least two days prior to your departure date.
i need to cancel my trip for any reason

Luckily, comparing and buying travel insurance is easy on Yonder. Use our free quote tool to search and compare policies side-by-side based on your trip and coverage needs. If you need a policy recommendation or have any questions about coverage, our team of friendly humans is available to answer an email or call.

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There’s a lot involved in planning a yacht charter, but we hope these tips direct you to your next planning steps on selecting the perfect charter vacation. If you’re worried about moving forward in your travel plans, checking out travel insurance could calm your nerves and protect the investment you made in booking your charter in the event you have to cancel. Our team of friendly humans would be happy to help answer any questions you have about travel insurance or getting a quote, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

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