You’ve picked the perfect Horizon charter yacht vacation, your flights are booked and your bags are almost packed… except you’re wondering how you’re meant to pack everything to sail, swim, snorkel, sunbathe and sip cocktails into one bag!? Fear not, here is your packing guide for your dream trip.
What to Wear
You’re off to the sunny Caribbean, land of bikinis and boardshorts but it gets cooler when the sun sets so make sure you have something to keep off the winter chill. If you’re eating in a restaurant on the beach, the attire should be for a restaurant, not a beach. You’ll need shirts and shoes but they can be a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops! In the summer, mosquitoes can be around when the wind dies in the evening, so consider applying bug spray. (Horizon provide a bottle and most restaurants have it). I find light long trousers perfect and remember to take a towel to save your backside from a wet dinghy ride.
During the daytime heat, opt for shorts, shirts and dresses. For a sporty look, there are endless rash guard and surf shirt options. If that’s not your style, then go for light and airy linen or cotton. Horizon offers a range of cotton and fast dry wicking t-shirts in both long and short sleeves. Of course, you can’t forget your bathing suit. Bring a couple with you but the island has endless options so I recommend treating yourself to something unique. I always like to have a rash guard or quick dry top to protect my back from the sun when snorkelling. If you’re a scuba diver, the dive shops have wetsuits you can rent but if you would prefer to bring your own then I find a shortie wetsuit is all you need for dives up to 90ft.
Expensive cameras and saltwater don’t mix well, your phone is enough for most photos and you can get great cases for underwater shots online. Not all yachts have USB outlets but you will have a 12V socket so bring along a USB adapter to use for charging electronics. Powerbanks are also excellent for charging multiple devices. The 110V sockets on the boat will only work when the inverter is on (or generator on boats that have them) or when you’re onshore power. A headtorch is always handy to have in case you wake up during the night. Your boat will have a sound system so bring your favourite playlists.
Kids and boats are a great mix. For peace of mind with little one’s lifejackets are a must. Horizon supplies one kids lifejacket per yacht, but check with the base if you need more, or bring your own, as some are less bulky than others. If you get a lifejacket before you fly, your kids can get used to wearing it at home before your trip so they know what to expect once they’re on the water. Exploring the boat is only half the fun, don’t miss out on finding out what’s happening underwater too. You can bring your own mask, snorkel and fins or buy or rent them from Blue Water Divers next to Horizon. I recommend buying at least your own snorkel, although the rental gear is heavily sanitised. Fish books and cards are awesome for young adventurers.
Budding sailors might like a “learn to crew” sailing book so they can join in on the sailing fun. As Horizon is an ASA sailing school, you can get these at the base. A sailor’s “diary” is called a Log Book. While Horizon also sells “ASA” logbooks, kid’s logbooks are a great way for little ones to write about their adventures, draw tropical fish they see and note down the best beaches for sandcastle building. An “amusement arcade” of travel games is a good idea to keep little minds busy while a squall passes through or while the adults are enjoying sundowners. Waboba bouncing water balls are available from Arawak boutique (adjacent to Horizons dock) for fun in the shallows, and buckets and spades are available on island. Horizon will even put them aboard for you prior to your arrival.
Sunglasses are best with a retainer… the same rule applies to caps. Polarized sunglasses are ideal for protecting your eyes and enabling you to see underwater shoals and fish. Horizon yachts have full coverage biminis, but you may want to pack a cap or hat – Horizon sells sailing caps and the all-important clip retainers to stop them blowing off your head. I like to sail in shoes, to stop stubbing my toes, so pack deck shoes or any non-marking shoes with grippy soles. If you have keyboard soft hands, consider packing your sailing gloves, also available from Nanny Cay Chandlery. I find a 10L dry bag is a perfect size for going ashore, you can find them online quite cheaply.
In your hand luggage have a watertight bag with your passport, insurance paperwork, driving license, any sailing qualifications and any prescriptions. I usually also bring a small first aid kit with mild painkillers, seasickness tablets and band-aids. ( Yachts do have first aid kits). Bring your own water bottle (or pick up an awesome Horizon one) to help stay hydrated, and reduce single-use plastic consumption.
Nowadays, you can find almost everything you need on the islands. You are far more likely to overpack than under-pack. Once you’ve packed your bag take a deep breath, go through your list again, take out anything you’ve packed 5 of “just in case”, and then zip it up and get excited for your holidays!