Things to Consider when Planning your Trip|
Time of the Year: What time of the year do you want to charter - summer, winter, or in between? And are you talking about your season or the season where you'll be chartering? Remember that seasons are reversed north or south of the equator!
The time period that you pick can have a significant impact upon the cost of your bareboat vacation. One way or the other, you're going to need to make a decision: Do you want to charter when the weather is at it's best and the prices at their highest, or will you accept a less favorable time period when prices are much lower? In many instances the cost of a bareboat can double during the high season so this is a decision that should not be taken lightly!
Day of the Week: Most people prefer to start and end their charter on a weekend to avoid taking more time off work than is necessary. However there are two reasons that you might want to start on a weekday instead: (1) Airfare costs less, flights are easier to find and you might find frequent flyer awards easier to get. (2) During popular periods, starting midweek helps you avoid the crowds, as there's usually a logical route to follow at any given charter destination and you'll be out of sync with most of the other boats.
Where to Charter: Charter Destinations provides you with a listing of all of the charter areas presently covered by eBare.com. Clicking on any of them will take you to a page where, among other things, you can find out what the weather is like at any time of the year.
Weather: The best weather and the highest prices generally coincide, as do the worst weather and the lowest prices. Other factors can influence price as well - for example; holiday periods could cost more even when the weather is not ideal.
Bareboat Pricing: Bareboat Companies have established a multi-level pricing structure in an effort to keep fleet utilization high throughout the year. For example the least costly time to charter a yacht in the Caribbean is during the height of the hurricane season and the highest pricing period is over the Christmas/New Years holidays and during February, March and early April.
The weekly rate for yachts during high season is nearly double their rate during the lowest pricing period taking free days into consideration. During the remainder of the year, "shoulder" seasons are priced somewhere in between these two extremes.
Comparing Prices: As no two bareboat companies agree on exactly when the seasons change you'll find that one company may represent a better value in January while another has the pricing edge in February. Always check pricing for the particular time period that you have chosen. Changing your dates by even a few days will often make a big difference in your charter cost.
Having Your Cake and Eating It Too: Certain times of the year can provide both lower prices and the expectation of good weather, too. Prices tend to be lower just before or just after the Christmas/New Years period as most people do not tend to vacation then. For example, in the Virgin Islands the 2000 price of a new Lagoon 410 catamaran from TMM in mid-December was just $3890, while a week later that same yacht chartered for $6170! In January this same catamaran dropped to $5220 before returning to $6170 in February. If you are flexible on dates, use supply and demand to your advantage!
Summers in the Caribbean: If school holidays dictate that you must charter during the summer months and you wish to charter in the Caribbean, Florida or the Bahamas we strongly recommend planning your charter for June or early July. Temperatures are a little cooler, the wind's a little stronger, and chances of a tropical weather disturbance are quite low. If you want to sail the Caribbean on yacht with four or more cabins in June or July, book it up to a year in advance as otherwise you may find it sold out! Organizations charter these particular yachts way ahead of time to use for sailing camps for school children during the summer holidays.
Book Well in Advance: Book as far ahead of time as you can, particularly for high season. In some cases a year in advance is none too soon! That way you can get the boat that you want - not choose from the boats that are left. You can sometimes find last-minute specials that offer price savings, but bear in mind that the yachts offered are the ones that nobody else wanted and that the savings you get on the yacht are usually offset by the cost of last-minute airfare.
Don't Shop on Price Alone: Avoid the temptation to charter the cheapest yacht you can find unless you really can't afford better! The cost of the yacht is just a fraction of your overall trip expense. See our separate sections on Budgeting Considerations. and Comparing Bareboat Companies
Contact us: And let us know what "words of wisdom" we've failed to mention in this section. We value your suggestions. Send us an e-mail and thank you for participating!