The price of a sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands can vary
tremendously. Cost can vary from a couple of thousand to tens of
thousands.Â How much a sailing trip to the BVI will
cost you depends on:
- Travel – your airfare to the British Virgin Islands will be a big part of your expenses.
- Hotel – you will probably stay in a hotel the first night and the last night of your trip.
- How long your trip is – staying for two weeks is more expensive than staying for a week, but not twice as expensive.
- Boat – different sizes and types of boat can change your cost significantly.
- Food – eating out is a lot more expensive than eating on your boat.
- Bareboat or crewed – bareboating, or “doing it yourself”, is much cheaper than getting a crewed boat but there are many different ways to get help.
- When you go – the price of the boat will vary greatly depending on the season. Your airfare will also vary depending on the season and even the day of the week.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
- Travel. Your airfare to the British Virgin Islands will be a big part of your expenses. To get a rough idea of how much your trip will cost, search in your favorite travel engine (try Kayak if you don’t have one) for a roundtrip fare from your home airport to Road Town (EIS). Then do a search for a roundtrip airfare from your home airport to St Thomas (STT) and add about $100 for ferry fees. (See How to get to the British Virgin Islands for more detail.)
- Hotel – you will probably stay in a hotel the first night and the last night of your trip. For the night before, I recommend staying in a hotel very close to where you are getting your boat. Alternatively, most charter companies will let you stay on the boat the night before. If you have multiple couples going, this is not only cheaper, but will enable you to get all your gear and groceries on board the night before so you can get an earlier start the next day. The last night you will want your hotel room with its full size shower and room to pack your bags for the trip home.
- How long your trip is – staying for two weeks is more expensive than staying for a week, but not twice as expensive. When you stay longer some things, like airfare and hotel expenses, will cost the same. Others, such as the boat and food, will be more expensive.
- Boat – different sizes and types of boat can change your cost significantly. Some of the factors are:
- length – the bigger the boat, the more expensive it will be. Make sure you have a cabin for every two people.
- catamaran versus monohull – catamarans are more expensive but they have a lot more room.
- age – the older the boat, the cheaper it will be.
You can check out the charter companies website or call and ask for their price list. Footloose Charters will give you online quotes so you can get a quick estimate.
- Food – eating out is a lot more expensive than eating on your boat. You will order groceries for your boat, and while they are a little more expensive than at home, they are much, much cheaper than eating out in the BVI. Eating out will easily run you $50/person/meal. I recommend eating steak, hamburgers and hot dogs on the boat and then having a beer at the beach bar/restaurant. Keep in mind that few restaurants have kids’ meals.
- Bareboat or crewed – bareboating, or “doing it yourself” is much cheaper than getting a crewed boat but there are many different ways to get help. The cheapest way to sail is to bareboat – that means you get the boat without any people to help you. If you need help, you can hire a skipper (someone to help sail the boat) or a chef (someone to cook for you) or you can just go for a crewed vacation where everything is taken care of and planned for you. You will get all
your meals cooked and someone will sail the boat but you’ll still get to decide where you go and what you do. Another cheap alternative to the crewed boat option for those that don’t know how to sail is ask one of your sailing friends to go with you. Most of us love sailing and would jump on a chance to go on a vacation. If you are asking them to do most of the planning and to go with your family and friends, you might want to offer to pay for their trip in exchange for their work.
- When you go. Christmas time and spring break are two very popular, and therefore expensive, times to go to the British Virgin Islands. Summer time is much cheaper. It’s a little warmer, a little muggier but still a great time to go. Note that many of the beach bars close down August through October.
What other things would you add to this list of things that can change the cost of your trip? Any questions?