Taking a vacation isn’t just a way to spend time with your family. It gives you a chance to unplug and it’s good for your health.
One of the most important and overlooked aspects of a vacation is relaxation. People routinely overschedule their vacations and come back exhausted. A houseboat vacation offers you a way to avoid this problem.
You spend most of your time out on the water, rather than trying to cram in visits to tourist sites. Even so, there are some things you must deal with ahead of time to keep your houseboat vacation as relaxing as possible.
Let’s jump in and help you plan for relaxation.
1. Mind the Weather
Weather is a make or break factor when planning a houseboat vacation. The problem is that weather is increasingly unpredictable the farther out you set your plans.
Let’s say you plan on a getting a houseboat on the Florida coast for your vacation. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 until Nov. 30.
Maybe you’re thinking about going to India to rent a houseboat. You should know ahead of time that monsoon season runs from June until September.
Just because it’s the season for rough weather, it doesn’t mean you’ll see it. It does mean that you must consider the possibility that bad weather will disrupt your vacation.
Make up a backup plan for where you’ll stay if bad weather makes your houseboat a non-starter. Check the reviews for some local hotels in the area. Email or call a week ahead of time and get a sense of whether those hotels will have vacancies.
A little contingency planning can go a long way toward avoiding excessive stress if the weather turns.
2. Food for Your Houseboat Vacation
Your meal planning depends a lot on where you go and what you plan to do.
Say that you rent a houseboat near a town or city and just plan on day cruises. You can get away with bringing non-perishable items, such as:
- salt and pepper
- canned goods
You can supplement these supplies with fresh fruits, veggies, and meats that you buy locally. If you visit Maine, for example, you can take advantage of the year-round lobster fishing.
You must bring everything you’ll need if you plan on taking your houseboat out on the water for several days.
Houseboats often come with a fridge, but they’re generally too small for any serious storage. Stick with non-perishable versions of items, such as non-dairy or powdered coffee creamer.
Buy and freeze any meat you want ahead of time. You can pack the frozen meat in Styrofoam containers with dry ice.
Dry ice can damage your skin, so only handle it with gloves or a thick towel. Tape the containers closed to avoid accidental skin contact.
Stick with fresh fruits and veggies that hold up well at room temperature, such as apples, carrots, onions, and potatoes.
3. Linens and Bedding
Always ask the rental company about linens and bedding when planning your houseboat vacation. Some companies provide them, some don’t, and some only provide them with luxury packages.
If possible, assign each person a color of linen. Figuring out which white facecloth belongs to which person after three days is almost impossible.
Think you put enough dish towels in your car for the trip? You didn’t. Add some more.
Even if you expect warm weather and bring along sleeping bags, include some fitted sheets. The last thing you want is your face stuck to a vinyl cushion.
4. Bring Some Entertainment
While a portable DVD player is probably overkill, you will want to take some distractions.
If it’s a family trip, consider some magnetic travel board games. They’re usually smaller than at-home versions. A deck of cards or specific card games are another compact option.
E-readers and tablet computers are an option, but with definite pros and cons.
On the pro side, they give you access to eBooks, audiobooks, and any installed games.
On the con side, you’ll need a houseboat with electricity if you want to use them for more than a day. There’s also a real risk of the device going over the side of the boat. Taking them along defeats the point if you’re trying to unplug for a few days.
5. Don’t Forget Medical Supplies
No one wants injuries on a houseboat vacation, but they still happen. People can slip, fall, or get cut.
Make sure you bring along a well-stocked first aid kit. Some common supplies your kit needs include:
- elastic wrap bandages
- adhesive tape
- antibiotic cream or ointment
- over-the-counter pain relievers
- latex gloves
- cold packs
- first aid manual
If you already own a kit, go through it ahead of time. Look for out of date medications or ointments and replace them.
Some kits include a flashlight, spare batteries, or both. Replace all the batteries.
6. Reserve Your Houseboat Far in Advance
The farther in advance you reserve your houseboat, the easier it is to get the dates you want.
Think of it like reserving hotel rooms. If there’s a big holiday weekend, finding rooms gets difficult the closer you get to the date. Try reserving a room the week before and you may be out of luck.
Reserving early makes the process much less stressful. You spend less time juggling vacation days and more time planning for fun.
Whether you take a traditional vacation or a houseboat vacation, there are things you must deal with ahead of time. Dealing with them helps ensure that your vacation is relaxing, instead of a travel horror story.
Make sure you know what kind of weather you can expect at your destination on your preferred dates. Plan for alternative lodgings if severe weather is possible.
Build a food plan based on your expected time out on the water. If you aren’t planning on coming to shore for a few days, you must take your fresh foods with you.
Make sure you include some entertainment options and medical supplies. No one suffers if you don’t need them, but it’s better to be prepared.
Make your reservations as far in advance as you can. It helps you avoid juggling vacation days.
Planning a weekend adventure for your friends? Check our picks for the best houseboat rental locations for a girls weekend.