I like to compare country-hopping to speed-dating. Speed-dating can either make for an enjoyable or a dire night out. Can meeting lots of new people in one night be exciting? Or is spending your night making quick-fire conversation at random people completely agonising? With limited time off in destinations, sometimes yachties only have the chance to speed-date new destinations.

When it comes to rushed time off, there are a few ways in which you can make sure you get the best date.

The Research

Living in a world where information can be on overload and every answer to (near enough) every question is at your fingertips, there is huge scope to find out about a place before you even tie up to the dock. With so many avenues of research from travel guides, travel blogs, review websites, social media to travel app’s it is easy to get as much knowledge as possible. Be sure to check out the Wanderlust section on here, which provides some inspiring ideas within destinations that you may find yourself. On top of technological ways there is also that old-fashioned, word of mouth concept – for yachties this is handy as we tend to be in similar destinations and can understand time constraints. Speaking to people in a new destination can help shed light on some of the best things to do, marina staff can be very helpful in making crew feel welcome and providing information.

The Exploring

The destination depends on what type of exploring you can get done in your short stint off. Whether it is adrenaline-fueled rainforest activities, relaxing beach days, busy tourist attraction exploring, trying to grasp a new sport, testing local fare or wandering through new cities. In yachting, it is common for your world to regularly be opened up to new places; new destinations and experiences can make for more exciting time off.

The plan

Once you are armed with a bundle of information on the destination, the next step in this speed-dating conundrum is to plan. Filtering out the research overload can help you decide what it is you want to see in that country. A plan will help you get organized and save you from last minute disappointments, so book up any activities, tours and or restaurants that you are keen to try out. Local yacht agents can help you book things up; they have great contacts, which will make planning your day off even easier. If you are looking to explore further afield, they can also arrange transport for you, from providing you with public transport information to getting you a hire car.

The day

Start your day by waking early. This not only increases your time off but there are also endless benefits to being an early bird, from beating the tourist crowds, getting out before the sun’s too hot to getting a good beach spot. Marinas tend to be centrally located so you won’t have far to travel to start your day. In a place where there is lots to choose from, an itinerary is a good idea. Don’t try and cram in every single attraction, pick a couple and then spend the rest of the time getting a feel for the place, wander around, meet locals and eat and drink the local specialties. Some believe that itinerary planning can ruin the romanticism of stepping foot in a new country, so don’t rule out spontaneity altogether if you come across something exciting; be open to altering your plans.

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The company

Limited time off is best spent in favoured company, make sure you know who will be off watch and ready to explore with you. Exploring with limited time means you can’t have any crew members that will hold you back, choose your explorers carefully. If you need space away from your crew family solo traveling can also be rewarding, having a quick stint away exploring by yourself can make for a refreshing break.

With good research and an itinerary with the right people, you may even get a second date out of your destination from now on.

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