Throughout history, explorers sailed the seas to explore far-off lands and travel great distances. Although sea travel is still very much alive today, this mode of transport is often considered a novelty compared to more convenient land- and air-based options. Still, there is a degree of charm and romance that comes with traveling across the waters like the seafarers of the past.
That being said, traveling by sea can also be a vacation experience in itself. Some tour packages include ferry and sailing excursions to watch marine life or hop around tropical hotspots. There are also cruises that offer buffet dinner options and a luxurious leisure park experience. Such options are ideal for those seeking much-needed rest and relaxation, with the added benefit of traveling amid the calming sea breeze and deep-blue ocean waters.
Are you embarking on a sea journey any time soon? Here’s what you should know before you set sail on your maiden voyage:
Confirm All the Financial Aspects of Your Trip
Commercial sea travel can sometimes cost a lot, especially if you’re traveling via cruise ship. If you’re celebrating a milestone and have a love for the sea, traveling in the lap of luxury might be the perfect option for you—possibly even worth the effort to check out cash loans to help shoulder a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
But just like commercial airlines, sea-based transport channels (especially cruise liners) may require you to pay add-ons to your base fare. As such, you must always read the fine print on your billing and watch out for hidden costs—whether it’s shore excursions, drinks, menu items, spa treatments, internet services, or any other extra charges.
It may help to contact the tour handler, agency, or cruise line if you want a breakdown of what you will be paying for. Although most cruises are typically cashless, you may also want to confirm the currency that they recognize onboard. It would be a good idea to have some pocket money converted to that currency in case you need some while in transit.
Check the Weather Beforehand
You don’t have to be an expert to know that inclement weather can significantly affect sea travel. Generally, it’s not advisable to set sail during winter when large waves are prevalent, increasing your chances of experiencing rough sea conditions. Ideally, you should embark on sea travel during the summer months, when the waters are calm and the weather is fair.
Days before your trip, you may want to monitor the weather forecast to ensure that no storms are ahead. In case of unfavorable weather predictions, make sure to coordinate with your trip handler to reschedule your journey.
Pack Light and Keep Essentials in Handy
Boats and ships generally need to have ample space to prevent overloading and its dire consequences. Therefore, it’s vital to pack light and trim your luggage down to the necessities: your medication, travel documents, phone chargers, and the like. It may also help to keep these essentials in a waterproof carry-on bag that you can conveniently lug around.
If you still have room, you can bring items that may come in handy such as sunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suits, headphones, earplugs, eye masks, and a pair of flip flops or slippers.
Familiarize Yourself with the Vessel
It can be hard to know your way around a ship, especially one as large as a cruise ship. If possible, embark on a virtual tour of the vessel prior to your scheduled departure. Be sure to take note of areas such as your seat or cabin, entry and exit points (including emergency exits), refreshment and concession areas, entertainment areas, and other points of interest. It’s better to have an idea of where things are rather than spend a whole day getting lost.
Attend a Muster Drill (If Applicable)
Typically, a ship’s crew conducts a muster drill ahead of departure to give passengers an overview of what to do in case of an emergency on the ship. Common discussion points during muster drills include how to use life jackets and where to assemble during emergency situations. These drills include potentially life-saving information, so it’s best not to skip them for your own good.
Watch Out for Seasickness
Lastly, it would be wise to prepare for the most common cause of discomfort during sea travel: seasickness. If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking anti-nausea medication at least six hours before the trip. You should also avoid alcohol and don’t eat too much food, especially meals that are too acidic, fatty, or spicy.
Instead of these meals which might exacerbate your digestive issues, consider eating light meals and drinking lots of water. You may want to consume foods and beverages with ingredients that have purported anti-seasickness benefits such as ginger, peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and lemon.
If you’re already feeling the onset of seasickness, it’s generally recommended to sit in an area where you can take in fresh air and focus on the horizon.
Tread the Waters Smoothly by Preparing Ahead
On top of all these things, you must also remember a few more tips to make your sea journey as smooth as possible. If you don’t have one yet, purchase travel insurance to shoulder financial burdens in case of emergencies and travel delays. As with any insurance policy, be sure to read the fine print to ensure sufficient coverage.
Once on board, you may want to avoid making calls or using your phone a lot. Making calls under international roaming rates is often pricey, so it’s best to turn on airplane mode, focus on savoring the moment, and veer away from using your phone while onboard. If your tour package includes on-shore activities, make sure to align your watch with the ship’s clock, don’t go too far when swimming in open waters, and avoid offloading food from the ship to prevent issues with port security.
Lastly, it’s important to mind your pace and don’t force yourself to speed up your experience. Traveling by sea is supposed to relax you with a slower way of traveling—not overwhelm you with pressure to enjoy everything in a single day. Ultimately, it’s best to bear in mind the main objective of modern-day sea journeys, which is to wind down and come out more rejuvenated than before.