Boating on a budget: 3 cheap alternatives

Boating holidays don't necessarily mean overpriced cruises, expensive yachts or saving for years to buy your own vessel. Holidaymakers searching for open water this summer have several cheap alternatives to entertain family, friends and couples on a budget.

Start by using Money Dashboard's free budgeting software to view all of your accounts in a single place, monitoring income and outgoings to assess exactly how much disposable income you have to spend each week, month and year. Then you can see how that weighs up against our budget boating alternatives, and which options might take a bit of saving up.

1. Social sailing

If you're the kind of social traveller who befriends the locals, or shares sun tan lotion with the family from the next room, then social sailing is the option for you.

Companies such as Sailing Holidays offer seafarers the chance to share a ship with groups of other travellers, so you get the hands-on approach of a yachting trip, but without the cost of chartering your own yacht. What's more, you'll finish the trip with new friends as well as new memories.

If you'd prefer slightly less close quarters with strange sailors, firms like Sunsail offer 'flotilla holidays', in which you save money by joining a fleet of yachts supported by dedicated crew who are always close by, rather than hiring crew specifically for your own boat. Best of all, you choose whether you share or stay solo, and how involved you are with the flotilla. It's like a holiday resort at sea.

2. Boat shares & boating clubs

Like a timeshare, but with boats, boat shares enable thrifty seafarers to get their regular dose of sun, sea and fresh air, without getting into debt to buy a boat. There's no need to sacrifice any of the peace and quiet that can be found on the open ocean either.

FlexiSail is one of several groups who offer boat share services. Members can choose whether they need priority access in peak, off-peak or all times, with fees starting from £360 per month. And once you've organised your finances and money saving schemes with Money Dashboard, you'll be planning to upgrade your boat share membership in no time.

If you're on a tighter budget, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) database can point you to your nearest boating club. Whether you're seeking the thrills of powerboat racing or some low-key dinghy cruising, the RYA can help identify a club that offers meetings, rentals and training.

3. Canal Boats

Also known as narrowboats, these uniquely British boats are the seafarer's staycation. Quirky, slim and specifically designed to navigate the UK's waterways, canal holidays also offer extremely good value for money. A family of four can cruise the lochs and canals of Scotland, or the Norfolk broads, this summer from as little as £28 per person, per night with holiday providers including Hoseasons and Discount Boat Hire.

It might not have the glamour of the Mediterranean, or the adrenaline rush of a speed boat, but narrowboat holidays come with the freedom to moor and explore across the UK.

With all these options ready and waiting, it's time to take the first step: open your Money Dashboard account today and get a clear view of your finances.


Posted by Money Dashboard

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