What To Pack: Sailing in Croatia

If you're following along on Instagram, you may have noticed that I've recently (and reluctantly) returned from traveling in Croatia. I went on the Dalmatian Voyager Tour on the Adriatic Sea with Koda Sail in partnership with The Jet Sect. The 8 days of sailing began bright and early on a Saturday morning, and we traveled from Split harbor making stops in beautiful cities like Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Makarska. And this trip easily turned out to be the best I've taken so far, more details on this to come..

But let's go back to my experience just before the trip.. I'd never been on a sailing tour, to Croatia, nor even a culturally similar European country; so I went in with little to no idea what to expect in almost every sense. My type-A personality decided to take charge of the only variable I felt I could control, which lead me to staying up late (10:30 pm is late for me, okay?) extensively researching what to pack. I scoured Pinterest for packing lists and infographs, and got myself into a pretty deep hole of Croatian bar, club, and restaurant Instagram accounts looking for inspiration.

 

 
suitcase
 

Going in, I felt pretty confident. So confident, I took images in order to write out a post about packing before I'd even left-- good thing I didn't get to it.. because I came up short. 

I was a bit let down when I arrived and realized I'd overpacked and almost completely missed the boat (intended) on the style, activities, and weather I'd be dealing with over the next week. 

These are the things I wish I'd known before packing my bags to go sailing in Croatia. Hopefully I can help you avoid the mistakes I made, and come to understand that less is more -- so you'll know exactly what to bring (and what you'll seriously regret packing when you're struggling to carry your suitcase across a few yachts at 9 am on two consecutive Saturday mornings). 

 
 

Here's the full run down with a ton of options for each category. For a simplified outline, head to the bottom of the page!

 

First, you'll need an oversized carry-on. Chances are you'll be on a connecting flight and nothing is worse than the airline "temporarily misplacing" your checked luggage. The size of a carry-on will keep you humble and your wardrobe AMAP (as minimal as possible -- let's make this a thing). 

Personally, I use Away's The Bigger Carry On in white. Yes, it gets marked up on every flight I take (no matter how careful I am), but the magic eraser is truly magical. 


In addition to your suitcase, I wouldn't recommend bringing more than a crossbody bag and a small backpack. Both of these options allow you to keep your hands free, and considering airport transfers, taxi rides, and the cobblestone streets you'll likely be rolling your suitcase up and down-- hands free is key. 


 

Next up is swimwear. You'll be living on the water, remember? 

Only thing I can say is make sure your suits have a uniform cut. The sun is strong and I may or may not have burnt a large (non-sun-kissed) portion my backside while lying on a unicorn float..  worth it, but don't forget the aloe!


You'll be spending a significant amount of your trip hanging out on the boat between stops, more than likely with your bathing suit on. You'll be spending some time laying on the roof deck between swim stops, eating meals, and just lounging around with new friends. You'll want to have a few loose, relaxed-fit options for these moments.  

I was barefoot for most of my time on the boat, but a pair of flip flops (thongs for my Aussies) or slides would work too (I've added some of my favorites a bit further down below). 


 

Europe is hot in the summer (surprise!). Far more hot than I expected (not so pleasant surprise for me!). Apparently there was a heat wave in action, but either way, if you can pack clothes that will help you avoid stepping outside and immediately being drenched in sweat (like I was), I'll have done my job. Here's what I wish I had brought along:

Getting the chance to explore new, often very crowded, cities is an amazing experience.More amazing if you're comfortable and as cool as possible. Pants, jeans, long sleeves, jackets, and even maxi dresses are too much.  Keep it light, keep it minimal. 


 

Now on to the fun stuff.. I didn't know what to expect, but Croatia had some serious nightlife. During my trip, we went out every night in some capacity. Some nights we took over a small bar on the main street, others we weaved our way through the narrow streets to end up at a hideaway/locals spot, and a few nights were spent at full blown clubs-- bottle service, DJs, body-painted dancers; one club in particular was on its own island.. so here's my diverse selection of inspirational choices for your nights out:

Based on what I read online before packing, I didn't bring heels. Most articles made it a point to say that the old cobblestone streets would be a nightmare in anything but sandals.. which I can understand, but has anyone ever been to the Meatpacking District in NYC? Those cobblestones don't seem to stop anyone from strutting around 4 to 6 inches off of the ground.. so I would suggest bringing one pair of either wedges or block-heeled sandals, if you're accustomed to wearing heels with dresses and skirts, as I am. 


 

As far as working out goes, all I can say is good luck. And this is coming from a personal trainer who writes travel programs for her clients to do while they're away, even if only for the weekend.

But it was just SO HOT. I worked out twice, each workout lasted for less than 30 minutes, and I couldn't get my body to cool down for hours after I'd finished. My trip with Koda Sail included a ton of walking, excursions like zip lining, bike rides, whitewater rafting, and an excessive amount of (screaming and) jumping off of the side of the boat, so in hindsight, it would have been okay to leave my sneakers and jump rope back in Brooklyn. 

You do however, want to have something athleisure-ish to wear if you will be participating in some of the activities I did.


That about does it for wardrobe! Super simple, right?

Add in your preferences for the following and you'll be all set: 

basics:

  • bras / undies / socks
  • sleepwear
    • I brought a couple of oversized tees
  • sunglasses 
  • baseball cap / straw hat
    • careful with these as it's very windy when the boat is moving

Toiletries:

  • sunscreen / spf chapstickaloe lotionaftersun lotion or oil
  • shower products / toothbrush / deodorant / dry shampoo (never hurts)
  • make up
  • face wipes
    • I found these super helpful during the day when a full face of sweat was inevitable.
  • in-flight hydration masks - sheet mask or rubber mask (bit more hardcore/scary looking) 
  • vitamins / painkillers / anti-nausea meds / anti-hanover pills 
    • i.e. the hangover pills - yes I'm for real, and yes they kept me happy on a boat waking up at 8 am

electronics:

  • sim card for unlocked cell phone / international daily data plan
    • I chose $10 a day for unlimited data on my ATT cell.
    • I'd suggest calling up your cell provider and credit/debit card companies to make sure you're set before departing -- my bank completely blocked use of my card in Croatia as the country was determined to pose a threat to my financial security.. this was a serious pain because I found this out after I'd arrived.
  • headphones / reading material / iPad (I only used these things in-flight) 
  • camera (I skipped this and took all pictures on my iPhone)
  • international charger + usb cables 

 

Packing Guide- CROATIA sailing the Adriatic.png

 

Let me know if I forgot anything in the comments below!

Hope you have the BEST time.