21 things you have to know before you sail Croatia

During Australian winter you will realise that almost all young people have vacated to Europe. And you will find that most of them – at some point – found themselves getting pissed on a boat in Croatia. If you currently are one of those people, or plan to be soon, then I have some quick tips and tricks for you before you venture into the Adriatic Sea.

  • First things first, book the sail at the end of your life-changing European adventure. Because it will destroy you, and whatever is left of your liver. And maybe chuck in a few recovery days afterwards too.
  • There are four main companies that do sails: Contiki, Topdeck, Busabout and Sail Croatia. Which makes finding your boat on the first day in the seaside town of Split, an absolute shit-storm. You’ll hear a combo of ‘Which one is Contiki?’, ‘Is this boat Busabout?’, ‘Where the FUCK is Topdeck????’. So leave enough time to find your boat and not die in the heat while trying.
  • Majority of your boat will be Australian. With a splattering of Canadians, maybe.13769479_1202113946486407_1130006374776031260_n
  • Come up with a solid introduction for when you’re meeting everyone on the boat. “Hi I’m Sophie, I’m from Sydney and my cat can ride a tricycle” is a sure-fire-friend-winner.
  • Come to terms with sleeping in a shoebox/sauna for the week. You and your bunk-buddy will become VERY close. And if you’re lucky enough to have ensuites on your boat, then you get the luxury of being able to go to the toilet and shower at the SAME TIME in your tiny bathroom.
  • Establish yourself as the best DJ on the boat early, by pre-preparing a fire playlists for daytime chills and the pre-drinking party time. Call them something cool like ‘Boat Bumpers’ or ‘Pirate’s Delight’ so people can follow them on Spotify [disclaimer: I know these are not – in fact – cool].
  • Know the rules for every drinking game on the face of the earth. Get ready to fight about which card means what in Kings Cup.
  • When you go off the boat for dinner, remember that in Croatia it’s customary to tip at least 10%. Don’t be that asshole.13735400_515271742003973_52822475_n
  • In Croatia, things run on island time. What’s island time? No time. When’s dinner? Who knows.
  • Be prepared to pre-drink on the boat, drink some more at a bar, and then drink more at a club. Every night… And in some pretty crazy locations too, each island seems to have its own epic club, like caves and castles.
  • Learn how to disembark and board a boat while intoxicated, and learn quickly. Self explanatory, really.
  • If you for some reason fall in love with someone on another boat, GET BACK ON YOUR BOAT BEFORE IT SETS SAIL. Or the dingy ride of shame will ensue. Yes, a dingy between the boat you accidentally slept on, and the one you’re meant to be on. While everyone on both boats watches you.13567270_10210023469290088_4591133339495758632_n
  • Pirate weddings are a thing. Sleep with someone on the boat more than 3 times? You and your lover will wed in true pirate fashion on pirate night.
  • If you’re at all prone to seasickness, bring 20 packs of motion sickness tablets. As you can imagine: hangover + rocking boat = VOM. Take a motion sickness tablet every morning to avoid this absolutely putrid feeling.
  • Buy some floating devices, like donuts or lilos. They will keep your hung-over body above water during daily swim breaks.
  • Be prepared for the occasional exercise. What I didn’t know before visiting Croatia is that there are lots of mountains?? And apparently people like to climb them for good views? So, in 30+ heat and a severely dehydrated state, make sure you have your determined state of mind to get you through. It’s worth it.13814608_515277732003374_374076935_n
  • Embrace afternoon siestas. Believe me you’ll need all the energy you can muster for each night.
  • DO THE GAME OF THRONES TOUR IN DUBROVNIK. Dubrovnik is King’s Landing from Season 2 onwards, so be prepared to see the actual locations of some pretty epic scenes.
  • If your boat has a bar tab system, for goodness sake, keep tabs on your tab. The drinks are deceivingly cheap in Croatia, meaning – surprise surprise – that you will drink more. Don’t get to the last day and realise, like me, that because Croatia was towards the end of your Euro-trip, you don’t have enough cash to pay for it.13432422_1188831931147942_227142000465387920_n
  • Your group will become your family, and your tour guide and boat crew will be your alcoholic parents. Leaving sucks and you’ll be frantically trying to work out whether you cross paths again on your trip.
  • Get ready for one of the most beautiful, fun and crazy weeks of your life. Schoolies, but better in every single way.

Harriet sailed Croatia with Busabout. For more details on their offerings, head to their official website.

The author travelled at her own expense. Photos by the author.


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