All about one-way houseboat trips

All about one-way houseboat trips

Thinking about trying a one-way houseboat charter? Here's everything you need to know and why it's worth considering!

Frequently overlooked when making holiday plans, it is well worth considering taking a one-way journey for your houseboat vacation. We've put together a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about a one-way route from start to finish, including what it entails, the benefits and drawbacks, how it varies in cost compared to a conventional charter, and where are the best destinations.

What is a one-way houseboat trip?

A one-way trip means leaving one port, cruising along a given route in one direction and not returning back to the same port from which you started.

No stress

One of the main benefits of a one-way trip is that it eliminates the need to backtrack, allowing you to explore new territory without the time constraints of returning the same way you came. This can provide a more relaxed and stress-free holiday experience, with less pressure to adhere to strict timing for your return journey.

Twice the time = twice the experience?

The main benefit of choosing a one-way trip is the opportunity to explore more destinations during your holiday. Unlike a round-trip, you are not limited to covering a certain distance within a few days and returning to your starting point. One-way, you can enjoy a week or 14 days on the water, discovering new sights and scenery each day. This is particularly appealing to those with a sense of curiosity and a desire to explore new places.

Castle on the Loire

On a one-way charter, you have the opportunity to explore places in more detail.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Some houseboaters argue that sailing back the same way allows them to notice smaller details or revisit places that caught their eye on the way there. Therefore, the decision to choose a one-way or traditional return cruise is purely a personal preference.

More expensive or cheaper?

Generally speaking, a one-way trip is more expensive than a traditional return journey. Boat rental companies usually charge a surcharge for a one-way charter, often in the order of several hundred euros, as well as the cost of transporting the customer's vehicle. You will therefore be paying more.

However, there are also special promotions where the charter company needs to transfer the boat from one port to another for some reason and offers one-way at a discounted price compared to a regular charter. There aren't as many of these opportunities during high season, but they are a way to save significantly. Check with our sales staff for ongoing promotions.

How to get back?

How are you going to get back to the base you left from if you leave your car there? Charter companies are prepared for this possibility and offer a vehicle transfer service. The service costs extra, but it is not too expensive. The vehicle transfer must be arranged in advance, ideally inform our salesman when booking the boat or arrange this service on arrival at the base.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Want to save money on car transport? Take two vehicles to your destination. The crew can be split into two parties, with each travelling in their own car, and returning for the second car when the trip is over. Ports are no more than 200 to 300 kilometres apart.

Returning by train is also a viable option, particularly in France where the local rail network is quite extensive. In fact, taking the train can be a pleasurable experience, as the tracks often wind through picturesque countryside and idyllic fields in bloom.

Train France

Taking the train can be a pleasant alternative as well, offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and fields in full bloom along the track.

How long should you go for?

The length of the charter is up to you. But most often clients book a week or 14-day charter. We recommend two weeks. In our experience a week, or 6 days in practice, is not enough time to properly relax and explore a place. If you are able to take a 14-day holiday, go for it.

One-way houseboat destinations

Where to go on a one-way trip? In principle, you can cruise anywhere, but some destinations are more suitable than others. So, which ones are best?


France is an idyllic destination for houseboat vacations. In which particular regions do we suggest embarking on a one-way journey?

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi region is a must-visit for any true houseboater. It is a highly sought-after location with excellent houseboating facilities and stunning scenery. Learn more about this region by reading our guide to the Canal du Midi here.

Houseboat on the Canal du Midi, France

One of the most popular places for houseboating is the Canal du Midi.

Loire Valley

We recommend this region to all sightseers. The castles on the Loire are legendary. Read more about the Loire, Nivernais and Yvonne regions here.


The Camargue region provides not only untouched natural beauty but also exceptional gastronomy. It's highly recommended to grab a bag of local sea salt as a souvenir. Further details on the Camargue area can be found here.


Burgundy is a must-visit destination for both wine lovers and those who appreciate stunning architecture and scenery. Be sure to try the delicious local cheeses while exploring the area. To learn more about Burgundy, click here.

Interested in the land of the Gallic cock? We've also written about France in our article 11 best places to go houseboating in France.


Mecklenburg Lakes

The Mecklenburg Lakes are a very pleasant destination that we recommend especially for one-way charters. In addition to easy cruising, this area offers opportunities for beautiful swimming, making it suitable for families with children.

Lake Mecklenburg SUP

There are various activities on the Mecklenburg Lakes.


Venetian lagoon

Unique landscapes, Italian villages and a visit to the beach? You can experience all this in the Venetian Lagoon. A cruise through this region is drenched in sun and relaxation.

YACHTING.COM TIP: For novice houseboaters, it's advisable to opt for routes with fewer locks to minimize docking and potential boat damage. Great options include the French Camargue and Canal du Midi, Italy's Venetian Lagoon, and Germany's Mecklenburg Lakes. Additionally, you can check out our article 5 best houseboat routes for beginners.


It is one of the less frequented destinations for freshwater sailing, but offers a lot to see. Ireland is especially recommended for lovers of cycling, fishing or golf. You can read more about cruises in Ireland here.

Get in touch and we'll choose the perfect houseboat for your holiday.

FAQ All about one-way houseboat cruise