8 reasons why Early Bird deals are the best way to rent a boat

What is the best way to charter a yacht? What exactly are Early Bird boat deals, how long do they last and what can you expect to save on when booking your sailing holiday early?

The season for Early Bird discounts is about to begin. If you've never taken advantage of booking early before, you should check it out. Over the last few years, the sailboat, catamaran and powerboat rental markets have changed a lot, making Early Bird deals even more beneficial than ever. So, what are the main advantages of not waiting but booking your dream rental boat well in advance? Read on to find out more. But, of course, the decision is yours.

What exactly are Early Bird deals for boat charter?

In the yacht charter industry, Early Bird is the period when all boats are still available on the market. This means there is a lot of choice, as well as charter companies offering various bonuses for booking in advance in the form of discounts or free extras (such as an additional motor). These deals usually last until the end of the year for bookings made for the following summer. Exceptionally, the Early Bird period is extended until the end of January, but by then there is less choice of boats and fewer extras for clients.

And what about Last Minute boat holiday deals?

So, you're probably wondering about Last Minute? Didn't it use to offer even better deals? Yes, it used to. However, since COVID-19, we have seen the almost complete demise of Last Minute deals. Today it's practically non-existent. And the reason is simple. Although the actual number of sailors has been on the rise, in the last three years there simply hasn't been as many new boats as before to meet this demand. For two years in a row now, there has been no decent boat available in popular sailing locations, such as Croatia or Greece right before the season (and we have more than 13,000 of them on offer!).

Why you should consider an Early Bird charter deal

1. Choose from a larger variety and secure the most popular boats or new arrivals

Would you like a new, well-kept boat with good handling characteristics and amenities such as air conditioning, a grill, swim platform or teak deck? And at an affordable price, of course. The truth is, this is exactly the kind of boat every sailor wants. As we said, the choice of boats is fantastic in autumn but drops off steeply in spring. And by June, you can hardly find a decent boat at all, with the best ones long gone. Just before the season, it tends to be only older charter boats in poorer condition or expensive luxury superyachts that remain.

Model of the Dufour 455 with people on board sailing in the wind

The Dufour 455 is also one of the most popular models

Most popular boats for charter

In the charter market, there are some boats that stand out. Among the most popular brands are Bavaria Yachts (especially the Bavaria 46 Cruiser — our most popular sailing boat ever or the Bavaria 45 Cruiser, as well as Hans Yachts (the Hanse 455, for example, or the Hanse 415), Dufour Yachts (especially the Dufour 450 and Dufour 360), or the Beneteau Oceanis brand and its sailing boat the Oceanis 38.1.

In terms of catamarans, the most popular are those from Lagoon, especially the Lagoon 42 or Lagoon 5 models.

Be the first to sail a brand-new 2023 boat!

Another benefit of being an Early Bird customer is that you can book boats that have just come off the production line with that brand-new smell. Charter companies are just starting to add them to their catalogues this autumn. So if you want to be one of the first to sail on the newest models with the latest equipment, there's no time to lose.

YACHTING.COM TIP:  One of our most frequently chartered boats, the Bavaria 46 Cruiser sailing boat, accommodates up to 9 crew members, and is frequently praised for its spaciousness and comfort, as well as its handling characteristics — something the manufacturer promotes itself. But one thing is for sure, it is almost unrivalled when it comes to comfort, luxury and space. Check out our review of the remarkable Bavaria 46 Cruiser.

2. Book any date, even in high season

If you want to set sail during the summer holidays, the busiest time of year, then booking your boat early is a must. July and August are the peak seasons and are quickly snapped up by families with school-age children. Every year, unfortunately, some of our clients are forced to sail in the autumn instead of their planned holiday in July because there were simply no other dates available.

Happy family with daughter and son relaxing on a large yacht

3. Lower down payments

With Early Bird deals, you have to put down less money as a deposit — with some charter companies, it's just 10% of the charter price. This definitely comes in handy before Christmas, when there is less disposable income in the household.

4. Pay less, get bargain boat prices

Early Bird is all about lower prices. The discounts are exclusive and if you don't take advantage of them, you'll be paying 20% more for the same boat later on. You just can't get lower prices than with Early Bird deals.

YACHTING.COM TIP: What is the total cost of a week's sailing in Croatia or GreeceWhat do you need to take into account when budgeting? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to all costs, including a typical budget for a crew renting a sailing boat for one week from Dubrovnik, Croatia — Yacht charter costs: how much can you expect to pay?. And if you're considering Croatia or Greece for your sailing vacation next year, we've put together a comparison of these popular spots just for you — Croatia vs. Greece. Which provides better sailing? We provide expert advice based on your sailing experience, budget, and what you'd like to do and see during your voyage.

5. Book a boat for longer than normal

A week on board a boat literally sails by and when you've reached your peak, it's already time to set course for home. But we have the perfect solution! Next time, try it as an experienced sailor and set sail for 14 days. You'll better relieve stress, enjoy some serious sailing and get to discover places that are both beautiful and deserted. And all at a bargain price! Find out more in our article — 10 reasons to go on a 14-day charter. Other benefits include the fact that for the two weeks at sea you only be paying for transport to the location and the transit log once.

Unfortunately, the closer it gets to the main sailing season, the harder it is to find a two-week slot where a boat is available. However, with Early Bird deals, you are not only guaranteed to find a good boat for 14 days straight, but some charter companies even offer a discount.

YACHTING.COM TIP: If you want to extend your sailing holiday to two weeks and visit more than one country, our article might come in useful — Can you cross national borders with a charter boat? We'll give you tips on how to do it.

6. Leave plenty of time to plan and prepare for a more complex sailing trip

If you are going to undertake a more challenging voyage, for example, in tropical waters, you'll need to deal with various formalities and documents in advance. These include things such as, vaccination certificates, visas, travel insurance and even airline tickets. If you book your boat as an Early Bird, you'll have plenty of time to prepare, including finding cheaper flights.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Interested in sailing in an exotic country? Discover everything you need to know — what to expect, what you can look forward to and the best destinations, boats and dates for sailing on distant seas in our guide to exotic sailing holidays. Plus, we've carefully chosen 10 catamarans and sailboats of various sizes in the most popular exotic locations just for you — Top 10 yachts in the most popular exotic destinations.

Aerial view of a catamaran at sea on Zanzibar beach, Tanzania.

7. Choose boats from a reliable partner

Just like when buying a boat, the best rental boats tend to get booked up quickly. At yachting.com, we have many years of experience in chartering boats and so we know exactly where the boats in the best condition are, where the service is great and which charter company is the best to deal with thanks to their accommodating and friendly staff. We have formed exceptional relationships with the best boat charter companies, so individual needs can be met. We're happy to advise you so if you want to sail on the top charter boats in the industry, don't hesitate to get in touch.

washed up sailboats on the beach, crashed boats after the hurricane

Accidents can happen and deposit insurance covers you even in the event of natural disasters.

8. Cancellation and boat deposit insurance can save you a lot of money

One final important tip — have a plan B and be prepared for the unexpected, both before and during the trip. Insurance gives you security. If you can't go on your holiday for serious reasons such as injury or illness, cancellation insurance means you'll get your money back.

During your actual boating holiday, on the other hand, boat deposit insurance covers the deposit you put down when you rent the boat from the charter company. In the event of an accident or damage to the boat's equipment, you won't lose your money and repairs will be covered by the insurance company. At sea and in port, you never know what can happen and no one wants to shell out a lot of money for boat repairs. Still not sure whether or not to insure your deposit on the boat? Check out 5 reasons to take out deposit insurance

Both insurances can be arranged at your convenience when you book your boat with our sales team. We now can arrange them both for all European Union citizens, and you deposit insurance even for voyages outside Europe — for example, in the Caribbean, Seychelles, Maldives or Thailand. So there's no limit to your maritime adventures.

Don't leave the boat rental to the last minute. I'll help you choose a great Early Bird deal.

FAQ Early Bird boat charter deals