How to Plan a Dream Canal Boating Trip
Boating on Europe’s canals is a relaxing pastime with so many benefits. It just feels great to slow down the pace during your holiday and enjoy quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors. Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to set off and explore the canals.
So how can you make the most of your canal boat trip? Read on for a few tips to making it the best experience ever.
Choose the Right Destination
Part of having a great experience is choosing a place that ticks off all the marks. Think about what you’d like to do or see during your holiday. Would you like to cruise through the Dutch countryside to see the iconic windmills or did you have a warmer holiday with swimming opportunities in mind? Insider information can be of utmost importance when choosing a destination, so don’t hesitate to consult with your operator to find the best place to go.
You’ll also want to consider your boating experience and what will be the most enjoyable in terms of ability and time spent operating the boat and locks. Although hiring a canal boat requires no specific experience but there are certain routes that can be more difficult. You can however ask anyone who has encountered a frozen river or numerous locks, or a place that was chock full of boaters all trying to go to the same place.
Pick your Party
Your trip’s success can also vary greatly according to whom you go with. If you have a prima donna in the group who can’t go without her hair dryer for a day, perhaps she’s not the best one to bring. People who are not relaxed and easy going, or who tend to bicker with those around them are not the ones you want to spend several days with in a confined space.
Canal boating is, however, appropriate and safe for children and the elderly, meaning in general it’s a perfectly good option for families. Just be sure you have a captain for the boat and at least one other able bodied person to help.
Hire a Good Boat
The boat you choose should be able to comfortably house your party for the duration of the journey. Pay attention to how many berths and bathrooms the boat offers, as well as its dining spaces and galley facilities. Often several of the berths listed are actually sofas in the common areas, and while this may work for some, it can also make the space a bit cramped.
One of the best ways you can ensure a great experience is by packing exactly what you need. Space is at a premium on a boat, meaning it’s best to bring as little as possible, in a soft-sided luggage that can fit in any space. Things like appropriate clothing for the weather, non-slip shoes, sun cream and supplies of any necessary medications are also very important.
Plan your Route
Planning your route (again, with the help of someone familiar with the terrain) can help you pinpoint any attractions you don’t want to miss, as well as where to stop off for food and supplies. Try to know in advance where to moor, whether you’ll have to pay for mooring and what’s available in each place.