You may think that traveling by boat is only for the wealthy, but the truth is many budget travelers have embraced this lifestyle full time. Here are a few suggestions for spending more time on the water during your next extended trip or during retirement in general. (See also: Beach Travel on a Budget)
Check marine salvage yards for old tug boats, canal barges and other retired watercraft to remodel and retrofit. Weíve seen a large cargo barge remodeled into a floating loft-style home with a catwalk, tall windows and a gourmet kitchen. Tug boats can be renovated with recycled wooden floors, a few Persian carpets and built-in cabinet storage. Remember, the space is small, so you wonít be paying to remodel very many square feet. Also, there are many ways to affordably remodel a kitchen which are still stylish and functional. Converted canal boats are a great way to tour Europe by river, and look beautiful with a fresh paint job and a few plants. Livingafloat.com provides information on barge living, as well as the process of buying and converting Dutch barges. A common place to purchase barges in need of an upgrade is Belgium.
Avoid costly medical bills, ticket fines and potential tragedy by practicing boating safety and maintenance. Kirby Collins, of Places Around Florida Ė a destination information site – reminds us that afternoon thunderstorms are common in certain parts of the world. He advises a pre-trip inspection of your water craft to check for corroded wiring, which can leave you stranded with an approaching storm if your boat wonít start. Navigational lighting is another commonly overlooked maintenance issue. Itís not uncommon for boaters to receive a ticket for non-working lights, even in daytime, according to Collins.
Cars arenít the only form of transportation that comes with ways to save on parking. Look for restaurants, bars and other facilities that offer low-cost or no-cost docking services. At The Wharf, a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, people to tie up their crafts and keep an eye on them from the balcony while enjoying shrimp poor boy sandwiches and other local specialties. Ricks on the River, a waterfront restaurant in nearby Tampa, allows Hillsborough River boaters to park for free and listen to live music nightly while snacking on steamed mussels with garlic bread for less than $8.
Have you orchestrated a successful boating getaway, or spent time living on the water affordably? What were your most successful savings strategies?
Photo Credit: Pictures of Travel Places