For a short time at the start of the pandemic, it was common for the rich and famous to declare on social media, “We’re all in the same boat.” It seemed true for a while; the global emergency grounded everyone. But it soon became apparent that, for the privileged minority, the boat was often a luxury yacht.
Mass transport, which made the world accessible to everyone, proved especially vulnerable when social restrictions were enforced. Alternative means of travel — not necessarily exclusive, not necessarily expensive — proved more resilient and perhaps provide us with a vision for the future of travel: more diverse and more adaptable.
Let’s start with those luxury yachts. Are they really beyond the means of most of us? Well, that depends. Many of the yachts chartered by Fraser, one of the world’s largest yacht rental companies, can accommodate up to a dozen overnight passengers. So a vessel that costs $50,000 per week to charter may work out at less than $4,200 per person. Fraser’s operating bases include the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, Australasia and Alaska. Both sailing yachts and motorboats are available and rent fully crewed.
A more affordable option is to charter a traditional Turkish gulet, a type of wooden sailing boat. Blue Cruise Bodrum offers rental in Turkey and Greece from $2,880 per week per boat for up to six people. Itineraries can include island-hopping among the Aegean Islands or voyages exploring the coves and bays of Turkey’s southwest coast.
The world scrolls by at a much slower pace when one travels by boat. In a canal boat on England’s extensive network of inland canals, the pace is 4–6 mph, with regular stops to pass through locks. Hoseasons, a long-established canal boat operator, offers rentals in Norfolk, the Midlands (the area around the city of Birmingham) and Yorkshire. A canal boat sleeping six costs from around $1,250 per week. Celebrities spotted piloting boats along England’s waterways include Harrison Ford and soccer star Wayne Rooney.
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