Kelsey and I first discussed a trip to Croatia right after finishing college: I’m not sure why we were so obsessed with it, but it definitely stuck. We finally decided to make it happen in 2012, committing on a Christmas catch-up phone call. However, this was Kelsey’s first trip to Europe, and we were both a little overwhelmed by all of the possibilities of exploring the thousands of Croatian islands independently.
Enter Busabout. I knew plenty of Australians who used Busabout to explore Europe, and it seemed the perfect combination of flexibility and convenience. They had a Croatia Sailing trip, and it seemed like an easy and affordable way to organize accommodation, transport and itinerary planning–so we booked in for the one-way Split to Dubrovnik cruise, which includes seven nights accommodation on the boat, seven breakfasts, seven dinner, an English-speaking guide and an awesome itinerary.
What I loved
The people: I can’t even express just how cool the people on my boat were—it’s so rare to throw 14 strangers together and have them click, but we did. Three Americans, one Kiwi and—unsurprisingly—the rest were Australian: we instantly bonded over The Beards, bruschetta and Zadar. I’d travel with any of them again in a heartbeat.
They made me a birthday cake: It was my 24th birthday on the day we set sail, and I was happy enough just to finally check Croatia and traveling with a friend from home off my 2012 resolutions. Then the crew surprised me with a cake and candles and the whole boat sang Happy Birthday: I honestly can’t remember the last time any of that has happened, so it was absolutely brilliant. Cheers to everyone on the boat for making it the best birthday yet!
What I didn’t love
Pressure to stick with the group: One of the reasons I booked Busabout was the flexibility: I assumed that breakfast and lunch were taken care of on the boat, and we’d be free to explore on our own each evening. However, there are group walking tours, dinners and drinks every night: it’s fabulous if you’re not comfortable exploring a new country on your own, but I found it a bit stifling. Also: splitting a tab among 14 for dinner is incredibly annoying. It really comes down to peer pressure (and my assumption is that the guides get some sort of kickback from the restaurants and bars), so don’t be afraid to do your own thing if you want to.
To sum up
I honestly had one of the best weeks of my life on board–perhaps because I was forced to stay offline and actually relax–and would absolutely recommend the Sailing Croatia trips with Busabout to anyone. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and it was wonderful to leave the trip planning (and stressing) to someone else. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to 24!
Note: Busabout graciously offered me a discount, but all opinions are my own.