Life on a houseboat

Interest in houseboat vacations has increased in recent years, as many people have sought out a simpler way of living, and for some that includes going back to basics on vacation. For a first-timer, living on a houseboat can take some getting used to, but being properly prepared and keeping a few tips in mind can make the time spent living afloat a pleasant and rewarding one.

Houseboat selection

Choosing the right houseboat will depend on three main factors: size, amenities and budget. The size of the group traveling and the accommodations rules of the location will determine the best size houseboat for the trip. Amenities will range from basics, such as a kitchen and bathroom, a stateroom (bedroom) and barbeque grills, up to luxury amenities including hot tubs, flat-screen TVs and faux fireplaces. Of course, the cost of renting the boat will depend on the chosen luxury factors, plus the length of time the rental will last, all of which must be factored into the vacation budget.

Houseboat vacation destinations

From the United States to Europe to India, China and beyond, there are houseboat vacation destinations all over the world. It is possible to have a wonderful houseboat vacation close to home, cross-country or even on the other side of the world. In the US, house-boating destinations include Lake Mead and Havasu in the west (all within reach of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon); the Erie Canal system, which winds its way across New York State from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie; the tropical waters of the Florida Keys; and the mighty Mississippi. In Europe, Amsterdam and the Netherlands are famous for their many canals; other watery vacation grounds include the UK’s Thames Valley and the waterways of France and Germany.

In the Far East, houseboats are still a very common sight on the waters of both great and small rivers and waterways. Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Kashmir and Thailand all offer exciting vacation possibilities for travelers eager to spend their time on a houseboat, partaking of local color and life and experiencing the countries in a most original and unobtrusive way. India also offers ample house-boating opportunities, most notably the Kattuvallam houseboats of Kerala.

Tips for living on a houseboat

Houseboats offer up a modest amount of living space with limited storage, so careful planning and packing is needed in order to save stress and conserve space. Choose clothing and other items that are basic, multi-functional and easy to wash by hand, as laundry facilities may not always be easily accessible.

Fresh water and power are always at a premium when traveling on a houseboat and conserving them as much as possible is a priority. Many houseboats offer purification systems and green-energy technology such as solar panels to help save energy and money.

Getting to and from the airport

Regardless of the destination, several options may be available for reaching the airport quickly and effectively, including public transportation and rental cars. Saving money is always a priority when traveling; if the holidays are being spent on a houseboat in Kerala, finding car rental deals to make the drive to Cochin Airport (COK) can be as easy as a quick search online.