Whether it's for a honeymoon, wedding anniversary, family or spa holiday, the Maldives has a lot to offer. This amazing island and its surrounding on the Indian ocean is definitely a time to remember. However, the price tag for a holiday to this stunning group of islands is not as beautiful as the sunsets you’ll find there.
Until now that is. A 5-day stay could easily match the cost of several holidays, but with some recent changes and smart traveling tips, visiting the Maldives is now on the list of affordable destinations. Here are some of the tips to still have that luxurious stay without the extensive cost.
Piece Together Your Flight Itinerary
The first time you do a search to fly direct from your location, you might have considered finding a new place to go on holiday. Don’t let that first search deter you. There are other ways to get to the Maldives without spending your entire holiday budget on flights.
The most affordable way to get to the Maldives is to create your own itinerary. This will involve more legwork than you’re probably used to when planning transportation to your destination. If you choose this method, you will end up with multiple bookings, and it’s possible to do this all on one flight booking search engine.
First, you’ll want to use a flight booking search engine that allows you to have a destination of “everywhere.” In the “From” field, put your location, then put “Everywhere” as your destination. Most sites produce a list that shows the cheapest fare for each country, so look for the Asian countries.
Using the cheapest Asian country, do a new search from that location to the Maldives. You will need to do this a few times to determine which combination is the cheapest and offers plenty of time to transfer flights. It’s recommended to do this searching when you’re ready to purchase flights, so you can grab the best deal you find without worrying about prices going up a day or two later.
IMPORTANT! Before you enter your payment information, do a little research on how you’ll get to your accommodations upon arrival. Traveling around the Maldives can be costly, so it’s a good idea to ask a representative where you’re staying what the most affordable route to their location is and what airport should be your starting point. There might be a cheaper flight to another airport, but the difference in traveling around the island is likely to make it more expensive in the long run.
Choose a Guesthouse Over a Resort
A few years ago, it wasn’t possible to stay in the Maldives without setting aside a large portion of your travel budget to resort fees. Now, you can easily find a place to stay for a 5-day stay that would cost you less than some resorts charge for one night. Renting a guesthouse on any of the inhabited islands has become more popular because of its affordability for tourists.
On the plus side, a lot of these guest houses are modernized, so even though you’re not living it up at a resort, you can rest assured your accommodations are worth what you pay. You might also find complementary snorkel gear to take with you on beach visits. At the least, you’ll have a bed, hot shower, and Wi-Fi at many of the available guesthouse options.
You will need to be careful that you adhere to the Muslim customs in the Maldives when you stay outside a resort. You won’t find any alcohol for sale and need to be on the lookout for “bikini beaches” before changing into your swimwear. Spruce up on your knowledge of Maldivian customs if you’re staying in town.
Eating in town rather than at resorts is a great way to keep your holiday affordable and experience the local cuisine. You won’t have as many options for restaurants on smaller islands, but large islands, like Maafushi, have quite a selection at really reasonable prices.
If you’re staying on an island that has access to a local ferry, you can do some island hopping to immerse yourself in the culture of the Maldives further. On Malé, the main island, you can visit the National Museum to learn more about the history of the Maldives.
Stay in Luxury for a Bit
It’s tempting to spend your entire 5-day holiday at a luxury resort, but when it comes to affordability, that’s not the right way to go. Instead, spend one or two nights at the resort you imagined you’d stay at on your Maldives holiday. Consider booking your stay near the end of your holiday so you can have a chance to take advantage of all the amenities offered.
Another option to experience the luxury and have the holiday of your dreams is to look at purchasing day passes to resorts. This will get you access to the resort bubble that includes bikini beaches and alcoholic beverages not available on the inhabited islands. It might be worth it to spend a day at the resort and a night elsewhere for big savings.
Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying overnight, there is plenty to do at the resorts in the Maldives. Arguably the most popular activity is snorkeling because the chain of islands is its own giant coral reef. Other water sports, like scuba diving and fishing trips, are popular among tourists.
Navigating the Maldives
Now that you know where you’re staying, you need to figure out how to get there. This is the next piece of your holiday that could cost a decent chunk of change if you don’t plan ahead. The 200 or so inhabited islands are where you’ll find the most affordable accommodations.
Here’s the rule of thumb to know if you’ll need be able to use a local ferry, require a speedboat, or some other method of transportation between islands. The local ferries travel among the inhabited islands while speedboats are typically required to get to resort islands because they are considered “uninhabited.” Besides sea transport, there are small planes that will take you between islands for a pretty hefty fee.
Do your best to schedule your arrival to the Maldives in conjunction with the local ferry schedule if it will take you to the island you’re staying on. The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company has you covered when it comes to knowing the ferry schedule. Speedboats are fairly expensive and not a method to keep your holiday affordable if you can help it.
If you must take a speedboat, ask the resort or whatever accommodation you have booked to recommend different companies so you can compare prices. This will help you stay in your budget and not be blind sighted upon arrival. Planning ahead of time with a company could have advantages than being in a position where you may pay more than average because you’re not prepared.
Planning ahead is the main way to make your stay in the Maldives affordable. It may seem like a bit more planning than usual holidays, but it’s totally worth it to experience what some people call Heaven on Earth.