Do you want to visit the Maldives but you don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money? Most people think it’s too expensive to go to the Maldives but I’ll tell you how you can visit this dreamy paradise on a budget! I’m heading back to the Maldives soon & I am definitely putting to use all these tips I learned on my last Maldives trip in October 2017.
Choose a resort that is closer to the main island of Male. Male is where the airport is located & will be where everyone flies in and out of the Maldives. All resort transfers also take place at the airport docks, or down the street at the island transfer plane hanger. The closer your resort is to Male, the cheaper the transfer will be. Our speedboat transfer to a local island was $60 pp by our hotel, while the one to our resort was I believe $250/$300 pp & this was one of the lower ones I found. The distance was about the same 30/40mins from the airport.
Stay on an island inhabited by locals! This tip alone will save you the most money! Resorts are on their own private island which makes it more expensive & luxe. Locals’ islands have smaller hotels, villas & guest houses with very reasonable accommodation prices from $50-$100 per night. The one downside to this is on islands where locals reside, alcohol is prohibited. Alcohol is only allowed on private resort islands. Also, bikinis are prohibited unless you are at a designated tourist beach which most local inhabited islands will have one.
If you want to experience a local island & a resort, I would highly recommend staying on a local island for a few days and then head to a nice resort for 1-2 days. That way you can save money & splurge to treat yourself after. Since my boyfriend is a surfer, most of the surfing spots are located near or off of locals islands so we did part of our trip on a locals’ island and the other half at a nice resort (we did do a very nice overwater bungalow).
Look for an all inclusive resort/package. A lot of the times, all inclusive is a great choice if you don’t want to have to worry about meals/excursions during your vacation & the package will save you quite a bit of money especially if you’re going with a larger group such as family. Another tip I will add on to this is to skip the excursions! There’s plenty to do that is free at your resort like snorkeling, lounging at the beach, tennis, etc. If you want to do excursions, take advantage when you are staying on the local islands. The excursions are exactly the same and 10 times cheaper (seriously!).
If you don’t want to do all inclusive because it can definitely add up, you can be super thrifty & bring ramen noodles, granola bars, chips for snacks & lunches. Just splurge on the dinner! Our overwater bungalow cost included the breakfast buffet so we would grab extra fruit, granola, etc for lunch since we weren’t really that hungry during lunch. We spent around $200-300 per dinner during our time at the resort. We wished we brought ramen & snacks though since we did get tired of the food offerings at our resort, now we know for our trip back to the Maldives in May.
Don’t stay in an overwater bungalow! Yes yes, I know when anyone thinks of the Maldives, they think all accommodations are overwater bungalows, but that is completely untrue. While there are some resorts that exclusively only have overwater bungalows, most of them do have beachfront villas available. If you are dead set on staying in an overwater bungalow, you should split up your stay & do 1-2 nights in a beachfront villa, 1-2 nights in an overwater bungalow. This will save you tons of money because a lot of the time, the price of the overwater bungalow is double that of a beachfront villa.
Go during low season! May through November is the low season for the islands & there can sometimes be rainfall. 1 of our days on our resort, it rained all day but we still hopped off our bungalow dock & went snorkeling! Avoid December to April since that is the peak season. Prices will start at around $1000 per night for any rooms! Also, during low season, the chances of you getting your accommodation upgraded is highly likely 😉
If your schedule is highly flexible like mine is, you can use sites like Hotwire to find last minute deals for 4-5 star resorts! They are usually trying to fill up leftover rooms so they will price is a lot lower than normal. The only downside is you don’t know exactly which resort you’re getting but with a little detective work, you can definitely figure it out since there’s kinda only one resort per tiny island.
A lot of the resorts in the Maldives have something call a resort day pass, where you can pay to visit the resort for a day & enjoy most of the amenities it offers! So if you stay on a local island, be sure to ask your guesthouse or villa about resort day passes to resorts nearby. Passes range in price from $50-$200 USD. That way you can spend all day at a nice resort without the high price tag to boot!
Don’t stay longer than 3-4 nights in the Maldives! Yes, I know it’s paradise but there’s not much around & not much to do. It’s a spot for honeymooners & those that want relaxation and peace. Plus those few days will add up real quick! It is a relaxing place, but it can sometimes get a little boring. We stayed for one week and definitely enjoyed our stay, but 3-4 days is plenty! Trust me 🙂
Now go forth & book that trip to the Maldives so you can lay out on the white sand beaches & swim in the gorgeous turquoise waters! Leave a comment below if you’re planning a trip to the Maldives or if you have already been! 🙂