How to Travel to the Maldives on a Budget
- by Ari Travels
The Maldives is one of the most expensive countries in the world to travel to, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still come here! What if I told you that you could come to the Maldives for under $80/day? Now, although $80/day may seem like a lot, most people will spend well over $500/day including food and accommodation for a vacation here during their stay on these exotic islands. I spent 2 weeks traveling throughout the Maldives in both luxury and budget style travel and cannot wait to share my tips, secrets and strategies on how you can come to the Maldives without spending thousands of dollars for a trip. For 1 on 1 travel consulting or custom itineraries, you can reach me here, and we can dive deeper into helping you plan the trip of your dreams, all within budget.
How to get to the Maldives
Flights to directly to the Maldives cost a pretty large amount of money. Use this method to you decrease the cost of flights.
Fly into Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or Bangkok, then take a round trip from any of those cities to the capitol of the Maldives which is Male.
Instead of flying directly to Male (the capital of the Maldives), create a stopover by flying into any of the three cities listed above (you will want to compare and contrast prices on Skyscanner or Google Flights). Flights from here will shave off several hundred dollars, plus you can explore another city while you’re out in Asia!
Prior to planning your trip, consider signing up for a travel credit card which will grant you bonus points that you can put towards a flight!
Where to Stay in the Maldives if you are on a Budget
There are many local islands in the Maldives that are much more affordable than staying on the resort islands. The resort islands will increase the cost significantly and most likely uncharge boat or flight transportation. I really enjoyed the local island experience because you got to immerse yourself in the culture, but still partake in activities and excursions! Maldivian locals are some of the nicest people I have ever met and I left here with some great friendships.
I stayed on the island of Guraidhoo. This island is very common for backpackers and budget travelers.
Note: Mulsum is the main religion in the Maldives. Please be respectful and cover shoulders and knees when walking around the local islands. Unlike resorts, dress code is important to be aware of. Swimsuits can only be worn at designated areas, which local islands do have, you just need to ask prior so you know where to go!
Accommodation in Guraidhoo
I stayed at an amazing guesthouse called Athens Guest House. The same family also owns another guesthouse called La Isla Tropica which is also located on the same Island. I cannot even begin what a great experience I had. The owners were so welcoming, arranged boat transportation and excursions for me. Additionally, they offered to pick me up and drop me off at the boat launch with no extra cost. They made sure I was comfortable and content the whole stay. The room had all the amenities it needed and very comfortable beds, plus a balcony! I cannot recommend this place enough and if you’re going to come to the Maldives on a budget, you need to stay here! The cost for Athens Guest House or La Isla Tropica is around $70 per night during peak season which is a steal compared to most resorts that are charging well over $300 for a basic room (not an over water bungalow).
There are lots of local restaurants within walking distance. There is also a designated beach called bikini beach which is made for tourists. Here you are allowed to wear a bikini. Bikini beach is about a 2 minute walk, making beach days become a non-stop activity!
For a high-end Maldives vacation, check out my blog post that includes recommendations for over water bungalows that won't break the bank.
How to get to Guraidhoo
You will get to Guraidhoo by a 45 minute speed boat and one way will cost around $20. The owners can help arrange a boat pick up for you! When you land in Male, you can take a taxi for around $6 to the ferry port (it’s about 15 min drive from the airport). Sometimes the guesthouse may be able to find a boat that picks you up directly from the airport, but normally it will be picking you up at the port.
Things to Do in the Maldives
Of course, the Maldives is known for its beautiful beaches. Everywhere you look the water is a turquoise that I have never seen before. It's breathtaking. Spend some time bathing and relaxing at the bikini beaches.
The Maldives has some of the best reefs in the world. They are extremely untouched which makes it even better. You can pretty much snorkel anywhere in the Maldives right off the beach, but consider taking a snorkeling trip to see the most majestic coral and fish. A trip to “fish garden” will cost around $25 depending on how large the group is. Contact me for a reliable snorkeling tour. He also does videography and photography and will take your photos if you’d like!
This was the highlight of my trip to the Maldives. Million took me to a deserted sandbar and it was the most incredible thing to have all to myself. It did not feel real at times! The sandbanks in the Maldives are like no other and I highly recommend you make time to do this. You can do both the sandbank and snorkeling excursion in one day for around $60 which includes videos and photographs. The price can be reduced as more people join! Again, make sure to contact me for an affordable trip to the sandbanks.
Overall, I highly recommend visiting the Maldives, even if it's not in your budget to stay in an expensive over water villa, because there ARE actually budget friendly options to still have an incredible trip here for a fraction of the cost. For more Maldives trip planning and travel tips, you can contact me using this link.