Tips for Travelling to the Maldives on a Budget
The Maldives is famous the world over for being one of the best honeymoon destinations on earth. It is known for its crystal clear waters with world-class diving spots, its abundance marine life including whales and dolphins and of course the long, dream-like beaches lined with palm trees and hammocks. What many people don’t know is that it is totally possible to travel to the Maldives on a budget.
If you are hoping to visit paradise without selling your granny, read our five best tips below:
1. Fly From a Major Asian Hub
One of the biggest expenses with any holiday is actually getting there. The Maldives is no different. However, if you fly from one of the main Asian hubs to Male, you will find incredible bargains. A flight from Kuala Lumpur to Male, for example, might only set you back £70. If you are not already travelling in Asia you can either fly from London to Male (the capital of the Maldives and the only international airport in the country) or from London to Colombo and then book an onward flight to Male. High season is from December to March, so avoid booking flights during these months.
2. Visit the Local Islands
Maldives is an island nation consisting of over 300 inhabited islands and hundreds more that are uninhabited. Over 100 of these islands are private ‘resort islands’ and you can only access them if you have booked a stay at one of the many luxurious hotels. The cheaper option is to visit one of the 200 local islands which are often just as beautiful. Here you can find local guesthouses and budget hotels lining strips of beach that are totally deserted.
3. Use Ferries to Get Around
One of the biggest expenses on arrival in the Maldives is actually getting around the country. If you are staying on a resort island, there are usually only two ways to get from the airport to your hotel; a private speedboat or a seaplane flight. Speedboats cost £150 each per person, each way, while seaplane flights range between £250 and £400 for return flights. If this sounds way out of your budget, you can take local ferries which never cost more than a few dollars. Local ferries run throughout the week except on Friday. There are no ferries after 3pm so you need to wake up early or arrive in Male on an early flight to avoid missing the last ferry!
4. Book Day Trips
If you are keen to see deserted islands, untouched waters and sand so white it blinds you, booking a full day snorkelling and sandbank trip is a great idea. These trips can cost as little as £30 if booked through local tour operators and take you to some of the most beautiful islands on earth. All snorkelling equipment, water and a packed lunch is included in the price. You can also get active and go scuba diving, sailing, kayaking or surfing on many of the local islands, with cost depending on what activity you choose.
5. Eat What the Locals Eat
The difference between buying breakfast in the airport (£10), at a resort (£8) or in a local eatery (£1) is fairly drastic so if you hope to save some pennies try to eat local food as much as possible. Maldivian breakfasts are incredibly delicious, consisting of ground up coconut and tuna served with rice and chapati bread. The Maldivan people are also famous for their delicious curries, with the spicier ones being influenced by nearby Sri Lanka. As the country is made up of 99% water, it is no wonder that the seafood here is delicious. No trip to the Maldives would be complete without at least one meal consisting of a platter full of freshly caught lobster and prawns. You’ll also be surprised by how reasonably priced it all is!
6. Try Out Airbnb or Couchsurfing
Airbnb is becoming very popular in the Maldives, with many hotels and guesthouses signing up to the service. You can find a wide variety of room choices ranging from private rooms to entire houses or beach villas. If you are very stuck for money, or prefer to get to know locals when travelling, you could try out Couchsurfing. This involves sleeping on someone’s couch for free, and is often viewed as a cultural exchange and a way to make new friends in foreign countries.