Clo at conrad rangali maldives
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How to budget for Maldives for a terrific vacation

The vision of white sand and crystal-clear water is usually attached to the idea that you need to budget for Maldives at least 5 figures…but now this is no longer the case!

Visiting the Maldives on a budget is a new trend and the boom is only just beginning to be felt. This is probably the best time to organise your low cost trip to Maldives, but how much does a trip to Maldives cost? To help you to understand and plan I have created this Maldives budget guide with the full prices in Maldives breakdown.


For a long time I too dreamed of visiting the Maldives and always gave up because I thought it was too expensive … until finally I managed to organise an unforgettable week without breaking the bank.

Don’t worry if you were unaware of the possibility of cheap trips to the Maldives, you haven’t been asleep, this is just a very recent change. It has only been about 10 years since the Maldivian government gave local people the opportunity to open hotels and guesthouses outside of private islands which usually meant expensive luxury resorts.

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MALDIVES VACATION COST: OVERVIEW

Yes, but: How much does it cost to go to the Maldives? This is usually the first question I get from sceptics who doubt that you can take a holiday to the Maldives on a budget.


Let’s start by remembering the Maldives are an archipelago made up of 26 atolls scattered in the Indian ocean. Located about 1,000km from Asia, they are isolated and the most remote islands require long transfers to reach them.
The flight and internal transfers (if you decide to visit some of the more remote islands) will be the element that will weigh heaviest in your budget for the Maldives trip.

Let’s have a look at all the expenses you need to consider to get the full picture of how much a vacation in Maldives cost.

Often resort in Maldives are taking over intere islands, but someties they also build artificial island.
Hoe to budget for Maldives: Resort island . Often resorts in Maldives take over entire islands, but sometimes they also build artificial islands.

Maldives with kids, yes or no?

In my opinion the Maldives are an exceptional place for children. Both the local islands, and also even more the resorts offer an amazing and fun adventure for kids. You can read more in my post about Maldives with kids where I also help you to choose the top resorts to make your holiday unforgettable.

HOW TO TRAVEL TO MALDIVES

Flights to and within the Maldives


When preparing your budget for the Maldives you will first need to consider the international flight to Male. I did a couple of tests with skyscanner and booking in advance will really keep the costs down.

For instance: from London, the direct flight with BA bought 10 months in advance costs around £550, New York and Los Angeles both less than $900 and Sydney less than $1,000 AUD … but don’t wait for the last minute because prices will triple!

The majority of flights from USA and Europe arrive in Male. From Male you have great options to keep the cost low to go to Maldive islands with local ferries and speedboats.

However further away islands will probably require an internal flight. That could easily add another $ 250 to your budget!!!!

If you don’t have much choice on the international flight, you can definitely save on internal transfers by choosing your itinerary carefully.


HOT TIP: some Asian budget airlines, like Flyscoot, have had in the past amazing prices to get to Maldives.
At the moment they all seem to have stopped flying to Maldives, but always check because these things change constantly.


If your dates are flexible the best way is to search on skyscanner with the month view, usually if a budget airline is flying you will see a big difference in price and can then dig deeper. This would be the way to get to the Maldives

How to budget for Maldives, Sea plane airport
Sea Plane airport. An area of the Male airport is all dedicated to sea planes

How to get to Maldives islands: internal transfer

As we said, once you reached the archipelago you will need to decide how to get to your final destination. Assuming you arrive in Male you’ll discover that many atolls are connected with efficient speedboat services (if you are in a hurry) or a local ferry. Local ferry prices start from around $ 2.

Here you need to consider how much time you have available versus how much money. For example, speedboats cut the time down 3 times compare to the local ferry, but they are also crazily more expensive.

However the speed boats are more frequent than the local ferry. Depending on what time your flight lands, it could worth considering the speed boat if it could bring you to your paradise half a day earlier, or if you can stay there half day longer.

Speedboat vs. local ferry

Here some examples of speedboat and local ferry options:

  • Airport to Maafushi Speedboat $ 30 (6 times a day). Local ferry from Male $2 (once a day, no ferry Monday and Friday)

  • Airport to Guraidhoo Speedboat $ 35 (3 times a day Sat-Thurs, 2 times a day on Friday). Local ferry from Male $ 3(once a day , no ferry Monday and Friday)

  • Airport to Fulidhoo Speedboat $ 50 ( twice a day Sat-Thurs). Local ferry $4 from Male (once a day only Sun-Tue-Thurs)

Not all speedboats start from the airport, but all the local ferries start from Male. You just need to get a bus on the left hand side of the airport exit to get to to Male

HOT TIP: Atoll website is a great resource to get boat transfer timetable (local ferry and speedboat). They sell tickets for the speedboats and you can book them online. They highlight all the problems you can encounter with local ferries. Of course they want you to buy a more expensive speedboat ticket, but if the local ferry works for you then don’t be put off!

Choosing carefully where to stay in Maldives can really keep the cost of your trip to Maldives lower.

There are thousands of local islands you can explore, here you can read more about Maafushi island, one of the easiest to reach.

Seaplane transfer


Speaking of Maldives on budget, I do not take into consideration at this moment the resorts that must be reached with a seaplane because this would add up to $500 to the cost of vacation in Maldives… for just 20-30 minutes of flight! Further on, you will see that we actually stayed in one of these places, but I will explain in detail how we kept the costs down.

If the resort you choose to visit requires a seaplane transfer they will contact you and arrange it. Usually the cost will be added to your room bill at the end.

Be aware that seaplanes only fly during daylight, so if your flight arrives late in the afternoon and there isn’t any other option to reach your resort, than you will need to spend the first night in Male.

MALDIVES RESORTS COST VS ACCOMMODATION IN MALDIVES ISLAND


There are plenty of options: to give you an idea on a local island you can find cheap but acceptable accommodation from $35 a night. For resorts it is difficult to find anything less than $ 150/200 a night

If it is true that I have just criticised same Maldives resort costs, it is also true that in my opinion I would not go to the Maldives just to visit the local islands. I would rather suggest you find a really cheap accommodation for the beginning of your holiday to save for at least one night in a resort. (This way you can still keep your Maldives travel budget under control)


The fact is that although the sea is the same, and the excursions are very similar, the private islands of the resorts will really make you feel you are in a dream.

The local islands are receiving more tourists every year, and to adapt to the demand in some islands, work in progress is everywhere. We visited Maafushi and two hotels are under construction just behind the bikini beach. Nothing wrong, but obviously relaxing on the beach is accompanied by the sound of the waves and the jackhammer !!!

Booking.com

COST OF FOOD IN MALDIVES

Meals in the various restaurants on the local islands are around

  • breakfast $ 5
  • lunch $ 8-10
  • dinner $ 10-15
  • Even in the cheapest resorts it is difficult to maintain less than $ 80/100 per day for the three meals.

LOCAL ISLANDS

Depending on the local island you choose to visit you will find a mix of street food, local restaurants, and some more upmarket restaurants.

More touristic islands like Maafushi offer a great mix of different options, but don’t forget that in these more developed islands the more touristic spots are often the less authentic.

In same of the more remote islands you will only find options to eat at your guesthouse, usually authentic food that will also not weigh down your trip to Maldives cost.

On local islands it is also easy to find a little grocery shop where to buy some snacks, crisps ($ 1) or ice cream ($ 2- 3).

RESORTS

Resorts usually offer a variety of different restaurants to cater for different nationalities, and people with a particular diet shouldn’t have any difficulties to find great options.

Prices vary greatly between different resorts, but usually you should expect to pay a minimum of $ 30 ++ for a main course.

Cheap resorts in Maldives sometimes offer convenient half/full board packages to keep your budget for Maldives trip more under control

Rarely will you see a grocery shop in a resort, so especially if you travel with kids bring some snacks with you or you will need to rely constantly on expensive snacks from the restaurants/bars

COST OF MALDIVES TOURS

Making excursions from a local island could save a good portion of your budget for Maldives vacation, from what we have seen (depending on the resort) in the resorts they will cost triple !!! Just as an example:

  • Sunset fishing from Maafushi cost $25pp while at the Conrad $90pp.

AVERAGE COST OF MALDIVES VACATION

Below I made a scheme that sums up the various costs to be taken into consideration for 1 week in the Maldives. This is a general breakdown with the average cost to visit Maldives, in the next paragraph you will find 3 itineraries with specific costs.

A couple of notes:

  • The flight to get to the Maldives is not included as it varies greatly depending on where you are coming from.
  • I consider the tour prices starting from a local island
  • This price breakdown isn’t stretched to the extreme. Therefore I still considered to have at least 1 meal a day in a proper restaurant, and I pick the price for an affordable but still nice hotel or guesthouse. In the local islands you can still cut these 2 costs down.

The first option shows you how much is a trip to the Maldives if you spend 5 nights in a really affordable accommodation in a local island and 2 nights in a low cost resort.

AVERAGE COST TRIP TO MALDIVES FOR 2 PEOPLE 7 NIGHTS
RETURN TRANSFER TO LOCAL ISLANDUSD 8
ACCOMODATION: 5 NIGHT IN A LOCAL ISLAND HOTELUSD 300
ACCOMODATION: 2 NIGHTS IN A RESORTUSD 500
SPEEDBOAT TO RESORTUSD 100
COST OF MALDIVES FOOD FOOD IN LOCAL ISLANDUSD 300
COST OF MALDIVES FOOD IN RESORTUSD 300
COST OF MALDIVES TOUR (3)USD 260
TOTAL USD 1768

The second option it show how much a vacation to Maldives cost if you spend 7 nights on a local island. In this case I consider a little more expensive accommodation.

AVERAGE COST TRIP TO MALDIVES FOR 2 PEOPLE 7 NIGHTS
RETURN TRANSFER TO LOCAL ISLANDUSD 8
ACCOMODATION: 7 NIGHT IN A LOCAL ISLAND HOTELUSD 490
COST OF MALDIVES FOOD FOOD IN LOCAL ISLANDUSD 420
COST OF MALDIVES TOUR (3)USD 260
TOTAL USD 1178

MALDIVES ITINERARY: 3 options to plan a trip to Maldives on a budget

In case you didn’t know I’m a planning freak. I love to plan everything in detail before every trip, I like to search for information, contact the locals ask for confirmation and read a lot about the places where I’m going.

Most people, although they really enjoy travelling, do not like this aspect, but in my opinion to budget for Maldives it is very important to inform yourself in advance. For this reason I have put together 3 possible one week itineraries based on the combination of a guesthouse in local island and a couple of nights in private resorts island.


The itineraries take into consideration 3 different areas of the North Central Province, all reachable without the use of domestic flights or seaplanes.

I haven’t been in all these island, but they were the itineraries and accommodations I considered, while planning our low cost Maldives trip.


CONSIDERATION:

  • PUBLIC FERRY
    Public ferry timetables are updated to September 2020, but may still be subject to change, once you have decided on your accommodation, confirm the timetables with the owners of the guesthouse.

    The public ferry don’t run everyday, so you will need to check the itinerary that combine best with your flight arrival date and time.
    Some guesthouses have favourable agreements with some speedboat services, so its worth to ask and compare.

  • AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION IN MALDIVES
    Usually on this site you will only find recommendations for accommodations that combine a pleasant and neat look, refined yet simple, with personal touches that set them apart. In the case of cheap accommodation in Maldives this is not always possible. Sometimes the style is not in line with what I would usually choose, but the options are limited. As a result the choice falls on sober and clean sheets rather than design.

  • CHEAP RESORT IN MALDIVES
    In choosing the resorts I took into consideration not only the costs, but also the services and the location, so that it can be reached with a not too expensive speedboat transfer.

    The prices of the accommodation vary greatly depending on the season and time of booking. In the example below I checked dates towards the end of April, that is the end of the high season.

1 week in Maldives discovering less known islands

This itinerary will bring you to discover some less touristic islands in the Alifu Alifu Atoll.

Why to choose this itinerary:

  • Rasdhoo, the first island you visit is small but the house reef is really close and almost 1km in length. It is really easy to see schools of fish, little sharks, manta ray, and even sea turtles just swimming there.
    Sandbanks are also really easy to reach.

  • Ukulhas, the second island has an incredibly long bikini beach and the house reef is easy to reach.
  • The resort suggested in this itinerary is not in located in this Atoll but is easy to reach from Male and the airport. On the leaving day the transfer time is really short

This itinerary works really well if you arrive in Male on Monday early morning, here is a little summary and after the ferry schedule details.

WHENWHATTIMECOST
MondayFerry 303 Male to Rasdhood. 9:00 am
a.12:10 pm
$ 8
stay at Beachfront stay
in Rasdhoo
$ 70
Tuesdaystay at Beachfront stay
in Rasdhoo
$ 70
Wednesdaystay at Beachfront stay
in Rasdhoo
$ 70
ThursdayFerry 303 Rasdhoo to Ukulhasd. 12:15 pm
a. 01:05 pm
$ 4
stay at Sea laVie Inn$ 55
Fridaystay at Sea laVie Inn$ 55
Saturday Ferry Ukulhas to Maled.9:45 am
a. 2:10 pm
$ 10
speedboat transfer to Malahini
Kuda Bandos Resort
tbc$ 170
stay at Malahini Kuda
Bandos Resort
$ 220
Sundaystay at Malahini Kuda
Bandos Resort
$ 220
Monday speedboat transfer back to the airportincl.
7 NIGHTTOTAL COST
FOR 2 PEOPLE
$ 952

PUBLIC FERRY SCHEDULE:

  • Male – Rasdhoo ferry 303 on monday and thursday at 9:00 am
  • Ukulhas – Male ferry 303 on Sunday and Wednesday at 9:45 am

SPEEDBOAT SCHEDULE:

Everyday, duration is 1 hour 20 minutes, price is $35 one way per person.

  • Male-Rasdhoo at 10:30 and 15.30 – 16.00, on Friday at 9:30 and 15:00
  • Rasdhoo – Male at 7:30 and 13:30.

Affordable accommodation in Maldives in this itinerary

This is a lovely guesthouse, close to the beach. Rooms are new and furnished in a simple but appealing way.

Each room has garden or balcony access. Bathrooms are modern and stylish.

Common area is spacious with different seating to relax.

Really good breakfast

Good alternatives for cheap accommodation in Rasdhoo are Brick Wood Rasdhoo and Quicksand retreat

Simple guest house, with spacious and bright room and lovely shared garden.

The villa is very close to the beach. They also have a Thai cafe on the terrace that seems one of the best spots on the island

A good alternative for cheap accommodation in Ukulhas is Sea View Villa

This resort island is small, but you have everything you need to relax for a couple of nights. Lovely pristine beach, over-water restaurant, bar, and gym.

They offer some free water sports and many paid excursions. Some guests report shortage of sunbeds when the resort is at full capacity.

The speedboat transfer only takes 10 minutes to the airport

1 week in Maldives looking for whale sharks

This is the itinerary that will bring you the farthest away from Male. Consequently it will take a bit longer to get there, but it could really be worth it if you are interested in swimming with whale sharks. Whale sharks are easier to spot here than in other atolls.

Ideally it would be better to spend 9/10 nights in this Atoll, so in this 7 nights itinerary I include only 1 local island and 1 resort hence avoiding to spend too much time on a boat transferring from a place to another.

Why to choose this itineray:

  • Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, is a great place if you plan an encounter with whale sharks, excursions are easy to arrange from any island.
  • Dangethi has a great coral reef, easy to reach from the beach and 3 sandbanks 5 min away.

This itinerary works well if you start it on a Saturday or Wednesday. If you arrive on other days you could take a speedboat. To go back to Male (if you have a flight Sunday early morning) you could consider Private Public Ferry that leaves from Maamigili on Saturday at 11 pm. You will travel overnight in an air-conditioned boat for $35.

WHENWHATTIMECOST
SaturdayFerry 305
Male to Mahibadhoo
d. 9:00 am
a. 1:15 pm
$ 10
Ferry 304 Mahibadhoo to Dhangethid. 1:45 pm
a. 2:45 pm
$ 4
stay at Endheri Sunset$ 56
Sundaystay at Endheri Sunset$ 56
Mondaystay at Endheri Sunset$ 56
Tuesdaystay at Endheri Sunset$ 56
WednesdayFerry 304
Dhangethi to Maamigili
d. 2:50 pm
a. 4:25 pm
$ 8
transfer to Sun Island
Resort
tbc with resort$ 40
stay at Sun Island Resort$ 215
Thursdaystay at Sun Island Resort$ 215
Fridaystay at Sun Island Resort$ 215
Saturday transfer to Maamigili
and speedboat
transfer back to the
airport
tbc with resort
$ 140
7 NIGHTTOTAL COST
FOR 2 PEOPLE
$ 1051

PUBLIC FERRY SCHEDULE:

  • Male – Mahibadhoo: Ferry 305 on Sat – Mon – Wed at 9:00 am
  • Mahibadhoo – Dangethi – Maamigili: Ferry 304 every day, except Mon and Friday, at 1:45 pm (from Mahibadhoo) at 2:45 pm (from Dangethi)

SPEEDBOAT SCHEDULE:

Every day, duration 1:30 h, cost $ 35 per person, one way. This option is good if your flight arrives late in the morning/early afternoon. You can get the speedboat directly to Dangethi. (Atoll website charges more, ask your guesthouse to organise it for you and it should be $ 35)

  • Male – Dangethi: at 7:00 am and 4pm
  • Maamigili – Male at 6:00 am

Affordable accommodation in Maldives in this itinerary

This guesthouse is set in a new 3 storey building, more than half of the rooms have a beautiful ocean view. A couple of rooms also have a lovely terrace to relax on.

The beach is just in front of the property and they also offer free bikes to explore the island.

A great alternative in Dangethi is the new Island Scuba Inn. Rooms look lovely, simple but stylish.

This resort is a little gem, it is one of the best place to stay in Maldives on a budget. Amazing value for money! It is big enough to not get bored after the first night. There are 4 a la carte restaurants to choose from and one buffet restaurant.

They offer bikes to go around the island, and there are some free and paid water-sports to choose from. Many excursions are also available, and a lovely swimming pool is also integrated into the resort.

The room decor is the only drawback of this place, room furnishing should be updated to the level of the other areas.

if your budget can stretch a little you can have a look at the stylish Amaya Resorts & Spa Kuda Rah, your guesthouse in Dangethi should be able to organise a speedboat to get you there directly.

1 week in Maldives searching for the best waves

Not many people realise that the Maldives aren’t just about calm lagoon water, they also offer a nice surfing spot. I’m not an expert at all, but I know that the Kaafu Atoll is the perfect spot to catch the waves.

Why to choose this itinerary:

  • Huraa is a little gem, not spoiled by tourists yet even if it has decent infrastructure. The bikini beach is not big and there isn’t a house reef, but you will have plenty of opportunity to challenge yourself on many different waves.

  • Dhiffushi is a little island, but there are 2 bikini beaches a beautiful reef, and even a sand bank close by.
  • The resort suggested in this itinerary is not in located in this Atoll but is easy to reach from Male and the airport. On the leaving day the transfer time is really short

This itinerary works really well if you arrive in Male on Saturday, Tuesday or Thursday. If you arrive on other days you will need to take a speedboat.

WHENWHATTIMECOST
SaturdayFerry 308
Male to Huraa
d. 2:30 pm
a. 4:00 pm
$ 6
stay at Kanborani, Huraa$ 90
Sundaystay at Kanborani, Huraa$ 90
Mondaystay at Kanborani, Huraa$ 90
TuesdayFerry 308
Hurra to Diffushi
d. 4:10 pm
a. 5:40 pm
$ 4
stay at Dhiffushi Inn$ 70
Wednesdaystay at Dhiffushi Inn$ 70
ThursdayFerry 308
DhIffushi to Male
d. 6:30 am
a. 9:40 am
$ 10
speedboat to Sheraton
Full Moon. Price included
in room rate
tbc with resort
stay at Sheraton
Full Moon & Spa resort
$ 355
Fridaystay at Sheraton
Full Moon & Spa resort
$ 355
Saturday speedboat transfer
to the airport
tbc with resort
7 NIGHTTOTAL COST
FOR 2 PEOPLE
$ 1140

Affordable accommodation in Maldives in this itinerary

A little guesthouse with spacious rooms and well designed bathrooms. If available ask for the top room with ocean view. The guesthouse has a golf cart if you need help going around the island.

Breakfast is served on the top floor restaurant with lovely ocean view

Staff really helpful!

Equally good would be a stay at The Sunrise Huraa, another family run guesthouse where you will feel at home.

This little Inn is new, rooms are big and clean.

It is not a place where you came for style and design, but it is a good value for money option and staff are friendly and helpful.

Here you are in for a treat. At the Sheraton Full Moon Resort and Spa even the more basic garden view rooms are spacious, with simple but well designed decor, and all with a little space to sit outside.

This is the most expensive resort I reccomend in here, but they often offer free speedboat transfer from Male, this will compensate the higher room cost.

This resort offers 7 restaurants to choose from and they often organise a beach themed dinner.

Several free water-sports, 3 pools, and a spa can keep you entertained for many days.

At the same price level you can also look at the Bandos Island Resort & Spa, where you should save a little on the food side.

PUBLIC FERRY SCHEDULE:

  • Male – Huraa: Ferry 308 every day, except Monday and Friday, at 2:30pm
  • Dhiffushi – Male: Ferry 308 every day, except Monday and Friday, at 6:00am

SPEEDBOAT SCHEDULE:

There are at least 4 speedboats a day from Male and Huraa – Dhiffushi. The best is to ask your guesthouse for a quote. Atoll website seems overpriced for this route.

TIPS TO VISIT MALDIVES ON A BUDGET…and do it right

If your budget is really tight then it is really important to evaluate every aspect of your trip to Maldives because you still want to make it extra special. Usually the best way to book Maldives holiday is to do so independently.

Local Island, Resort or both?

I’ve already talked about this at the beginning, but in my opinion it is the most important thing to define. If you are travelers who like to discover the cultures of other countries, experience the pristine beauties of a place, and escape from modernity to places where they are not yet part of their way of life, then you can book your holiday to wander only among the various local islands.

However, if you have ever dreamed of living the Maldivian paradise then for me there is no doubt, the first time you go you will have to book a combination of the two worlds, time on a local island and on a resort island.


If you have a couple of weeks at your disposal you will definitely have the possibility to organize an interesting itinerary by pushing yourself to some of the most remote local islands, still not touched by hit and run tourism. Then you can end your trip with a couple of days on a terrific resort.


Island hopping on local ferries


The islands that make up the different atolls are almost all quite small. If like me you love to explore and change scenery, probably after 3 to 4 days you will be ready to move.

Nothing could be easier, there are many atolls connected by local boats (dhoni). You will just have to make a minimum of planning because not all connections are there every day.

Local ferries usually stop at several islands, so if you don’t want to go back to Male you will have to choose the islands that are on their itinerary.
On the atoll transfer website you can look at all the local connections and speedboats. Male is in the north central regional.

Based on how many days you want to stop and the days when connections are available you can decide your itinerary.


Connections cost very little (around $2 each way), but are much slower than speed boats and are only available at certain times. To get to Maafushi we chose a speedboat because otherwise we would have had to wait 5 hours after landing and would have wasted a day.

To go to Maafushi you can also contact Maafushi tour through their facebook profile.

How to budget for Maldives Local ferry
How to budget for Maldives; Local ferry

Do excursions while staying at the local island


If you follow my advice to visit the local islands as well as a resort, to keep under control extra costs that would affect your budget for Maldives, I recommend you to make excursions from the local islands.


We did not do it and instead of taking part in three different excursions we did only one.

We foolishly thought that because we didn’t have much time in Maafushi it was better to enjoy some relaxation and leave the excursions to the days in the resort in case we got bored … nonsense !!! Nothing could have been more wrong.


The difference in cost is significant: for example, our guest house organized a whale shark excursion for $ 85 ++ pp. while at Conrad cost $200 ++ pp.
In Maafushi you will find several places that organize these types of excursions in case you want to compare prices.

How to budget for Maldives Sea turtles excursions
Sea turtles excursion: at least during our expensive excursion we saw a couple of turtles!!!!

Visit a resort from a local island


If your budget for Maldives vacation is truly limited, a solution to taste the life of the resort anyway is a one-day visit. From Maafushi, as from most of the islands, your guesthouse / hotel should have no problems organizing your transfer with a day pass to a resort. You can also check some prices here.

Choose resorts reachable with speedboat transfer instead of seaplane


Another suggestion to save money is to choose a resort that can be reached by a speedboat. Obviously there is a limit in terms of distance, if too far you will be forced to take a seaplane. The seaplane experience is definitely fantastic, but as you will have seen from my cost breakdown it will weigh heavily on your budget.


In most cases, from the local island you will have to return to the Male airport where the representatives of the resorts usually welcome the new guests and accompany them to the speedboat.

HOT TIP: Transfers with seaplanes have a price imposed by the resorts and are usually disproportionate. In case the resort you wish to visit is close to one of the other airports in the Maldives, then you could consider an internal flight and then transfer with a speedboat. You could be surprised how much you could save!

Food and drinks on resort are expensive


Well, unless you suggest I go hungry, there is little to say. These are the most difficult expenses to limit when trying to stay on a tight budget in a resort. When you are on a private island of a resort you will not have much choice, there are no kebab shops for a cheap sandwich!
Of course don’t forget that you will have a kettle in the room, you can always bring some instant noodle soup with you to fill the gap!


There are usually several restaurants to choose from in the resorts, ask to see the menus before booking because the prices vary a lot. Don’t assume that eating at one of the resort’s bars is cheaper than restaurants just because they are informal. As everywhere, what makes the bill higher than expected are usually alcoholic drinks. In the local islands you will not find alcohol (the Maldives is a Muslim nation), the resorts do not have this limit and it could be easy to get carried away after dry days …

While at the Conrad Maldives we spent on average between $55 and $65 per person for dinner. One night we had some food at the bar and the amount in the end was the same!!!

HOT TIP: if the resort you choose offers the possibility of having half / full board, consider well what is included and which restaurant you can use. Sometimes it may be more convenient to have the flexibility to choose on the spot.

COST OF TRIP TO MALDIVES: our experience

Ok, if you are curious, let’s now see how we organized our trip to the Maldives on a budget. I should state that when possible, for me, on a budget does not necessarily mean saving as much as possible, but rather using the same budget to get the most comfortable, pleasant and princessey trip as possible.


In the case of the Maldives we used a combination of airmiles and hotel points to manage a luxurious holiday without breaking the bank. In the end we spent little more than the cheap trip to Maldives that I sketched above, but we travelled in Business class on the way there, and we spent 5 nights in a fantastic resort that usually costs $ 1,000 per night.


Our strategy is perhaps not for everyone, but maybe only because you haven’t thought about it yet! I will not go into detail but here are the main steps of how we did it, write to me if you want more info.

How did we get to the Maldives

For our direct British Airways flight we used a 2-4-1 voucher from our British Airways American Express card. With difficulty I secured 2 seats in business class on the way there (Economy seats are much easier to find even last minute)


Taxes and carrier surcharges are very heavy on business class tickets and clearly, speaking about a trip to the Maldives on a budget, you don’t have to think about traveling in business class, but it all depends on your point of view. Traveling in Business class but spending the same as for economy was an excellent result for me.

Where did we stay

As per my suggestion we have sampled the two faces of the Maldives, we spent 2 nights in Maafushi, probably the most touristic local island and then 5 nights on a luxury resort

If you are thinking to stay in Maafushi you may want to read my opinion in Is Maafushi the best local island in Maldives?


In Maafushi we stayed in a lovely sustainable hotel called Liyela Retreat Maldives and then we moved to Conrad Rangali Island Maldives.

The Conrad hotel is one of Hilton’s most exclusive brands where you can also book the magnificent over water bungalows with points. The rooms are priced at 95,000 points per night, but you get the fifth night free when you pay for 4.

How to budget for Maldives: conrad rangali maldives beach
At the Conrad Rangali Maldives you could often have the beach all for yourself.

At the Conrad Rangali Maldives you could often have the beach all for yourself.

Below is a little summary of how much is a trip to Maldives if you follow this strategy. The seaplane to reach the resort is a mandatory cost and the restaurants are expensive, but you can see that using avios and hotel points, we only spent $600 extra compared to the previous average cost of vacation to Maldives…and of course we had a really special holiday.

Cost for Maldives trip for 2 people:
2 nights in a local island 5 nights in a resort
USD
business class flight from London to Male$ 900+62500
economy flight from Male to London$ 400+16250
2 nights local island incl. breakfast at
Liyela Retreat
$260
5 nights at a resort incl. breakfast:
Conrad Rangali Island
$0+380000
return speedboat
Male airport – Maafushi island
$100
seaplane
Male airport – to Conrad Maldives
$ 1179
food at Maafushi island$ 140
food a Conrad Rangali Island$ 460
1 excursion at resort$ 290
TOTAL$ 3729

I hope these tips and the details of Maldives prices will help you to budget for your dream holiday to Maldives and that you now have a better idea of how much it can cost to go to Maldives!

How to budget for Maldives for a terrific vacation

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