Can You Travel To Maldives On A Budget
Travel enthusiasts from all over the world have heard or read about Maldives at least once before. Be it from a video, an article, a blog, etc. It is seen as a jewel of tourism, a wonder of nature and a destination to be visited. After seeing the pictures, the insta-reels and YouTube reviews, those who love island life and the sea wouldn’t be able to resist.
Due to Maldives being unique in its geography and the charm it offers, there’s always a big price tag stamped onto any sort of trip. The flights are expensive, staying at a well-known resort costs hundreds of dollars a night and anything you want to do at the resort can rack up your bill quite fast.
This doesn’t mean your trip to the Maldives should be cut short just because of budget constraints. There are options aside from resorts that wouldn’t burn through your finances as easily.
Why Visit The Maldives On A Budget?
Before we even answer the WHY, let’s address the elephant in the room: can you do Maldives on a budget? The short and quick answer is absolutely yes! People have been travelling to Maldives on a budget for years now and all it takes is a bit of planning, a sense of adventure and diving into Maldives beyond the resorts.
Sure, the space is mostly filled with luxury travellers and their time with Maldives’ four and five star resorts. This is the experience where everything is laid out for you on a silver platter. You can pick and choose whatever it is you want to do in that resort bubble.
And while that is what people want, the truly authentic Maldivian experience can sometimes be lost on people.
That is exactly why people should visit Maldives on a budget. The experience is so much more raw and true to the island life. The food, the people, the accommodations, all these aspects and more become more affordable and more authentic.
Finding Affordable Accommodations: Is It Easy?
It wasn’t that easy in the past. When the tourism industry in Maldives started in 1973, there were only two resorts that would cater to guests visiting Maldives. Back then, the options were extremely limited, as it was a new concept to the country.
But now, a simple Google search will show you a varying amount of guest houses that will gladly accommodate anyone. They are incredibly affordable compared to the island resorts and you get good value for money. Some places have air conditioning, free breakfasts, complimentary wi-fi and more!
These businesses have been cropping up from local islands, giving the locals a chance to thrive in the industry and make a positive impact on society. And arguably, they’re one of the best places to stay in Maldives on a budget, as it offers a very different experience.
You also have the option of staying at the capital Male’. There are lots of guest houses available for you to stay at as well. Staying at the capital is a lot easier on the mind as you’ll be able to find just about anything you’d need there.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can plan some day trips to visit the islands nearby as well. There are multiple ferries / boats that’ll take you to neighbouring islands for quite cheap, allowing you to explore at your own pace. Become your own tour guide and take in the island life.
Planning Tips For Saving Money
One of the best ways you can save money is by making your flight booking for an off-season visit, which is from mid-May to November. Keep in mind, the off-season is the rainy season in Maldives so you might want to factor in a bit of rain as well.
If you want to take it a step further, try finding some travel deals for your flight that would ease up on your expenses. The off-season in Maldives has ticket prices going for cheap as people don’t really like the rain.
Another thing you can do is check whether any of the accommodations has any all-inclusive packages or meal plan options. If you like food then there’s a chance you might end up spending a lot as Maldivian food tastes outstanding. Herbs and spices dance all over the cuisine, taking your palette on a delicious journey. Which is why it might be a good idea to look into the options mentioned above.
You can also look into what the local transport options are. In the capital, you have the option of getting around either by taxi, bus or Maldives’ equivalent of Uber which is AvasRide. Taxi’s (which includes the taxi’s in AvasRide) tend to be the more expensive option out of all of these. Buses are the cheaper option and the cheapest option is going on foot.
If you want to go to another island, your best bet would be to take a ferry / boat from one island to the other. They are super cheap and will take you to nearby islands fairly quickly. Speedboats tend to be on the more expensive side but if you’re in a rush, there’s no harm in taking one IF it’s in your budget.
Enjoying Budget Friendly Activities
Just because you’re travelling to Maldives on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what Maldives has to offer. There are a variety of things you can do to keep boredom away.
If you’re a beach lover, one of the things you can do for free is do some beachcombing. The sands of this country have secrets hidden beneath them, waiting for a traveller like you to reveal them. Almost every beach in Maldives becomes your DIY excursion zone.
While beachcombing is allowed, keep in mind that it is illegal to take seashells, coral, shark teeth, sand, tortoise shells, basically anything that is a part of nature home with you. Anything else is fair game.
Some snorkelling or diving centres tend to be low in cost and aren’t unreasonable to include in your budget trip. They will take you out to amazing spots at sea and show you the beauty of the Maldivian ocean. Different species of fish will frolic around you, manta rays or whale sharks might make an appearance (depending on where the divers take you) and turtles might swim past you.
The same can be said for all other types of watersports and excursions. Activities such as fishing, island hopping, dolphin watching and more are available and can be done via dive centres. The capital Male’ has a place called Dive Club Maldives that can accommodate your ocean-based needs!
If you’re more of a land-dweller rather than a sea-explorer, the capital Male’ has a bunch of stuff you can do, most of which are on the cultural end of the spectrum. You can visit the National Museum, where early-age tools, clothes and ancient Maldivian texts are put on display.
Locally and culturally important structures such as the Victory Monument, Muleeaage (house of the President) and the Munnaaru are some of the few sites you can check out for free.
The traditional dance known as Bodu Beru is also something every tourist must experience. An experience made of drums, singing and dancing that intensifies as the song goes on and fills you with a burning desire to join the dance floor.
There are groups of professionals who provide this experience as a service for a fee or you can experience it for free if you’re lucky enough to walk by a function / birthday party / celebration, be it on the beach at the capital or during Eid at any of the local islands.
Is Dining At Maldives On A Budget Viable?
Yes, you absolutely can! While resort food is incredible as well, getting your meals straight from an island is the most authentically Maldivian food you’ll have. Whether you’re on a local island or at the capital, you should visit some of the local cafes. Maldivian food thrives in these places and they can be quite cheap as well, making it the perfect option to try some Maldivian cuisine.
These cafes are all over the place. All it takes to find them is to ask a local on the street or a friend you may have in Maldives where the best local food is and they’ll gladly point you in that direction. You can even walk around in the inner roads of the capital and find a cafe’ out of the blue. Our advice is to find a cafe or street food stalls with an old granny that makes the food. They tend to make the best food that’s sure to tickle your tastebuds.
Travelling Responsibly On A Budget
No matter which country you go to, it’s always a positive to support local businesses whenever you can. Instead of buying stuff from brand name stores, try checking out a cafe if you want to have some juice or a local souvenir shop for some clothes and gifts for your friends.
They tend to be cheaper as well so there’s next to no downside in exploring. You should also bring your own shopping bags instead of carrying around the plastic bags these establishments would give you. Maldives has implemented a rule where a plastic bag has a two Rufiyaa (‘Rufiyaa’ is the name of Maldivian currency) charge. This can stack up quite fast so bring your own bag both for your budget and for the sake of the environment.
Budgeting & Saving Tips
We know that keeping an eye on your expenses can be time consuming and a bit stressful. Instead of having a book to write your expenses on or even on Notes on your phone, opt for an app that would track your expenses for you.
Mint and Goodbudget are great apps that will help you plan out your finances and help you track them as well. Mint is completely free and Goodbudget has a free version, along with a Goodbudget Plus version if you feel like spending a bit to ease your experience.
Before you go on your trip, any sensible person would want to save as much as possible. One of the best things you can do is substitute eating out at restaurants, to buying fresh groceries weekly or monthly. This saves quite a bit of money as you get to plan your finances precisely week-by-week.
Saving up as much as possible is doable during your trip as well. Try and find an accommodation option that provides all your basic amenities and a free meal so that you wouldn’t spend as much overall.
Over the years, it has become easier to travel to Maldives on a budget. Now, almost everyone has the opportunity to experience this land of unparalleled beauty.
Just a bit of financial planning on your part, some deep research into Maldives about food, activities and accommodation will have you experiencing paradise without breaking the bank. If this is your first time visiting Maldives, we recommend you check out this article as well. We hope you enjoy Maldives as it was meant to be enjoyed!