Maldives on a Budget: How to Enjoy Resort Luxury Without Breaking the Bank
The Maldives is breathtakingly beautiful, teeming with incredible marine life, and blessed with more stunning resorts than you can shake a stick at. It’s also eye-wateringly expensive. But before you shelve the plans for your dream holiday, here are five ways to make it more affordable.
Most guides to travelling the Maldives on a budget recommend staying in a guesthouse on a local island and taking the ferry instead of a private speedboat. And while we wholeheartedly encourage people to visit the local islands – everyone should at least once – if you’ve got your heart set on two weeks of sipping cocktails poolside at a luxury Maldives resort, a local island experience isn’t going to cut it.
So, how can you book a resort stay without blowing your budget? We asked our Maldives Specialists for their top tips and advice to help you turn your holiday dreams into a budget-friendly reality. Here’s what they said.
1. Save on transfers
Travelling by seaplane might seem like the ultimate way to get around in the Maldives, but it’s also the most expensive. Depending on how far your resort is from Malé, it’ll cost you between £400 and £800 per person for return seaplane transfers. Compare that with around £100 to £285 for return speedboat transfers, and you can make a substantial saving by not straying too far from Velana International Airport in Malé.
This still leaves you with a huge choice of resorts in the neighbouring atolls of North Malé, South Malé, Vaavu, and North Ari. For example, Kurumba is a short 10-minute speedboat journey away, Gili Lankanfushi is a 20-minute hop from the airport, and you can reach Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa in just 25 minutes.
If you do want to travel further afield, consider going by domestic flight and speedboat rather than seaplane, which can reduce the transfer cost by hundreds of pounds per person.
2. All-inclusive is a great option – but not always the best
On private islands where the cost of meals and drinks can quickly add up, going all-inclusive is a great way to make sure you’ve covered all your expenses before you even set foot on the plane. Many resorts offer generous all-inclusive packages, and some include extra goodies like in-villa minibars, popcorn machines, and ice cream, plus complimentary spa treatments and a choice of excursions. Our favourite Maldives all-inclusive packages include Constance Moofushi, which is an all-inclusive-only resort, Ayada’s Diamond All-Inclusive, and the Niyama Luxury Experience.
Having said that, it’s worth doing your homework to find out whether all-inclusive is actually the best value for you. At some resorts, there’s quite a jump from full board to all-inclusive, and if you don’t drink very much, you might be better off going full board and paying for your drinks and activities as you go.
3. Don’t write off the low season
While high season, which runs from December to April, is the best time to head to the Maldives for consistently good weather, the low season is where you’ll find the best deals. Between May and November, resort prices drop significantly, and it’s not uncommon to see discounts of up to 45% on accommodation. It’s also likely you’ll get extra bonuses like discounted or free transfers, complimentary meal plan upgrades, and free child places, which can add up to huge savings.
The weather is less consistent than in high season, with a greater chance of rainfall, but daily high temperatures hover around a toasty 30ºC (86ºF), and the sea temperature rarely deviates from the high 20s. At the same time, resorts aren’t as busy, and it’s a great time to spot incredible marine life, like whale sharks and manta rays.
If you’re concerned about the weather, the shoulder season months of April and November can offer a good compromise of lower prices and better weather conditions.
4. Get your timing right
If you’re travelling in high season (December to April) and you’ve got your heart set on a particular resort, don’t wait until the last minute to book in hopes of getting a better deal. Even if resorts do release last-minute offers, you run the risk of your preferred villa type being fully booked, and some resorts never discount their rooms.
Instead, keep an eye out for early-bird deals or special offers throughout the year and book in advance.
Having said that, if you are flexible with your resort, waiting for sales periods like Easter and Black Friday can pay dividends. To make sure you don’t miss out on a sale, sign up to our e-mail list, and you’ll also receive regular special offers, details of flash sales, and travel features like this one.
5. Use a specialist travel agent
When your goal is to visit the Maldives on a budget, it’s tempting to head to the usual suspects like Booking.com to get the cheapest price, but the Maldives is one country where that doesn’t usually pay off. Prices on hotel booking platforms rarely include transfers, and you may find yourself forking out for hidden extras like taxes and surcharges. Not to mention that booking a Maldives holiday can be a touch…well…confusing.
Specialist travel agents, like Maldives Luxe, often have access to better deals as we have close relationships with the resorts, and we’ll take care of transfer arrangements and make sure the price includes everything you need to pay. You’ll also get financial protection, so if something goes wrong, you won’t lose out.
Most importantly, you have access to our wealth of knowledge and experience, so instead of trying to figure out how to make your holiday fit your budget on your own, we’ll do it for you.
If you’re flexible on where you want to go, use our free Luxe Assist service. Just tell us a few details about your perfect holiday and your budget, and we’ll find you the best resorts and deals available.
Or, if you’ve got your heart set on a particular resort, get in touch, and we’ll keep an eye out for any deals that come up in the future and let you know as soon as they do.
Have you visited the Maldives on a budget?
If you’ve managed to plan a cheap Maldives holiday, how did you do it? Is there anything you’d add to our tips on visiting the Maldives on a budget? Let us know here or on social!
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