The Maldives is a place of beauty and unrivalled tropical beaches, with a reputation for being expensive to visit.
Thankfully though, like most destinations around the world, the Maldives can be enjoyed on a budget as well. It is all a matter of avoiding the peak season and planning a budget in advance.
We take a look at the best time to visit the Maldives, how to get there for cheaper and how to make your money go further during your visit to the Maldives.
Budget Travel for Maldives Holidays
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Although you shouldn’t expect to pay cheap prices as you would in Thailand, Bali or Vietnam, you can still pay prices lower than you normally would. It all comes down to research before booking your flights and accommodation.
Best Time to Visit Maldives
The popular season of the year for tourists is between November and April.
This is the peak season and the weather is hot and dry. You can save quite a bit of money by rather travelling in the off-peak ‘shoulder’ seasons. This would be any time between early May and late September.
If you can fit it into your budget, then late April would be the best time of the year to go to the Maldives – for a more budget-friendly visit, while still enjoying great weather.
Some travellers may see August as the worst time to visit the Maldives, as it is the wettest month. However, despite the rain, you will still get plenty of sunshine – and low prices.
The Maldives has different weather patterns each year, and temperatures and chances of rain can be different from forecasts. This means that you can still catch some beautiful sunshine, even though you may experience rain in the morning or late afternoons.
Cheapest Time to Fly to the Maldives
The cost of your flight to the Maldives will depend on what time of the year you decide to go. The peak season from November to April will see the highest prices for flight tickets. Whereas the off-season from May to October will see more affordable holiday prices and package deals.
To get the most out of your trip, you should check out several booking agents and tour providers. There will be many deals, and you can compare prices between them.
It is also a good idea to use online price aggregator sites, like Skyscanner, to compare ticket prices between all the airlines flying to the Maldives.
Cheap Accommodation in the Maldives
The Maldives has plenty of upmarket resorts and hotels. Many of them have hefty price tags, and budget travellers may struggle. Luckily, there are many deals on accommodation in the off-season.
The trick is to start looking early, and to shop around. If you choose to use a booking agent, tell them that you are shopping around for the best deal and they may even lower their prices.
The Maldives has, in recent years, permitted locals to open their own guesthouses and B&B’s. So you can use sites like Airbnb to book much cheaper accommodation on the various islands.
Avoid staying on the capital island of Malé where prices can be ridiculously high for hotel rooms. The resorts in the Maldives often charge prices per night starting from USD$300. You can find cheaper resorts during the off-peak months, but these would still be more expensive than guesthouses.
Guesthouses make it possible to stay for much cheaper in the Maldives at around USD$40 per night.
Where to Stay During Cheap Holidays to the Maldives
When looking for a place to stay during your holiday to the Maldives, it’s often hard to find affordable options. But they are there. There are plenty of Maldives deals that make a budget holiday possible, even when heading to such a luxurious place. Here are a few accommodation options for your holidays to the Maldives.
Biyadhoo Island Resort
Biyadhoo Island Resort provides a luxury getaway experience that doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s also a great all-inclusive Maldives resort that works for families. With simple, clean and basic rooms, your family will feel right at home. The resort also offers family-friendly activities like banana boat rides, yachting, snorkelling and diving.
It’s also the perfect Maldives vacation option for honeymooners and lovebirds looking for a romantic getaway.
Dhiguveli Maldives Is a great place to stay in the Maldives if you’re looking for a hotel experience. Shrouded in palm trees with a beachfront view, you’ll really experience the tropical feel at this wonderful hotel.
With air conditioning and free WiFi, you’re assured you’ll have a comfortable stay while using this hotel as a base for your holiday. Whether you’re spending off-season in the Maldives or you’re there during the peak holiday season, Dhiguveli will take care of you.
Thundi Guest House
Thundi Guest House provides a unique and private experience. Living in a guest house shrouded in jungle-like surrounds, you’re guaranteed privacy and beautiful views. It’s a great place for those wanting space to themselves to explore the beautiful area.
Because of its convenient beachfront location, you can spend your days wading through the shallow water, meeting manta rays and exploring the stunning snorkelling locations right nearby.
Somerset Inn provides a completely different experience as it’s located in the heart of Male City. What this accommodation option lacks in ocean views and jungle-like surrounds, it makes up for in modern amenities and price reductions.
With a bar and dining area, you can dine in every night in style. The rooms have a beach boma type style that makes you feel like the beach is right outside your window, even though you’re in the heart of a city. With restaurants, bars and shopping locations within walking distance, this hotel is a great option for those looking to save a pretty penny.
Things to Do on Cheap Maldives Holidays
Maldives all-inclusive holidays are wonderful, but they do come at a cost. When you’re on a budget, sometimes it’s better to pick a few luxurious or fun-filled activities that you’re willing to splurge on. Here are some of the best things to do in the Maldives.
When you’re searching for things to do on a budget in the Maldives, snorkelling has to go to the top of your list. While you can take guided tours of the best places to snorkel, it’s easy enough to find these spots for yourself. Hiring equipment or bringing your own works out a lot cheaper than taking a tour, plus you still get to see the tropical fish and beautiful underwater biodiversity.
Wade through crystal clear waters while keeping your eyes peeled for the incredible underwater life that resides in this portion of the ocean.
Tubing is all kinds of fun, especially if you’re in the Maldives with a group of friends. Take an hour-long tubing tour while you and your friends cling to a tube being pulled at an incredible pace by a speedboat.
Alternatively, if there are enough of you, it may work out cheaper to hire a boat and tube for the day. Split the costs between your group of friends and get your heart racing as you whizz through the water.
There are plenty of companies selling this experience along the beachfront. It may prove to be one of the pricier activities on your Maldives itinerary, but there’s always going to be one or two activities worth splurging on.
Be propelled high into the air as you are pulled by a boat. It’s a rather intimidating thing being so high up. But once you get used to it, you’ll take in some incredible views of the Maldives from above.
Gracefully gliding over calm waters is one of the more relaxing activities in the Maldives. Although your arms will get a decent workout, you can stop, pause and take a break at any time.
Hiring a stand-up paddleboard is fairly cheap and allows you to look into the water from a standing position, which is often very effective for marine life spotting. Grab a board and a paddle from any of the numerous stores that hire them out and head into the ocean for a day of fun.
This is also a great alternative for those who can’t surf and have little desire to learn. It’s easy to pick up and provides a great source of entertainment.
Watching the Sunset
If you’re looking for free activities to take part in in the Maldives, watching the sunset has got to take the cake. Watching a beautiful ball of fire duck over the horizon and set the sky ablaze with reds, oranges, yellows and even pinks is an experience like no other. And doing so in a paradisiacal place like the Maldives makes it even more majestic.
Grab a cocktail at a beachfront bar, or simply head onto the shoreline with your travel partner, camera ready to watch as day turns into night. You can do this at any of the best beaches in the Maldives.
Explore a Sand Bank
Yet another free activity in the Maldives, is heading to a sandbank. There are many sandbanks all around the Maldives, and what makes them special is their pure isolation. You can walk to them through the shallow ocean and explore their surrounding coral reefs.
What better place to experience diving than in the tropical paradise of the Maldives? Explore the underwater world of coral reefs, and see incredible creatures like sharks, eagle rays and many other wonderful creatures.
Note that if you don’t have a licence to dive you can still go diving, but you’ll be restricted to a depth of 12 metres. This is still fairly deep and will allow you to take in incredible sights of the underwater world.
As you’ll need the right equipment, it’s best to take a tour that enables you to dive in all the best spots. If you’re a beginner, you’ll also be trained in how to make use of the diving equipment. However, if you’re an experienced diver, the freedom that comes with hiring your own equipment and venturing out into the open ocean might suit you better.
Fishing is one of those activities that require equipment. For this reason, it’s better to take a tour as you’ll have access to an unlimited supply of fishing tackle and equipment. Many of these tours include chartering a boat, and the locals will take you to the best fishing spots in the area.
This is hard to know when you’re not familiar with the area. Taking a tour will prevent you from wasting time using the wrong tackle and bate, and prevent further frustrations. If you’re an avid fisherman, this is an activity well worth taking part in during your time in the Maldives.
How to Get Around the Maldives on a Budget
The Maldives is an island nation, which means that getting around happens either by sea or air.
The first is the expensive option of speed boats that start from USD$300. You can also choose to fly from Malé with domestic flights that start at USD$200 per flight.
The cheapest option is to use the public ferries that leave from Malé. Trips on a ferry can cost between $3 – $20 USD, depending on the travelling distance.
Try a local tour of Malé while you’re there, and see the beauty of the capital island.
You might find cheaper transport deals during the off-peak season, but the ferries are still the best option.
Things to Remember About Holidays to the Maldives on a Budget
The Maldives is a Muslim nation, which means that modest clothing is required outside of the luxury resorts. Female travellers that are going to stay in guesthouses outside of the resorts would need to cover their shoulders and legs.
It is very possible to visit the Maldives on a budget, but you would need to give up the luxuries and comforts of the resorts, and stick to the rules of the islands.
You can also book tours and activities through guesthouse owners, or tag along with the excursions organized by the resorts. Many resorts will not mind, especially during the off-peak season when business is slower.
The budget travel industry in the Maldives is still in development, so you could expect fewer facilities and options if you do decide to take the cheaper route.
The cheapest time to go to the Maldives will depend on how much you mind the rain, or whether you choose to stay in a resort or guesthouse. Either way, you still get to experience the tropical beauty of this island paradise.
So When Is the Cheapest Time to Visit the Maldives?
The best times to visit on a budget would be between April and June. The weather is not as wet as later months, and you can find comfy accommodation, which is cheaper than the luxury resorts.
Try booking your flight in advance, and plan around the peak seasons. The Maldives is far out, and you would need to shop around for the best flight.
You can still experience the thrill of visiting these iconic tropical islands, despite being on a budget, and perhaps you will return again in the future.