How To Do The Maldives Without Blowing The Budget
It's never going to be cheap, but there are a few ways to make the most of your hard-earned £££.
Dreaming of a trip to the Maldives but don’t have a Justin Bieber-level savings account to splash on your holidays?
It is still possible to live the white sand and coral-dotted dream with the help of a few tricks to help keep you from totally blowing the budget.
WATCH OUR ADVENTURE IN MALDIVES BELOW...
Go all inclusive
The Maldives isn’t exactly geared up to backpackers in the way South East Asia is, for example, but travel can still be done on a defined budget if you’re clever with how you spend your cash.
If you want the full island experience, your best bet is going to be a resort and luckily for you, many are all inclusive, meaning that you know exactly what you’re getting when you book.
We stayed at OBLU Select at Sangeli, a brand new sister resort to the slightly more high-end OBLU Atmosphere at Helengeli. It’s family friendly but has an adults-only pool and bar if you need a little respite, plus is actually two islands connected by an over the water boardwalk that curves around the serene lagoon. With prices starting around £2,499pp for 7 nights all inclusive including flights and transfers, it’s a breath of fresh Indian Ocean air when it comes to a four-star experience without the gasp-inducing price tag.
The facilities are all there too, with pools, beaches, bars and a spa. Besides unlimited access to the main buffet restaurant, each stay also includes a dining experience at both of the two speciality restaurants: the fish and seafood grill and the gourmet vegetarian restaurant, both of which offer beautiful sea views and speciality, local-inspired fare. Alcoholic drinks are included in the all inclusive plan, there’s nightly entertainment at the pool bar and your stay includes two excursions from the island as an added bonus. We went for a sunset cruise and a fishing trip, but there's also snorkelling trips and a PADI dive school to help you explore.
Pick a resort with a house reef
When you think of the Maldives, it’s likely the crystal blue water and schools of tropical fish that come to mind. Picking a resort with a house reef is a great way to get access to this. Not only does it make for an amazing view – we spotted Manta rays, eels and even turtles from the boardwalk at OBLU Select – but because it’s on your doorstep, it means you don’t have to pay extra to go out of the resort on snorkelling trips if you don’t want to.
Instead you can swim straight from the beach and pretty much guarantee you’ll see some amazing marine life with minimum effort.
Choose your accommodation wisely
Let’s be real: if your dream trip involves relaxing in a luxurious over-water villa complete with infinity pool, you’re going to have to pay for it. But if you choose a resort with different types of accommodation, there’s more likely to be a variety of price points, one of which might well save you a few pennies.
Over at OBLU Select, there is the option to stay in an over-water villa and let’s not pretend that the room's private pool, direct step access into the blue lagoon and glass floor to spy on marine life floating past isn’t pretty spectacular. But the slightly more affordable options are the beach villas, which are actually just as stunning, offering private views of the white sandy beach and a dreamy open air bathroom. There's also the option of a private pool if you’re willing to pay a little extra but you'd be fine without thanks to the resort's two big communal pools and, of course, the fact you can go from your doorstep straight into the sea.
Double check the added extras
If you’re going with a resort island, check out the facilities and what sort of added extras are included in the price.
Will you have to fork out extra for excursions? Is diving included? Can you borrow or hire snorkelling equipment, or would it make more sense to take your own?
Pick your added activities carefully
While many resorts offer some included excursions into packages, it’s likely that you might have to pay extra for boat trips and days away from the island. There’s plenty on offer, with everything from fishing to whale shark and dolphin spotting, but do your research and shop around before booking in. Our package included free paddle boarding and kayaking
It’s also worth bearing in mind the on site spas, which offer a diverse menu of blissful massages and wellness treatments - well worth saving a little bit of budget for!
Don’t forget about transfers
Before you book anything, be sure to check the small print. For some resorts, transfers to the island are an added extra. If your resort is near-ish to the airport on the mainland at Malé, this might work out at a hundred or so dollars, but if you need to transfer via sea plane further south, prepare to have to spend more to get yourself there - even if it is organised through your resort.
Check out the off-season offers
High season in the Maldives is December through March, with the best weather usually between November and April. May to October is low season, meaning you are more likely to find a bargain during these months. That said, while the Maldives is warm and sunny all year round, there’s not loads to do when it’s pouring down with rain, so it’s worth bearing that in mind if you are going to try and find a cheaper deal by sticking to the off season.
MTV travelled with…OBLU Select At Sangeli. Packages start at £2,499 per person, based on two adults staying in a Water Villa or Beach Villa on All Inclusive Serenity Plan for 7 nights, with return Etihad flights from LHR. Includes return Speedboat transfers. Book via www.destinology.co.uk, or call 01204 824057.