This article is a useful resource for planning your trip to the Maldives.

You’ve seen the eye-catching photos of idyllic thatched huts sitting on top of gentle turquoise blue waters; of unspoilt white coral beaches; of wooden decks with steps inviting you to descend into warm lagoons and of golden sunsets kissing the distant horizon.

You’ve pictured yourself snorkelling with Blueface angelfish and Yellowback Fusiliers or scuba diving with whale sharks while playing musical reefs with Manta rays. Tempted yet?

You can’t wait to unplug from your hectic schedule and mobile devices and submit yourself to a soothing massage on a private jetty with the sound of the Indian Ocean as your soundtrack and the warm breeze caressing you like a lover gently running their fingers along your skin.

You’re eager to spend your days windsurfing and parasailing or simply kicking back and doing…nothing. With all of these appeal to you, then the Maldives should be on your bucket list yet.

To help get started, we have compiled 5 travel tips which we hope you find useful when planning your trip to the Maldives.

 

1. When is the best time to visit?

planning your trip to the Maldives | Kurumba Maldives

We visited the Maldives in February and found that temperatures averaged around 25°C (77°F) with low humidity. Generally, the weather is agreeable for most of the year except for the months (low season) between May and October when rains and storms are more likely.

Although opportunities for lying on the beach during the rainy season may be more limited than at other times, on the flip-side this season is more appealing for diving and snorkelling, with marine life being reportedly at its peak during this time. Check out weather advisories from Lonely Planet, USA News, and Conde Nast.

Visiting in February placed us right in the middle of the peak Maldives travel season. As with most touristy places, if you don’t like crowds, then avoid planning your trip to the Maldives around major holidays e.g., Easter and the Chinese New Year.

As expected, prices typically skyrocket during this period and there is a higher influx of visitors. Even though we visited during peak travel season, we felt that we still got a good deal with our accommodation (see section on ‘Where to stay‘ below).

 

2. Where to stay in the Maldives

Planning your trip to the Maldives | Kurumba Maldives

Don’t base your choice of where to stay solely on reviews and photos. This is because some of the less commercial, more exclusive/ up-market resorts may not have the same amount of reviews as the more popular ones.

With over 100 resorts available, we may be wrong to assume that all of them offer the same high standards. However, with the cost of holidaying in the Maldives being so high for most of the year, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

The Maldives is one of those places on earth where you are highly likely to find quality service regardless of which resort you choose. Luxury is after all the operative word in these parts. So make your choice of where to stay based on what you want to do (e.g., spa treatment, scuba diving, honeymoon, excursions, fishing etc).

We stayed at Kurumba Maldivesa resort located close to the capital city Malé. Although our resort provided enough isolation and serenity for our needs, it was close to busy shipping and air traffic corridors and we could see seaplanes coming and going from the airport.

If what you’re looking for is a true ‘Robinson Crusoe / Cast Away’ type isolated feel, then avoid the resorts closer to Malé. However, bear in mind that the further away you stay from Male, the more you generally have to pay for transportation. See the ‘Transportation‘ section below for more details.

In addition, depending on your requirements, some resorts cater to specific requirements better than others. For example, families travelling with young kids may prefer resorts that offer a wider range of child-friendly activities while honeymooners may prefer resorts that offer more intimacy, isolation and romance.

However, with over 100 resorts to choose from (see a list from Transmaldivian here), we found it beneficial to work with a travel agent to help us narrow down our options to resorts which best suited our specific requirements.

Planning your trip to the Maldives | Looking out to the ocean

The Maldives is one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations and almost all of the resorts offer diving experiences. However, experienced and more adventurous divers may find resort selected reefs slightly restrictive.

If diving is your passion, you may want to consider ‘live aboards’ which offer a wider range of dive locations across the Maldives. Bloggers Divergent Travellers have written a pretty good guide to diving in the Maldives.

For budget travellers, check out AirBnB and TripAdvisor for cheaper accommodation options. Additionally, check out these very useful travel budget travel suggestions from bloggers Oneika and The Nomadic Boys.

Planning your trip to the Maldives

HDYTI Tip: When discussing your requirements with travel agents, try not to begin with the words, “My budget is…” If you start with this, there is a high chance that they may throw some standard (lower budget) options your way with little room for flexibility. Instead, we found it much better to go with, “I would like to do X-Y-Z in the Maldives. What can you get for me?” This often makes for a better discussion and gives you more room to work with the agent to fit your requirements into your budget. By the way, we used Barefoot Traveller and found them to be quite personal and professional

(Disclaimer: Barefoot Traveller is not related to HDYTI).

 

3. How much does it cost to holiday in the Maldives?

It goes without saying that since the Maldives almost only offers luxury travel you should be prepared to spend.

Maldivian Art Culture | Planning your trip to the Maldives | Kurumba Maldives

Although we would like to give you a breakdown of typical costs, we think that this might be misleading. The Maldives offers so many options to the point that one person’s requirements will most likely differ from another’s.

For an idea of average accommodation costs in the Maldives, Lonely Planet has done a neat summary (see here).

Upon arrival at your chosen resort, be prepared to be upsold on amenities, additional conveniences, meal plans and excursions. At Kurumba, we chose to upgrade our default ‘room and breakfast’ meal plan to include discounts on dinner at the various specialist restaurants; allowing us the opportunity to ‘save’ on the cost of walk-in meals.

We wanted to lie-in and have late morning starts so we chose a breakfast and dinner only (no lunch) meal option. We figured we could always grab an afternoon snack rather than a full sit-down lunch.

After shortlisting a few resorts, pick up the phone and call them to find out what meal options are available. As a rule of thumb, leave a margin of around 20% extra when budgeting for your visit.

If you think you may ‘get tired’ of doing nothing (as if this is even possible in the Maldives!), speak to your chosen resort (or visit their website) and review their timetable of activities. Most resorts offer complimentary activities.

For example, our resort offered a free Maldivian cooking demonstration, wine tasting and canoeing. Due to our proximity to the capital city of Malé, for a small fee (approx US$10 per head) they also arranged walking tours of the city (read about our Malé experience).

However, note that generally, activities will cost extra and these costs can quickly add up.

Water Sport costs Kurumba Maldives | Planning your trip to the Maldives

HDYTI Tip: US dollars are accepted across the Maldives. It is not necessary to change money into the local currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). See current exchange rates here.

 

4. Transportation in the Maldives

We assume that our readers already have their own preferred methods for finding cheap flights so we’ll skip that.

Planning your trip to the Maldives | 5 travel tips

Wherever you decide to stay in the Maldives, be sure to find out what type of transfer is available from the airport (i.e., speedboat, water taxi or sea plane). Note that seaplane transfers are expensive and could in some cases be four times the cost of speedboat transfers.

However, for those visiting the more remote islands, seaplane might be the only sensible way to reach them. Check out seaplane travel options here. When planning your trip, call resorts ahead of your visit and find out what transportation they offer or recommend. This may influence your decision on where to stay.

There are water taxis and ferries from the international airport which offer relatively cheaper transfers to some of the resort islands. However, these can be infrequent and weather dependent. Also, levels of comfort may vary.

 

5. It’s all about the water!

The Maldives is perfect for the traveller seeking comfortable idleness. Our resort experience confirmed that there is absolutely no pressure to get involved in any activity during your stay.

Water Sport Kurumba Maldives

If your preference is to do nothing, this is the perfect place for that! Excursions are perfect for stretching your legs for a few hours on selected inhabited islands (including local fishing villages). However, in the Maldives, it is all about the water!

We found that the majority of available recreational activities are water based so be prepared to literally immerse yourself (pun intended) in this place. Activities (or ‘Experiences’ as they were called in our resort) range from the more relaxed such as fishing, snorkelling/scuba diving around house reefs and dolphin watching to the more adrenaline pumping ones such as jet skiing and para-sailing.

Some resorts allow you to rent diving gear and may provide complimentary snorkelling gear. Be sure to find out if your resort offers complimentary equipment or if you have to pay for them (factor this into your budget).

Alternatively, hard-core water enthusiasts may prefer to bring their own gear. However, note that if you are travelling by seaplane, allowable luggage weight restrictions may apply.

 

Other money saving tips for planning your trip to the Maldives

We do not consider the Maldives to be a traditional shopping destination and most people who visit the Maldives do not typically have shopping at the top of their agenda. However, Malé the capital city is a hub for fresh agricultural produce and fish from the outlying islands.

There is also a bustling textile market in the city. However, apart from the souvenir shops, there isn’t much else to buy. For more information about shopping in the Maldives, see guides from VirtualTourist, Seven Holidays and Lonely Planet.

While the basics are provided in abundance at the resorts (i.e., shampoos, shower gels etc.), to save money, be sure to bring your own extras such as camera accessories, high factor sun block, sunglasses, beachwear etc. In our experience, buying these items at the resorts can be relatively expensive!

Water Sport Kurumba Maldives

Lastly, resort activities fill up early and may be fully booked on the day (e.g., scuba diving excursions) so it may make sense to call your resort ahead of your visit to book your place advance in order not to miss out!

However, our advice is not to fill up your time with activity. The Maldives is a place where life slows down considerably. That’s OK. Don’t miss the opportunity to switch off your devices, avoid Netflix and just chill out!

For more helpful tips for planning your trip to the Maldives, see this TripAdvisor guide ‘Maldives for the First Time Visitor‘.

Here’s a cool drone video from Singaporean vlogger Buro 24/7 which looks awesome!

Stunning scenes of the Maldives as shot by a drone from Buro 24/7 Singapore on Vimeo.

 

We hope you find these tips useful for your planning. If you’ve been to the Maldives and have any more useful tips to share on planning trips, we’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.

 

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).