The Maldives can be a lovely place if you’re young and single or even traveling with friends.
It can also burn a hole in your travel budget very quickly, especially if you’re backpacking and trying to ration money before you hit, or are coming from, the expensive European states. At the same time, if you love scuba diving or even just a tropical paradise it is hard to pass up the chance to visit the Maldives. So, can you travel Maldives on a budget?
My advice is to make your trip to the Maldives short and sweet.
To justify the plane ticket you need to depart from someplace close. Sri Lanka is the perfect staging point for a Maldives on a budget trip and an excellent place to spend a few weeks before or after. The flight takes just 1 ½ hours from Colombo to Male (the capital of the Maldives) and Sri Lanka offers a great mix of culture, mountains, beaches and jungle safaris for incredibly cheap prices. In fact you could probably spend two weeks in Sri Lanka and spend the same amount you would in the Maldives over three days at a resort.
So, how to travel Maldives on a budget?
1) Make the trip short
3 days and 2 nights will give you enough time to soak in the beautiful sun and sand an allow you to go scuba diving on day two. Just remember to plan enough time between your dives and your flight out (between 12-18 hours). Make sure to check out a flight compare website to get the cheapest flight.
2) Stay in Male
The capital of the Maldives is anything but an exciting party destination. However, if you are low on cash and time it may be your best option. There is no alcohol allowed in the Maldives, except on resorts and only for tourists, so you won’t find a club scene on Male. What you will find is accommodation for under 100 USD a night and a number of dive centers offering daily dive trips. The boats are a great place to meet new people, and since everyone is in the same situation as you on Male most people are eager to meet for dinner afterwards. If you are craving a beer you can always take the 5 minute ferry over to the airport island and drink at its hotel.
Accomodation in Male under US $100 per night:
3) Day trip to a resort
If you want to experience a Maldivian resort you can always take the short ferry ride to Bandos Island (15-20 mins). It is usually filled with a mix of singles and travelers on short trips from Sri Lanka. It is also one of the cheaper resorts in the Maldives so you could even splurge for a night or two if you want. Don’t forget to grab a well deserved, if overpriced, mojito.