Maldives Thrift Travel Guide: Tips to Visit Maldives On a Budget

by | Apr 2, 2022 | Indian Subcontinent LWP, Live Work Play Travel | 4 comments

Maldives are a sun and water worshipers paradise and I show you how to enjoy this with this Maldives thrift travel guide

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With so many wonders of nature that can be seen in the nearby Indian Ocean, Maldives is considered one of the most beautiful of them. With its crystal waters filled with fishes, sharks and corals, the warmth of the sunshine and the relaxing ambiance it exudes no wonder it is a popular destination. Known as being a luxe destination with lavish resorts it is one of those destinations that many splash out in. However, it is also possible to visit Maldives on a budget without breaking the bank.  This Maldives thrift travel guide, written by guest author Sara Del Rosario, will help you sort and book your stay in this special part of the world.


What and Where are the Maldives


The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls and around 1200 remote islands that are speckled in the Indian Ocean, south-west of Sri Lanka. Only 90 of the islands are developed where you will find tourist resorts surrounded by crystal clear waters filled with sea life. The islands are popular with scuba divers, surfers and honeymooners who come to enjoy the island lifestyle.


When to go to the Maldives


You will find great weather year-round in the Maldives with temperatures hovering between 23-31°C (74-89°F). November up to April is considered the peak season in the Maldives because of its weather. It’s pretty obvious that price rates at this time are very high. For a budget-friendly Maldives travel plan, schedule it during the shoulder season (between the peak and off seasons). Aside from lower rates, there will be a reduced 20% in occupancy in resorts and some accommodations. Therefore, the months from May to October will be ideal especially if you have a quite restricted budget. 


Book your flight online


Another practical way to visit Maldives on a budget is to book your flight months before the trip to avail of cheaper costs. Do some research and check any airlines that offer discounts and promos and grab it. Compare package rates from different airlines and do not forget to ensure its legitimacy before getting it. I like to use Skyscanner to find and purchase great budget-friendly flights.


Choose Accommodation Wisely


Maldives Has Bungalows Built Over The Crystal Waters.

Maldives are known for their bungalows built over the crystal clear waters


Accommodation rates in the Maldives usually depend on the season you’re planning to go in. To still attain your budget, you can go for some less expensive hotels located on the local islands. Also, look for the inclusions of accommodation offers like restaurants, bars, and kiddie facilities if you travel with children and of course, the view. Also, other inclusive like meals and other delights, activities, and other facilities that can be enjoyed must be considered before finalising the deal. 

One of the hardest things when visiting the Maldives is choosing where to stay. There are some incredibly enticing accommodation options. You have resorts with underwater restaurants and swanky nightclubs or resorts with over water bungalows that are only accessible by boat. Great if you are seeking a private getaway and are prepared to pay for it! There are also some iconic beach bubble tents on Finolhu Island that allow you to be closer to nature! Hostels are virtually non-existent in the Maldives so people on a budget mostly stay in guesthouses and small hotels. Check out U and for options that suit your budget and schedule.


How to get around the Maldives


There are ways to get around the Maldives. There is the reasonably-priced, though unreliable ferry service that will take you to different islands to visit. Just check the ferry service will return on the same day, cause sometimes they don’t. And they don’t run on the weekends. You can also access other islands by private boat or plane. Private speedboats are a little pricey but more dependable while flying is incredibly expensive so skip this if you want to stay on budget.


Be wise with your Packing


Aside from considering the essentials in your suitcase, you must also be aware of the restricted policies in the Maldives. This place is a Muslim country, so expect that there are things that aren’t allowed to bring, like pork, alcohol, tobacco products, and some religious books. Nobody wants to be fined (or other worse consequences) just because of being disobedient.

When it comes to devices, besides the must-haves like phone, charger, and power bank bring a water-resistant or polarized camera to capture all of the activities you’ll do and sights you’ll be seeing. Be sure to pack comfortable clothes, swimwear, and flip flops or sandals. Here is my suggest packing list for a beach holiday.


Be aware of taxes and hidden costs


To experience the best of Maldives without hurting your pocket, never miss out on the public rates on the food menu, vehicle rentals, accommodations, excursions among others. Adding tips from their services is not obligatory, but if you do, do it in a way that you can still stick to your budget.


Always bring cash, especially USD


Maldivian Rufiyaa is the national currency of Maldives. There are services and shops that accept USD, so it’s good to have some when you travel. With this, you do not always need to use your credit cards to purchase your needs.


Avoid switching locations frequently


Yes, staying for a few days or weeks is not enough to savour this paradise. Most stay a week or more. It is not very practical to move from one place to another because of the expense, unless you have budgeted to do so. This is why in this Maldives thrift travel guide, planning and researching are very important to do ahead of your Maldives visit.


Save $$ by having Big Brunches


Enjoy A Meal In An Underwater Restaurant In The Maldives.

Save yourself for a great meal in an underwater restaurant


Meals can be expensive so it’s a good idea to combine breakfast and lunch into one meal. Have a heavy breakfast between 10 or 11 in the morning, and you will definitely never be hungry at lunchtime. Thus saving you some money. But if you have water activities planned for the day, the last thing you will want is to sink! 

You will want to experience some traditional cuisine in the Maldives. Of course fish and seafood soups and stews are often on the menu. Be sure to experience local favourites like gulf (fried fish filled dough balls) or kulfi (spicy fish cakes) and for something sweet, Bondi bai (Maldivian rice pudding).

If you are hoping to cook your own food, ensure to stock up at the stores in Malé. 


BYOS – Bring Your Own Wet Suit and Gear


The Maldives is so abundant in water getaways like marine life exploration which always awaits to be enjoyed. And you can savour it while saving more by bringing your own suit. Some resorts and accommodations offer water suits and equipment for additional costs daily. So, it’s better to bring and use your own and skip all the hassles in rentals that might bring more stress to your pockets. 


Buy locally made Souvenirs


Buying some memorabilia is surely a part of your list, for your personal memento or friends and loved ones. In the Maldives, you can buy sarongs, lacquer work, dhonis, and traditional Maldivian mats called Thundu Kunaa. Just be ready to explore souvenir shops and compare their prices to get the best yet affordable souvenirs!


Final Words on this Maldives Thrift Travel Guide


I hope you have decided that the Maldives does indeed fit your budget. It isn’t a place that many travellers pick up work unless you are a digital nomad and are working online. Hopefully you have made enough money from other work and travel abroad opportunities. No matter your budget, you won’t be disappointed in the beauty, water sports and general laid back lifestyle. I’d love to hear your comments on your Maldives trip in the comments.


If in the area, here is some more work and travel abroad inspiration:

How to visit the Taj Mahal
African Safaris
South Africa Digital Nomad Guide

Maldives On A Budget PIN. Maldives Known For its Resorts Built Over The Ocean.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.


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Hi. Sharyn here. Savvy Australian female with a passion for travel and working abroad. I’m on a mission to provide you with my best tips, tricks and hacks to work abroad and travel the world. If I can do it, so can you!  Read more.


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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 


  1. Magdalena

    Great post! I always thought Maldives is all about resorts and luxury, but as you can see you can travel on a budget too 🙂

  2. Lasma

    Great tips… It’s such a beautiful place, so it’s good to know that there are still budget options available! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Lenore

    This post is awesome! I’ve always wanted to travel to the Maldives and you’ve provided great tips on how to budget for a trip there. I’ll save it for later.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      I’m glad you think so. But it is great to know that you can visit some ‘exclusive’ places on a budget.


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