Before we get started and you call me a liar, let me clarify something. We spent $4,000 on accommodations (breakfast and dinner included; not drinks), flights from Little Rock to Malé and our voucher included one way transportation to the resort. So, this does not include what we spent on the island or getting back to Malé for our flight home. I’ll provide that info below! So, read on to find out how to get to the Maldives without breaking the bank!
Full disclosure: I am not getting paid to write this article. Although, I wouldn’t mind if you let Travelzoo know it would be nice for the compensation 😉
A breakdown of our Expenses
- Flight LR>New York: $300 pp
- Flight New York to Malé: $700 pp
- Voucher for 7 nights in an overwater bungalow, breakfast and dinner and one-way transportation to the resort: $1,600 for two people
- Transportation back to Malé: $175 pp
- Drinks, dining at two of the restaurants on the island that weren’t included in the package, 4 snorkel trips and SUP: ~$800
- Total Cost of our Maldivian Honeymoon: ~$4,750
How we scored this price
First of all, flights are always going to be rather pricey from the US to the other side of the world. I think $1,000 a plane ticket was a pretty typical price for a while. Maybe $1,200. But, if you’ve tried to book anything recently, you know flight prices are expensive right now! So, keep that in mind.
Second, we booked our resort through Travelzoo. If you haven’t used Travelzoo before, then it is a third-party company that basically looks for current hotel or flight deals and posts them on their app or website. Sometimes you get other perks as well when you book through Travelzoo. Travelzoo works in a few couple of different ways.
- Hotels/resorts can advertise on Travelzoo independently where you purchase the voucher through Travelzoo and then contact the hotel directly to book your dates (this is how we booked our resort)
- Or, Travelzoo will post deals found on other sites such as All-Inclusive Outlet, UTO Vacation group travel, etc. In this case, Travelzoo will direct you to THEIR sites and you’ll book through them.
Our experience with the first option was very smooth. Once we purchased the voucher on Travelzoo, I contacted Reethi Faru (the resort) directly, confirmed my dates and told them when our flights would land/depart. I just told them that I had purchased the voucher off Travelzoo and when we arrived at the resort they just wanted to see the voucher. Easy!
A big expense when traveling to the Maldives is transportation from Malé to the resort. This price varies on how far away the resort you choose is. Regardless of how far, you’ll typically have two different options:
- Seaplane: 45 minutes to OUR resort.
- Domestic flight + Speedboat: 20 minute flight + 40 minute speed boat ride.
After we confirmed our dates with the resort, they provided us with the option of which transportation. Typically costs are:
- Domestic flight + speedboat: $350 pp round trip.
- Seaplane: $450 pp roundtrip.
However, with our voucher from Travelzoo, one-way transfer via domestic flight and speedboat was included. Therefore, we only had to pay $175 pp to get back to Malé. Typically, the closer the resort is to Malé the cheaper it’ll be 🤷🏼♀️
Moral of the story: transportation to the resort will be another big expense.
The Truth about our Price to the Maldives
Sounds unbelievable right? Honestly, still can’t really believe it. But, it happened and here are the main reasons we got this price:
- I booked our honeymoon for April of 2021 in June of 2020. As we all know, all travel was shut down at this time and people who rely on tourism for their economy were looking to bring money in. The resort we stayed at had a promotion for travel through December 2022 with the voucher that we purchased.
- Flight prices were reasonable when I booked our trip, unlike now.
How You can Visit the Maldives without Breaking the Bank!
First of all, everyone’s “breaking the bank” is different. If you are wanting to go to the Maldives for two people, it isn’t going to be CHEAP. BUT, if you are shopping around for a special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary and are in the mindset to pay several thousand dollars, then the Maldives are definitely achievable for you.
I know, it’s not 2020/2021 anymore when travel costs were down and people were handing out deals like candy. HOWEVER, I still believe you can get to the Maldives without breaking the bank:
- Start tracking flight prices. Use the Hopper app or Google flights or whatever your preferred tracker is to watch flight prices. Especially now. Try different days of the week and weeks of the month when you are looking to go to get the best deal. To get to the Maldives without breaking the bank you’ll have to find flights that are reasonable. Click here for some tips on getting cheaper flights.
- Dry season is November/December through April. Going at the beginning or end will likely still bring rather good weather but will be cheaper than peak dry season. We went at the end of April/Beginning of May and although there were a few rain showers, we overall had great weather. (I’ve heard wet season is WET and not entirely worth the money-saving).
- Check Travelzoo. Since booking our trip I’ve seen others pop up. Maybe not AS cheap, but still quite cheaper than I would ever imagine you could get to the Maldives for. And many have perks such as included transportation to the resort.
- Expedia: You can often find package flight+accommodation deals for affordable prices. Even with flight prices like they are, I randomly looked on Expedia and found some half-board rooms for about $5,000 (all-inclusive ~$6,500) for next March.
- If you’re really wanting to go to the Maldives because of the incredible water and beaches and not the drinks, don’t go for the all-inclusive packages. Prices increase significantly.
- Many resorts allow you to choose half-board, full-board or all-inclusive so you can choose whatever fits your style of travel (we chose half-board which included breakfast and dinner and we ate our granola bars for lunch)
- Look at resorts that may include transportation to/from the resort. This may not have seemed like a big deal before, but now you know that cost can add up QUICK!
- Local islands: If you’re REALLY just wanting the beach and water experience without the resort experience, stay on a local island. The beaches and water are just as pretty. You can actually do this for a very affordable price. However, do note that it is an Islamic country and alcohol is prohibited where locals live. It can only be purchased through resorts.
- However, you can take day trips from local islands to resort islands and pay for an all-inclusive experience for the day
Final thoughts on "budget" Maldives
Prior to our honeymoon, I thought a trip to a resort in the Maldives would easily cost us $8,000-$10,000. Maybe I was just ignorant 😂 However, if your bucket-list goal is to go to the Maldives then I believe you can do it without clearing out your savings account. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, get a travel credit card. Buy your groceries and your gas and pay off your card every month to rack up points to put toward flight prices!
Coming soon: are the Maldives worth the price and time to get there?