The Maldives on a Budget

The Maldives on a Budget – My tips & tricks

Unlike many other destinations in Asia, the Maldives is mostly known as a luxurious place, mainly for rich people and honeymoons. But did you know that it’s absolutely possible to do the Maldives on a Budget? If not, you are absolutely right here, because I am about to tell you how to plan your Maldives Budget Trip – and have an experience of a lifetime.

To do the Maldives for cheap, even if you’re backpacking, there are a few easy tips and tricks to consider – because each of them will make it easier for you to get a good deal. Therefore, here are my tricks to travel the Maldives on a Budget:

Visit a local island

While it may be tempting to spend your Maldives holidays in a resort, it will absolutely crash your budget. If you plan to travel the Maldives on a budget, the number one tip is to stay on a local island. But what do I mean with a local island?

The Maldives consist of hundreds of different islands – while some of them are home to fancy resorts, others are inhabited by locals and are starting to open up for tourism slowly. By staying in one of the local guest houses you not only support the locals but will also save a lot of money!

I personally stayed on a local island called Omadhoo Island and had an absolutely fantastic time! If you want to know more about this specific island, check out my blog post about it.

I’ve also created a little video about my experiences there, which you can see right here:

Travel independent

Another top tip for your Maldives Budget trip is to travel independently – which means that you book everything on your own: The plane tickets, the transportation, the hotel… everything!

Like that you ensure to not overpay for your stay, and can simply plan your own itinerary. Most agencies/tour operators will try to sell you into resorts – which is much pricier than organizing your own trip.

Book cheap accommodation

This one is kinda obvious, and still – it’s worth to mention. While staying in an expensive room in the Maldives will easily cost hundreds of dollars per night, you can find reasonably priced guest houses on local islands – starting from around 30$/night.

By booking one of them you will save a fortune – and can spend the money to do some more activities/tours to enjoy the natural beauty of the Maldives.

I stayed in the Nemo Inn Guest House on Omadhoo Island, which had everything I could think off and was located on a lovely island.

Nemo Inn Omadhoo Island Room
Lovely room in the Nemo Inn Guest House

Book cheap transportation

Another point that can make your Maldives trip extremely expensive is the cost of transportation. All the islands of the Maldives are spread over huge distances – which leads to a big difference in the costs of your transportation.

If you stay on an island nearby Male (which is the capital with an international airport) that has public-ferry or speedboat connections you will most likely find a great deal – however, if your chosen island is far away from Male you’ll have to book a seaplane flight or a private speedboat, which usually results in costs of 500$+ each way.

This is definitely something I’d try to avoid when planning your Maldives Budget Trip. After all, almost all of the islands in the Maldives are extremely beautiful.

Maldives transportation guide
There are different kinds of transportation on the Maldives

Eat cheap food

Eating expensive resort food or fancy meals in an expensive restaurant? Not the best idea when trying to travel the Maldives for cheap. While it may sound easy to eat cheap food in the Maldives at first it’s not that easy! Almost everything is imported, which increases food prices generally.

Yet, you absolutely don’t have to worry. The solution is called a local island, once again. While resorts usually serve pricey food you can find an affordable option in local guesthouses, which makes your trip even more budget-friendly.

During my stay, I tried many local dishes, but also a few Indian and Western dishes. The food in my guesthouse was super yummy and never more than 10$. Of course, you could try some more expensive (but freshly caught) seafood or fish if it’s within your budget, yet, you can also find super cheap options when staying with a local guesthouse.

Do free activities / cheap excursions

One of the biggest expenses when traveling the Maldives are the additional excursions that you can do to explore more parts of the islands. This includes snorkeling in coral reefs, boat trips, sandbanks, whale shark & manta ray sightings and much more.

While I think you should do some of the activities if your budget allows it – it is not generally necessary. I loved doing some excursions and they made my time absolutely unforgettable, yet, it is also possible to enjoy the Maldives without doing any of the paid activities.

The beaches and the water are absolutely insane everywhere you go – and snorkeling is free too. It doesn’t sound too bad to relax for some days on a dreamy beach and see hundreds of colorful fish while snorkeling in your house reef, right?

In the end, it’s up to you how much you want to spend on additional activities – however, it is definitely possible to also save money here!

Swimming with Manta Rays, Maldives
Swimming with Manta Rays

Visit during low season

One of the oldest tricks in the books is to just visit a place during low season – and it also works when traveling the Maldives on a Budget! The low-season in the Maldives is from May to October, as rain is much more frequently and stronger.

That being said the Maldives is still a beautiful destination to visit in these months, and by doing so you could even save some extra bucks for your accommodation.

The only drawback is that it might be harder to organize group excursions, as there will be less other tourists to build up a squad for an adventure.

My personal price breakdown

All of these tips sound pretty good – but does it really work? To show how much I personally spent while backpacking the Maldives I thought I will quickly break it down for you:

*Costs are based on one week in the Maldives

Accommodation (7nights) 208$
Food (7 days) 140$
Transportation (Speedboat) 50$
Total Costs 398$

Additionally, you’ll, of course, have to pay for your flights and add the costs for the activities on top of it. As I already said, these can be chosen completely individually, and change your total costs. But I’d like to mention that it’s absolutely possible to travel the Maldives on a tight Budget, even for under 500$ (without flights). 

In my opinion, it’s an experience that everybody should try to have at least once in their lives!

If you have any questions or feedback about this post, please let me know in the comments below.


The Maldives are an absolute dream destination - but did you know that it's also possible to travel it on a budget? On my blog you'll find a guide with tips & tricks for budget travelers, backpackers and many more to travel the Maldives on a Budget.

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About the Author

Michael Gerber

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Hello guys! I am Michael, a freelance photographer and travel blogger from Switzerland. My goal is to inspire travelers all around the globe with my posts and images.