Maldives on a Budget | Easy Tips for Traveling


Imagine clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and swaying palm trees—all without spending a fortune. Believe it or not, you can visit the Maldives on a budget! In this post, we’ll share some tips for traveling to the Maldives. From finding affordable airfare to choosing the right hotel, we’ll give you all the information you need to plan the perfect trip without breaking the bank.

How to Get to the Maldives on a Budget

So, you’ve decided you want to visit the Maldives, but you don’t want to break the bank? No problem! There are plenty of ways to get to this tropical paradise without spending a fortune. First, consider traveling during the off-season. Prices are usually higher during the peak winter, so plan your trip for late spring or early autumn.

Another way to save money is to fly to a nearby airport. If you can’t find a cheap flight into Male, consider flying into Dubai, Sri Lanka, or India and then taking a connecting flight to the Maldives rather than trying to find a direct flight. Many resorts offer lower rates for guests who are willing to book last minute or grab an AirBnB.  

So don’t be shy—ask around and see what deals are available, you may be surprised at the deals you can get if you just ask when visiting the Maldives on a budget.  I’ve unfortunately had to cancel 2 separate vacations to the Maldives, and each time the hosts asked if it was due to their rate and if they could lower it to bring me back.   So, there’s a good chance you could get that discount right up front it you ask. AirBnBs are great options when trying to find a deal, as in many cases, they are hosted by individual owners who are just looking to fill the space.  The price you see is not necessarily what you get.

Maldives on a Dime

Where to Stay

There are a few things you can do to make your trip to the Maldives more affordable. For starters, try to stay away from the touristy resort areas.  While they’re beautiful, they can be quite expensive. Instead, look for smaller guesthouses and hotels located on the outskirts of town or on islands that aren’t as populated.  The water is just as crystal clear on the other islands as it is in front of the Four Seasons.  

You’ll likely have to take a boat, taxi, or puddle jumper to get to your hotel, but it’s worth it for the savings. Another option is to camp or stay in a hostel.  There are a few camping spots located on some of the more remote islands, and hostels can be found in most of the larger towns.  Just be prepared for basic accommodations—most hostels don’t have air conditioning or Wi-Fi.  This is the way to go if you’re not picky and are willing to stay in something less than a 4- or 5-star hotel.


This place is a freakin’ paradise for budget travelers. With a range of guesthouses and small hotels, you can enjoy comfortable stays without selling your soul to those fancy resort islands. Oh, did I mention it’s well-connected? So no need to worry about being stranded like a castaway. Plus, Maafushi offers opportunities for cultural experiences, because let’s be honest, your Instagram feed needs more than just sandy beach pics.


Thulusdhoo is not just another local island – it’s a place where vibrant local culture meets famous surf breaks. Ride those waves like a freakin’ pro and witness the artistic side of the island with its traditional Maldivian craftsmanship. Because nothing says badass like channeling your inner surfer and appreciating local art at the same damn time.


Depperter, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience the local Maldivian life by staying in guesthouses and embracing the fishing culture. And hey, if you love showing off your bikini bod, Guraidhoo’s got you covered with its very own bikini beach. It’s like a designated area for all your swimming attire needs.


Sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a more laid-back atmosphere compared to busier tourist destinations. It’s like stepping into your own private slice of paradise, far away from the swarm of selfie sticks and crowds. With guesthouse options for budget travelers, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of this tranquil island.


Dhigurah is a beach lover’s dream, with its long sandy stretches and whale shark hotspots. It’s the perfect place to bask in the sun, catch some waves, and maybe even have an underwater encounter with those majestic creatures. And the best part? You can enjoy all of this without breaking the bank. With guesthouses catering to budget-conscious travelers.


Last but not least, we have Dhiffushi, a local island with a growing tourism infrastructure. Affordable accommodations in guesthouses are waiting for you, my budget-savvy warriors. Explore the island’s cultural and natural attractions, soak up the local vibes, and enjoy the journey of discovery. Dhiffushi is your ticket to embracing the hidden gems of the Maldives while keeping your wallet happy.

Choose Maafushi, Thulusdhoo, Guraidhoo, Fulidhoo, Dhigurah, or Dhiffushi – or explore them all! Just remember to check online booking platforms, read reviews, and communicate with accommodations to score the best deals. Let’s show some love to these local islands, support sustainable tourism practices, and let our adventurous spirits run wild.


What to Eat in the Maldives on a Budget

When you’re in the Maldives, you’ll want to make the most of the local cuisine, and luckily, it’s already affordable to do so.  Here are a few dishes that you should definitely try on your Maldives on a budget vacation: Rice and curry is a must-eat dish in the Maldives. It’s basically rice cooked with a variety of different curries, and it’s usually served with chicken or fish.  

You can find this dish at most restaurants, and it’s a great way to get your protein fix.  Another must-try dish is mas huni. It’s a type of tuna salad that’s made with onions, chili peppers, and coconut milk. It’s salty, spicy, and oh-so-delicious. And finally, don’t forget about the Dhivehi roshi. It’s a flatbread that’s made with flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and ghee (clarified butter) that tastes different than anything we have at home.  It’s typically served with honey or jam, and it makes a great breakfast or snack option.

Street Food Experience

The street vendors here are the real MVPs, showcasing the diverse flavors of the islands. From savory snacks to fish-based munchies to traditional desserts, trust us when we say you won’t be disappointed. And hey, why not try something new like “mas huni” (a mix of tuna, coconut, and onion) or “hedhikaa” (savory snacks)? Live a little, experiment, and indulge in new flavors that will make your taste buds dance with delight.

Not only is the food affordable, but indulging in street food is also a chance to experience the local culture and mingle with the locals. You’ll discover hidden culinary gems that you never would have found had you stuck to dining at fancy restaurants. 

Negotiate Prices

First off, forget everything you’ve been taught about bargaining being rude or impolite. In many parts of the Maldives, it’s a perfectly acceptable practice and actually expected in local markets. Engaging in negotiations shows that you understand and appreciate the local customs – which is key to immersing yourself in a new culture.

Many sellers in local markets have flexible pricing structures, and the initial price they quote you might not be set in stone. By being open to negotiation, you’ll have the opportunity to explore various options and ultimately reach a price that works for both you and the seller. 

Budget-friendly Activities

Now that you’re almost ready to pack up to travel to the Maldives on a Budget, let’s talk about things you can do while you are there.  Here are some tips for enjoying the beautiful Maldives without breaking the bank:

  1. Stick to the local islands: The more popular touristy islands will be the costliest for everything you want to do. If you stick to the less touristy islands, the activities will be the same, but you’ll get to enjoy the discounted rate.
  2. Book your trip in the offseason: Prices are always highest during peak season. If you can travel during the offseason, you’ll save quite a bit. Thankfully you’ll also enjoy the island with far fewer tourists.
  3. Pack your own meals: Eating out can be expensive, especially in paradise. Drop by the grocery store and cook for yourself. Pack your own snacks and meals to have picnics on the beach. You can’t ask for better scenery while watching the sun go down, so why not enjoy your finger foods on the beach.  
  4. Participate in free or inexpensive activities: There’s no need to spend money every day on activities. There are a ton of free things to do in the Maldives. If you think ahead and bring your snorkel and fins, you’ll get to enjoy the water every single day. Also, there is plenty of hiking and biking throughout the island.
  5. Book through a local travel agency: If you book your travels or activities with a travel agency in the Maldives, you will find that often they get better rates than booking through a big international chain. The prices they add on to cover their profits can be exorbitant, so do your research and talk with the locals.

  6. Bicycling or Walking Tours Renting a bike or taking a leisurely walk allows you to save that dough for more important things, like souvenirs or that extra cocktail at sunset.

    So, imagine this: you’re strolling down the streets of a charming local island, with the wind gently caressing your face, and the rhythm of your footsteps in sync with the beat of the island. You’ve got complete freedom to go wherever your wandering heart desires.

    As you embark on your journey by foot or bike, you’ll encounter unique experiences that you’d miss out on if you were stuck in a van or car. Interact with the locals, because who knows, you might stumble upon the coolest street art, a delicious hole-in-the-wall cafe, or a friendly shop owner who can teach you a few words in the local language. 

  7. Cultural Events and Festivals:

    Keep an eye out for local cultural events or festivals that might be happening during your visit. These events often showcase traditional music, dance, and rituals. Attending such festivities provides a unique and cost-effective way to experience the cultural heritage of the Maldives.

Related Post: How to Choose the Best Maldives Travel Package



You already know that the Maldives is a luxurious destination, often used for honeymoons and couples to express their love to one another.  For us solo travelers who don’t want to break the budget, you can use a variety of tips and tricks to enjoy this set of stunning islands and have your own luxury Maldives on a budget vacation.  With a few changes and a few tweaks to your travel plans, you can easily enjoy a trip to the Maldives without breaking the bank.  

If your goal is to visit the Maldives, but you are willing to stay in accommodations that are off the touristy path and aren’t quite as posh, you can do the Maldives on a budget and still enjoy the beauty of the island.   If you’d like to see other alternatives that are more luxurious and offer top-notch services, make sure you visit my article on the Top 7 Overwater Bungalows in the Maldives and always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

Book Your Trip To Maldives: Check Out My Resources for Your Travel Needs


Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.  This is my very first stop when I’m looking for my next trip. It’s a fast, easy-to-use search engine that is perfect for finding an affordable flight, a perfect hotel, and the right rental car for you in locations around the globe.

Book Your Accommodation

If you are looking for a super budget friendly location and are open to a hostel stay, make sure you book your hostel with Hostelworld. It offers the broadest range of quality hostels around the world. 

If you’d prefer a hotel or a guesthouse for stays less than 28 days, drop on over to It’s perfect for providing excellent options, a ton of user reviews, and prices to fit every budget.

For stays over 28 days, AirBnB still remains my #1 choice. User reviews and monthly pricing allow for some incredible deals all around the world.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is but a small up-front investment that you won’t want to leave home without. After just one experience of having to delay or cancel your trip or having your luggage stolen, you’ll wish you would have made that investment.  I’ve hated my life a few times when the moment arose, and I decided to skip out.  Let’s just say, I’ve changed my ways and recommend each of the following companies to protect your ass-ets.

My favorite companies are:         

Want to Travel for Free?

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to getting free flights to get started.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Check out my Resource Page for the best companies to help you book your travel at reduced rates!  This list will help you get to where you’re going.  I know-I use them ALL the time!  

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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