Out of all the places I’ve visited, it’s the Maldives I get asked about most. Where I stayed, where I flew to and who I flew with are common questions (read all about those here), but the one I hear the most is: ‘How did you afford it?’. A lot of that is down to some serious saving- yeh, I eat tinned fish everyday (not just tuna, might I add), don’t judge- but there are a few other things to consider, too…
1. Stick to standard room types
While I’d happily cut off my right arm to stay in an overwater villa, the standard rooms in most Maldives resorts are just as luxurious. Each island is set on a beach, so whichever room you choose, it’ll be right on the sand and right in front of the ocean which, when you think about it, is what you’d pay more for on an average beach holiday. If the opportunity to stay in an overwater villa excites you as much as it does me though, you might want to think about splashing out on one for one or two nights of your stay as opposed to the whole duration. If I ever get the chance to go back, I’d definitely consider it.
2. Don’t dismiss flight layovers
You can fly direct from London to Male in 10 hours with British Airways (they’ve also got a sale on here until 26th September with flights from £30 right now!), but a stopover elsewhere can save you up to £200. We flew with Qatar Airways with a stopover in, you guessed it, Qatar. This saved us £180 and only added 2 hours onto our journey.
3. Book with Destination2
Nope, I’d never heard of it before either, but the Maldives prices on Destination2 were considerably cheaper (up to £150 per resort) to those provided by more well-known travel agencies. It’s a luxury travel operator and all bookings are ATOL protected. I never had any problems and they were always quick to respond via both phone and email when I had a question. Bearing in mind this is the most expensive trip I’ve ever paid for, I was apprehensive to use a travel agent I’d never come across, but I found multiple forums confirming it was legit- and this post is one for you to reference.
4. Book ahead
As far ahead as humanly possible. Advance booking hotel deals are all well and good on your average holiday but with Maldives prices being a lot higher, discounts are more significant. Think about it; 30% off a holiday that costs £1000 isn’t as substantial as it would be on one that costs £3000. I’ve posted more about booking ahead here, but we’re talking at least 6 months.
5. Keep on top of flash sales
Subscribe to emails from as many luxury travel providers you as you can think of: Destination2, British Airways (as mentioned above, there’s a British Airways sale on right now- click here), Virgin Holidays, Kenwood Travel (I used Kenwood when I visited Bali), Kuoni, Scott Dunn– all of them. Every travel agent puts on a flash sale at least once a year, and it can be the difference between a £4000 holiday, and a £2000 holiday. I booked my trip to the Maldives on Black Friday, and it saved us around £1800. Trust me, all the irrelevant emails you might get will be totally worth it. Put this one in your diary: Black Friday, 24th November.
6. Be savvy with your choice of hotel board
Do you really need all inclusive? Are you actually going to wake up in time for breakfast? Or maybe you’d much rather not worry about the bill at the end of the trip? These are all things to think about before you select your board. We opted for the bed and breakfast option at Velassaru Maldives, and it was more than enough. Breakfast is usually a buffet, so you can eat as much as you want- note the use of want, not need- I practically rolled home. Our bill at the end of the trip came to around $1000 (you pay in dollars), or £750 less than what we would have paid if we’d gone all inclusive. Saying that, the Maldives is the type of place where you want to forget about everything- a place where you can totally relax, so you might not want the worry of a bill come checkout. Handily though, most Maldives resorts provide you with a TV in each room that allows you to check your bill as you go along.
Hope that helps- I can concur that the cost is most definitely 1000% worth it. You can see Destination2’s current price list according to month at Velassaru Maldives (where I stayed) by clicking here. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know!