How to plan a trip to the maldives

How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives: A Complete Guide

Just saying ‘the Maldives’ conjures up images of cocktails served in pineapples, warm turquoise ocean waters & palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze. It’s no surprise that it is a dream destination for many of us, though, it’s generally one of those dream destination that seems unattainable. Like one of those dream destinations that only Beyonce goes to. I’ve got a little secret to share though, it’s not a place that is only for the super rich. Sure, it’s an expensive place to visit & you’ll have to save a bit of money for it, but if you set it up the way I did, mixing a little luxury with a little local, then it’s certainly achievable. I’ve written this guide to help you plan a trip to the Maldives & tick this extraordinary travel experience off your bucket list – even if you aren’t Beyonce!

How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives: A Complete Guide
Plan a trip to the Maldives with this complete guide &, spoiler alert, you don't need to be super rich to make a visit to this dream destination happen!


It’s a fair call that the Maldives is an expensive place to visit but you don’t need to be super rich to make it happen. One of my dreams was to stay in an over water villa so I booked 2 nights in a Sangu Water Villa at the luxury resort of Kuredu Island Resort & Spa. It was INCREDIBLE! Two nights was enough to experience it & enjoy the luxury without going broke & they also had a lot of other room options if you want the resort experience without the water villa price tag. I also booked 4 nights at the Boutique Beach All Inclusive Diving Hotel which was a third of the cost and located on a local island – I wrote about my experience here. I have to say splitting the stay between resort style and guesthouse style not only saved a lot of money, but it was a really fantastic way to experience the different sides of the Maldives to get a more wholistic experience.

How to plan a visit to the maldives


Male International Airport is the main airport in the Maldives for international flights. I flew with Emirates & after so long flying with budget airlines, I have to say the luxury of Emirates was amazing!


Once you get through customs you will come to the transfer area which is a series of booths that will arrange your transfer to whichever island you are staying on. When you book with your hotel, they will give you the information of which booth to go to & they are all clearly marked so it’s a pretty easy process overall.

How to plan a visit to the maldives


Maldivian Rufiyaa is the currency used in the Maldives. It’s a good idea to get a little cash out before you leave the airport (there’s an ATM near the transfer booths) just so you have a little cash for tips and souvenirs. Anything at resorts will be able to be charged to your credit card so you don’t need a lot of cash – I think we only took out $100 USD & used it for souvenirs.


You don’t need a visa to enter the Maldives as a tourist for stays of 30 days or less. Double check this is relevant for your passport here. When they stamp your passport as you enter through customs, they will give you a little slip of paper which you keep for the duration of your stay and return to them when you leave.


There’s no need to rent a car here because the islands are small enough to walk around. When I landed on Kuredu, we walked directly onto the resort and were given a golf cart shuttle to the Sangu Water Villa section and on Dhigurah there was a car waiting for us when we arrived. The rest of the time it was easy to walk wherever we needed to go.

How to plan a visit to the maldives

Dress Code

On the resorts, you are able to dress as you please – aside from some dress codes for the restaurants which weren’t super strict but didn’t allow things like tank tops for example. On Dhigurah & for your transit between islands though it’s respectful to observe a modest dress code, covering shoulders to knees for both males and females. When it comes to swimming, Boutique Beach have sun beds on the roof of the hotel for tanning and a beach directly in front where bikinis are allowed, you can also wear a bikini on the diving tours after the boat has left the dock (just check with the crew). When thinking about what to pack just go for long flowy dresses with sleeves, or light jackets/scarves to wear over dresses without sleeves.


You cannot bring any alcohol into the Maldives, so don’t buy any duty free on your way there (if you do it will simply be held at the airport until your departure). Most resorts will have alcohol that you can purchase (if you get the all-inclusive plus package at Kuredu it includes a huge variety of drinks & even mini bar and cocktails which saves a lot of money). On Dhigurah, there is no alcohol on the island at all. The drinks that were served with meals at Boutique Beach were delicious though & so refreshing after all the time spent in the sun each day.

How to plan a trip to the maldives


Bottled water was available & complimentary at both the Kuredu resort and Boutique Beach.


Kuredu offered buffet style meals for breakfast, lunch & dinner which were all included, as well as afternoon tea snacks, in the all-inclusive plus package. There was always a great deal of delicious food & lots of variety. At Boutique Beach, you also have three meals a day included though it is made to order instead of buffet style. In my opinion, the food at Boutique Beach was much better because you get try more authentic food. The buffet at Kuredu was still amazing, but very westernized so nothing was different to anything I had tried before. At Boutique Beach I was able to try authentic Maldivian food which made it a more complete experience for me.

How to plan a visit to the maldives


If you love nature & wildlife then you’re going to love the Maldives! There’s so much to see. The Sangu Water Villas are situated over an area of water that is a nursery to baby stingrays & reef sharks. It was so lovely to look over the private balcony & watch them swim around. The island is also known for having a lot of turtles which can even be seen at the beach on the main area of the resort in the evenings. Dhigurah is one of the best places in the world for year round Whale Shark sightings & it’s also home to Manta Rays. Boutique Beach offers both snorkeling & scuba diving tours out to see both of these gentle giants of the sea. On my snorkel excursions I also swam with Eagle Rays, Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, Turtles & so many beautiful fish!

How to plan a visit to the maldives

For more information on visiting the Maldives check out:

Experience the Real Maldives with Boutique Beach, Dhigurah

7 Interesting Things to Know Before You Visit Dhigurah in the Maldives

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This post was written in partnership with Boutique Beach. I never promote anything I don’t love – see my disclosure for more information.


  • wandering_woodsy August 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for doing the leg work..looks stunning. I always love your photography. Great idea to go up market then budget accomdstion (which looked great), both have their pluses and you get a better feel for the place.

    • Katie Mac August 28, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Thank you so much <3 It was such a nice way to get an all round feel for the Maldives so hopefully others can experience the same!


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