How to Plan for the Destination of your Dreams.
Make this THE YEAR to head to paradise.
Vision boards, bucket lists, wistful sighs that comes along with every instagram post we see.
There is always that one SPECIAL place in your heart you have always wanted to see. Big travel dreams dance in our head. Oh the places we would go, the sites we would see.
And they get stuck there. They become the “someday” in our sentence. Often times staying on those vision boards without ever actually becoming a reality.
We’re here to show you how to make it a reality
You might need to make some big decisions around determining the “when” this will happen. It might have to become a priority in your life when it comes to budgeting, planning and saving for this adventure of a lifetime.
But we can honestly say, if you are able to find the money to go to an all-inclusive resort down south, you are able to travel to the Maldives as a family.
Our goal on our world trip was to hit every destination we had on our bucket list (& we actually did it). But we were also highly strategic in THE WAY we did it.
Below is the very first dream destination that we opted for when planning our Cuppa Round the World Tour (#CuppaRTW) & one that we managed on budget with a Family of 4.
Trust us, make this the year to follow your dreams.
When to Go: We went in early April when there was a little more availability, flights were a bit cheaper and there were a lot more possibilities in bookings & negotiations.
Weather: Weather was beautiful, wish you were here. Average temp year round 30C/86F. Average water temperature 28C/82F.
Getting there: Search sale flights to get to either Colombo, Sri Lanka or Dubai, United Arab Emirates. There are a significant amount of flights from both locations that can offer up competitive pricing. I often set up a Fare Compare to watch the patterns on how/when different airlines start discounting their fares. We also ALWAYS look at the whole month on SkyScanner to see if there are better/cheaper options on when to fly. These are two of the most inexpensive (& shortest) routes to the Maldives. (I recently found flights for under $950CDN/$800US to Colombo.)
Hopscotching to the Maldives: We managed to find $200US/flight/person from Colombo to get to the Maldives via Emirates Airlines (which on an aside note is probably our family’s absolute favourite airline).
Sometimes separating flights can make a HUGE difference vs trying to package it all up. If you have time, stay a day in Colombo or Dubai, both are amazing places in their own rights and great places to overcome jet lag before heading onward to the Maldives.
Get me to Fantasy Island
Travelling from the airport in Male to your island destination: When we arrived in Male, we caught a speedboat from Airport/Male to Rasdhoo (the island we were staying on). Each guesthouse/location has transport arrangements, our options were to go either morning around 10am or in the afternoon around 4pm, (you catch the boat from Airport or from Male). Cost $40US/person. We took the public ferry on the way back which takes longer but hard to argue when on the ocean surrounded by Maldivian islands.
Show Me the Money (Aka How Much Do I Need To Save)
How to do it on budget: Consider staying locally. We opted to stay at a lovely guesthouse Acqua Blu Rasdoo on a residential island which in itself was a beautifully unique experience. Women were fully dressed in Birkas and we enjoyed the serene beauty of Islamic call to prayer daily. We felt it important to respect the culture on island so were sure to cover arms & legs when walking through town. There is a specific area called Bikini Beach dedicated for tourists who want to wear regular swimwear. Our cost for the guesthouse was $135CDN/$100US per Day and would pay $20US/day to rent kayaks, heading off to picnic at our very own island which sincerely felt like paradise. (We wore our bathing suits on the island).
What to Do: Snorkelling, kayaking, dolphin tours, whale sharks, mantas, chilling by the beach and Diving. We worked with the guest-house to organize a manta excursions, the kayaks and snorkelling and utilized the Rasdhoo Dive Centre on the island for our dives. Honestly (after having experienced many across the globe) feel that the Maldives were one of the very best dives we have ever had. Coral is still alive and colourful, marine life is off the charts and the visibility range was well over 40m.
IMPORTANT NOTES: The Maldives are 100% islamic which means no alcohol anywhere apart from international resorts (& no you can’t bring any on island). We felt fine going without for our time in the Maldives. Consider dividing your time between the expense of an oceanfront bungalow & a less expensive option. Find locations nearby. It is not too difficult to make arrangements for either a plane or boat pick-up/drop-off to another island.
If you follow our path of the North Ari Atoll, there is a beautiful resort called Kuramathi Island across the bay from Rasdhoo, which is significantly more expensive but can provide that luxe Maldives experience you might be looking for. It is ultimately still the same ocean, still the most incredible diving and still the most beautiful beaches. The main difference is the luxe experience if you crave it and alcohol as an option.
Cost for a week in Maldives: $800US in flights, $810US in accommodations, Boat /airport transfers $180US (Boat to island and Ferry back), Food/Snacks $400US, Diving $300US, Excursions $240US, Kayaks $80US.
TOTAL COST: $2810US (with flights from wherever you are coming from)
See. Totally doable. We hope this helps in getting you moving towards your bliss. Stay tuned for more posts on family adventure travel & amazing places around the world.
TOP TIPS: Arrive in the morning to take advantage of the boats heading out that day (there is usually a restriction that they stop going after a certain time.) If you arrive late, stay in Male overnight, then catch a boat in the am. If you try to bring alcohol into the Maldives, your bag is flagged. (We had bought gin thinking that would be our drink of choice while there.) While initially I was convinced I was about to go to prison, I submitted the alcohol to a customs clerk (as directed) and they simply gave me a claim check to pick up on my way out of the country.
Heading to certain destinations on a shoulder season can mean thousands upon thousands of dollars difference, while doing extra research on where flights connect to and from can mean a steal. Skyscanner, Google Flight Matrix, Kayak, and Fare Compare are all your very best friends.
*** Costs are estimates based on our experience. They of course will be subject to research, timing, negotiations and availability. But trust me, if you think you can get there? GO. Definitely GO. It’s so worth it.
To Learn More About Dream Destinations on a Budget:
Maybe check out our post on the Galapagos on a Dime
We are happy to answer any questions you have so hit us up! (& Get Planning).