You’re heading to the Maldives. What should your Maldives’ packing list have in it? Bikini, flip-flops, sunglasses – obviously. But what items must you take to the Maldives and what ones can you do without? Don’t worry, friend. Use my ULTIMATE Maldives’ packing list and there’ll be no trouble in paradise for you.
(Disclaimer: I know I’m a weekend trips blogger. But please, indulge me a little: I went to the Maldives recently; it’s my bucket-list numero uno. Not writing about it and what to pack would be like drinking a piña colada from a highball, not a coconut. I mean, who DOES that?)
MALDIVES’ PACKING LIST: MUST PACKS
Tribord EasyBreathe Snorkel | £25.99
Why is it important? Snorkelling and diving are the two main activities in the Maldives – and if you don’t dive, snorkelling is a must. Word to the wise: ditch your normal snorkel and mask. Nothing comes close to a better snorkelling experience than using the Tribord EasyBreath Snorkel, trust me. Yes, it looks ridiculous on. Yes, people laughed at me before I went. But boy, it made a huge difference to my Maldives’ underwater experience.
What you need to know: The Tribord EasyBreathe Snorkel blitzes a number of annoying snorkelling problems: the mask doesn’t hurt your face; it doesn’t steam up; it doesn’t let salty water into your eyes; you don’t get a mouthful of ocean if the snorkel is submerged by a wave; it’s easy to get on and off (no catching in wet hair); the snorkel is in-built to the mask, so there’s no risk of you dropping either as you swim and, best of all, it gives you a wider view of what’s going on in the deep! Add it to your Maldives’ packing list now!
UV Protection Rash Vest | £14.99
Why is it important? Second day of my trip to the Maldives and I made a rookie mistake: I went snorkelling for the entire day without a rash vest. The result? A very lobster-red, very painful back. Ouch. Sure, sun lotion on your back will protect you when you’re snorkelling or paddleboarding or surfing, but a much safer option is to pack a rash vest.
What you need to know: A rash vest looks like a t-shirt but is made especially for saltwater adventures. Look for one that gives you SPF protection of 50+ (the highest UPF rating a piece of clothing can have is 50+, the lowest is 15), fits tight to prevent chaffing and is quick-drying. Top tip: don’t wait until you get to the Maldives to buy one. I did; it cost me $50. As I said, ‘ouch’. It’s an essential item to add to your Maldives’ shopping list my friend, so get one before you go – they’re affordable at around £10 upwards.
Why is it important? One of the biggest thrills about a holiday in the Maldives is the astonishing variety of marine life you’ll get to see. Manta rays, turtles, dolphins, sharks and an endless stream of colourful fish – most of it is a simple splash away from your hotel room or water bungalow. Capturing the action to share with your friends and family is an absolute must; trust me, you’ll regret going home without tangible underwater memories.
What you need to know: I was lucky enough to take a GoPro Hero 4 Silver to the Maldives (complete with a CamKix Floater in case I dropped it). Not only did it give me fabulous wide-angle video footage, it also meant I could grab stills from the underwater vids to use and share as photos.
Of course, GoPros don’t come cheap – mine set me back around £300. More affordable options are available, including the icefox underwater camera for just over £40. Alternatively, buy an underwater case for your phone for around £10. Whatever you go for, a water-proof camera or underwater camera should also be top of your ‘what to bring to the Maldives’ packing list.
Aqua Shoes | £5.99
Why they’re important? Don’t go swimming in the Maldives without them! Why? There are fish that may want to nibble your toes – yes, Picasso Triggerfish; I’m talking about you – and fish you don’t want to step on – stonefish, you bad. Plus, the coral in the Maldives is razor-sharp. I saw a number of people struggling to walk on the sandbanks in flipflops or bare feet, cursing as they went.
What you need to know: A pair of reef shoes keep your feet protected from broken shell, cutting coral and feisty fish, and stop you from slipping. My shoes – Tribord 50 Aquashoes – were lightweight, quick-drying, nicely cushioned and had a studded sole. I hardly noticed I was wearing them. Best of all, they were under a tenner!
Rehydration sachets | £3.79
Why are they important? The Maldives gets around 10 hrs of sunshine a day and the average temperature is 29°C. What’s more, the islands are near the equator, meaning the sun’s rays are much more intense than in the northern or southern hemisphere.
So not only is it important not only to cover up properly with the right clothes and good-quality sun protection, it’s important to pack in case of heat exhaustion too.
What you need to know: A pack of oral rehydration sachets is a must for your Maldives’ packing list. They come in powder form and in a variety of flavours and work by replacing the important salts and minerals that you may have lost through prolonged exposure to the sun.
UV wide-brimmed Sun Hat | £24.95
Why is it important? Buying any old straw hat or baseball cap isn’t going to protect you from harmful UV rays. Sorry. Instead, choose smart and buy it before you go. Don’t make my mistake and buy when you get there. My Maldives’ baseball cap cost me a staggering $24 from the island shop and didn’t protect the back of my neck.
What you need to know: Opt for a brand that makes hats with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), like Palm & Sands, Coolibar or Wallaroo. I particularly like the Palm and Sands Bach Hat with a wide brim – giving your shoulders, neck and your face the coverage they need. It has a UPF of 50+, blocking out 97% of UV rays, is crushable so is easy to pack in a beach bag, and has an inner pull tie to adjust the fit.
Eco-friendly sun block | From £11.50
Why is it important? Unfortunately, many of your regular chemical-based sunscreens contain chemicals that can cause coral bleaching – aka: they kill fragile reefs. I know, I never thought about it either. But once you see the underwater beauty in the Maldives, you’ll want to make wise choices to protect it. Instead, buy a sunscreen that is reef-friendly and biodegradable.
What you need to know: Three eco-friendly brands worth a look are Badger All Natural Sunscreen, Coral Safe and Sea2Stream. These are known as mineral-based sunscreens or physical sunscreens. They work by sitting on your skin and reflecting the sun’s rays, instead of being absorbed by the skin like traditional suncreams. A word of warning: some can leave you looking ghostly! But shop around and you’ll find tinted versions that protect the oceans and don’t harm your beach cred.
MALDIVES’ PACKING LIST: COULD HAVES
Wireless headphones – great for the long plane journey from the UK and transferring in-between. Also sweet for listening to your favourite tunes whilst lying in a hammock or on your sun lounger. I have: Urbanears
Mosquito defence – why is it in the ‘could’ section of my Maldives packing list? Because in the resort I stayed in – Cinnamon Dhonveli – mosquitoes weren’t a big problem. Each evening at around 6pm, the staff sprayed insecticide to keep bites at bay. I did bring my own defence, however. But didn’t apply regularly and only suffered a few itchy bites. I use: Jungle Formula Maximum
Fitflops – you’re going to live in your flipflops whilst in the Maldives, so take a pair that are robust enough to stand the heat! I LOVE my Fitflops – they’ve seen me through many beaches and destinations over the last 7 years (yes, seriously. Haven’t had to change them once!). They’re super-comfy and my feet never tire. Plus, they’re meant to tone my ass as I walk. Still waiting for THAT to happen. I have: Fitflop Lulu
MALDIVES’ PACKING LIST – NON-ESSENTIALS
Adaptor plug – My dear British brethren: you don’t need an international adaptor plug in the Maldives. In most resorts the sockets are a standard UK-style 3-pin.
Books – Yes, non-essential. Unless you don’t like snorkeling, diving or watersports, then bring a good selection! There’s little else to do except snorkel and read.
MALDIVES’ PACKING LIST: GOOD TO KNOWS
Money and costs – The currency of the Maldives is the rufiyaa (Rf), although most of the resorts will bill you in dollars and the only rufiyaa you see will be in the gift shops as souvenirs! At the resort I stayed in, all extras that were outside my all-inclusive package were added to the room bill and settled at the end of the stay, so I never needed to carry any USD with me.
I went to the Maldives for 11 nights and spent just under $400 USD. Just over $200 of that was on the resort wildlife excursions, which cost between $50 – 100 a pop. The remaining dollars I spent on gifts and necessities in the island shop.
Tipping in the Maldives – I did not know the etiquette. My bad. According to The Lonely Planet, a 10-12.5% service tax is added to everything already. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to tip. Your room staff and your butler (if you’re fortunate enough to have one) will probably expect something. So be sure to save some extra dollars for them.
Weight allowance – Aside from your standard allowance on the way out and back from the Maldives, you need also to consider your allowances on your transfers to your island. If you’re going by a seaplane transfer to your resort, you’ll only be allowed to take 25kg for free. Extra weight is charged for. Short-hops to resorts are done by speedboat transfer and as far as I know there are no weight restrictions.
MY TOP MALDIVES’ TIP
Don’t spend your precious USD in the resort gift shop. You’ll pay through the nose, like I did. For souvenir shopping, island hop and find a local market. Or buy your gifts at Male airport on the way home. The prices are almost half the cost of the resort shops.
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Further reading on the Maldives
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