What to pack when coming to the Maldives
Many times, I have been asked by guests via email what to pack, what is essential and what definitely not to forget when coming to the Maldives.
Here are my recommendations and why I think you should pack certain items and leave others at home.
Let’s start with the luggage limitation. You can bring 20 kg’s check in luggage plus 5kg’s of hand luggage without surcharge. This is valid for most international and domestic flights unless you are part of a frequent flyer program or travelling business class. Any weight above this is subject to a fee. On your international flight you can pre-book sports luggage by getting in touch with your airline. If you take a domestic flight or a sea plane here in the Maldives, the rate is around $5 per kg plus the taxes. Some 5* resorts cover those charges.
Travelling with a surfboard or diving luggage
The aircrafts for the inland flights are small. A Dash8 takes 40 – 50 passengers and the DHC-6 Twin Otter sea plane has 15 seats. The maximum length for a surfboard is 7 feet or 2 meters.
If you have your own equipment for either diving or surfing, you probably have dealt with these restrictions before and you know how to go about it. Contacting the airline is key.
On the island
You come to the Maldives to enjoy the ocean so your number one item to bring are bikinis and board shorts. Pack some in your hand luggage too, just in case your luggage is delayed.
You need sunglasses, a hat and a UV shirt. You could buy some reef friendly sun crème. The shops on the resorts have sun crème too. They might not have your brand and the prices will be higher than at home. Flip flops to walk on the hot wooden jetties that lead to the island. Bring reef shoes but NOT to walk on the reef. They are only to walk in the shallow water which sometimes has broken coral pieces that could cut your feet. You do not require other shoes! You can even walk barefoot! If you like to exercise and go to the gym, bring your trainers.
If you are travelling with a baby you need to bring nappies, you can’t buy them here.
The water temperature is 29 degrees all year round. You should spend as much time in the water as possible. Go snorkeling, diving, canoeing, Stand-up Paddle boarding which ever watersport takes your fancy. Some resorts have snorkel equipment included in their package at others you need to rent it. Bring daily contact lenses (if you require) to be able to use them for watersports!
Dress up or down
In the restaurants you can dress a little more casual in the morning & at lunch. Dress up a little for dinner, still nothing too fancy is required. Maybe you will have a dinner on the beach to celebrate an anniversary or you do a wine tasting in an airconditioned room, for that the ladies might need a scarf. To visit a local island, man and women need to cover their shoulders and knees.
To capture your stunning experiences in the Maldives above and below the surface bring a GoPro.Take along two SD cards just in case. Smart phones take such good pictures nowadays that a photo camera is no longer required.
An eReader, a tablet, a card game is just optional but download a stargazing App. Each island offers WiFi. Some connections are better some are worse. Internet is slower than at home. You could buy a tourist SIM at the airport to speed up things a little.
Don’t forget any of your charging cables. In the Maldives the sockets are 3 pin type G and to be able to use your cables you might need a travel adapter.
All islands, also the local islands, will have if not a doctor at least a nurse. Bring your prescription medication and pack a small first aid kit. Consider antibiotic ear drops for ear infections caused by snorkeling, diving or even just by swimming. Band aids in case you get blisters from your fins, antihistamine against sun allergy or itchy mosquito bites and wound disinfectant. If you are a diver or would like to start diving you might require a diving medical from a doctor back home.
Even though the islands try to stem the breeding of mosquitos by fumigating or removing standing water, there are still mosquitos on the islands. Bring mosquito repellent.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months at the day of entry into the country. If that is not the case either your airline will not let you check in or if you manage to get to the Maldives, the immigration officer will send you back on the next flight.
Don’t exchange your money into the local currency (Maldivian Rufiyaa) at the airport. It is not accepted at the resorts! The prices at the resorts are in US dollar and you are expected to pay in USD. Even if you bring cash Euro you will receive an unfavorable exchange rate. Bring either US $ cash for smaller purchases at the local island or for tipping the staff. Of course, don’t forget your credit card.
Don’t buy alcohol in the duty-free shop with the intend of bringing it to the islands. The Maldives are a 100% Muslim country, and the import of alcohol is strictly forbidden. On the local islands there is no alcohol available. Only on safari boats and resorts can you buy alcohol.
If I continue your suitcase will just get heavier. I hope with this I did not forget anything and covered all the essentials, so you know what to pack for your perfect Maldives holiday.