Luxury On A Budget: How I Traveled to Maldives for $50
January 7, 2015
So, you remember our first Fly Guy Nate Chambers? Well we know that my man, being the cultured black brother that he is, has traveled around the world and back. Now for the 2nd installment in our Budget Travel Series, Nate shares with us how he went to Maldives for $50. Read On!
It’s becoming significantly harder and harder to leave our routine lives and gadgets behind, even while on vacation. However, there are a few places in the world that naturally forces you to get away from it all; one of those places is the Maldives. The Maldives is the epitome of relaxation, indulgence and luxury. “A little slice of heaven,” as I call it, the Maldives is a combination of natural beauty and tropical comfort. White sands, turquoise water, and amazing sunsets will surely make the Maldives one of your best holidays yet.
Being from New York, getting to the Maldives is quite a trek. It can take at least 20+ hours of flying (not that problematic for frequent travelers), and cost you on average $1,500 USD round-trip per person. Don’t forget that once you arrive you have to pay an additional fare for either a speedboat or a seaplane in order to arrive at your resort, which will break your pockets another $100 – $400 USD per person depending on the mode of transportation and distance from Male International Airport. Costs will add up quickly, especially if you’re a solo traveler like myself. Lastly, and most importantly, you cannot skip out on booking a luxury water villa. These are known to come with a hefty price tag.
This is where strategic thinking, planning and loyalty programs come in handy. I’ve been an avid user of both my Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Gold Premiere cards, using them everywhere for the opportunity to earn points. With these cards combined, I’ve been able to rack up over 100,000 in travel miles in less than a year.
While visiting Dubai last year, I realized my one and only chance of getting to the Maldives sooner than planned, and at a lower rate, was to fly from Dubai before heading back home. On average, round-trip airfare from Dubai to the Maldives can cost anywhere from $350 – $600 USD per person. Still costly, but nothing compared to flying from the States. After airline stalking throughout the early morning hours (I set my alarm for every 15 minutes between midnight and 6am), I was able to find a flight for $400 USD. After cashing in a few miles via my American Express Gold Premiere card, my grand total to the Maldives was $51.47. Unbelievable!
Many of us were able to take advantage of the Abu Dhabi glitch fare via Etihad Airways on Christmas morning. This is your chance. Before flying back home, look into flight options from Dubai (approx. 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi) to the Maldives. I’ve found connecting through Sri Lanka less expensive than flying direct. Start planning now!
Here are some tips to remember while planning:
Avoid booking through a third party and contact the hotel/resort directly. Leverage this newly formed relationship and see what deals/specials are available and how you can benefit from them. Depending on your arrival month, some resorts may not be at full capacity, therefore, upgrades, discounts, etc., may be available.
If your budget cannot accommodate an over-water villa for your entire stay, spend a few nights in a beach villa and your final two nights in an over-water villa. Be flexible!
Go for the all-inclusive package. You will save much more versus going a la carte.
You don’t have to be “rich” to visit the Maldives. Just travel smart! Below is my epic journey through a place I like to call paradise.
The LUX* Maldives Resort is nothing short of amazing! Located on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in South Ari Atoll, the LUX* Maldives is more picturesque than any postcard can portray. From tropical gardens and immaculate spreads of white sand to incredible sunsets and unspoiled island living, LUX* Maldives provides a charming experience at every turn and lives up to its motto, “Prepare to be surprised.” Below are my top 10 reasons as to why the LUX* Maldives is a memorable experience!
Luxury Water Villa
Suspended over the water, with direct access to the lagoon, the LUX* water villas makes it easy to fall asleep to the sounds of the Indian Ocean. Sinking into an oversized bathtub with large bay windows and your own private terrace, each villa is just perfect – simple, yet sophisticated.
The LUX ME Spa
The LUX* ME spa is a tailored-made experience incorporating facials, massages, yoga, and fitness all into one venue. With many options to choose from on the personalized “Me Time” Menu, the LUX* ME spa is the ultimate retreat and water villa experience.
4KM of white sand beaches! Ideal for snorkeling, whale shark spotting, and most importantly, relaxation. Secret bars, film screening, and pop-up activities are just a few of the things to expect amongst the sunbathers on this pristine beach.
Walk almost the full length of the island, along the white sandy beach, to get to a sand bank that resembles your own private little island. The walk is breathtaking!
With a kaleidoscope of colors glistening off the LUX* infinity pool and water villas, sunsets in the Maldives are not to be missed. Enjoy an evening swim and afternoon tea in complete bliss.
With so much to choose from – Thai, Maldivian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Italian, each of the seven exquisite restaurants offers a different flair and flavor. All-inclusive options are available as well.
LUX* is located along the southern tip of South Ari and is a prime hotspot for whale shark spotting. This is adrenaline pumping at its finest.
Explore The Local Community
Detach from beach life for a moment and engage with the local community.
The Fly Board
LUX* provides more than just relaxation. Make the most of your holiday by participating in a wide range of water activities. My favorite, the Fly Board!
Relax and Unwind
Rebalance your mindset and reconnect with yourself. This is the single most important step of your holiday. LUX* Maldives never fails to delight.