The Maldives isn’t just another beach location, but one of a unique type which can be enjoyed in two ways – as a luxury traveller opting to stay at a resort or as a budget traveller choosing to stay at local islands. Your Maldives Packing list will be determined by which type of travel you choose between the two because the environments in both will be completely different. So, let us get going and answer the question of the day.
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What to Pack for Maldives - Resort Stay
Needless to say, you’ll need swimwear at a beach location. We recommend carrying at least two pairs. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures (which you are!) or staying for more than 3-4 days then maybe even three. Bright-coloured bikinis and two-piece swimsuits that can be mixed and matched and contrast beautifully with the ocean are the best options. Though, in all honesty, I have a soft spot for one-pieces.
I carried this beautiful CupShe swimsuit that I had such a tough time choosing because all their swimsuits are so pretty. Unfortunately, they aren’t available in India so if you’re from India, check out The Beach Company.
Guys can carry two swimming shorts. It should suffice no matter the length of stay.
2. Sarong and/or Cover-Up
Sarongs are a multi-purpose garment that you should have on you no matter the kind of trip you’re on. They can be used to cover-up, as a beach blanket, towel, to provide warmth etc. The Maldives is also obviously the right place to don some pretty cover-ups too. So, carry either or both.
3. Day and Evening Wear
Carry light breathable flowy summer dresses, skirts and shorts that can be worn over swimwear. It’s great to always be equipped to head into the ocean, isn’t it?
For evenings, think around the lines of colourful flowing maxi dresses. Carry at least one.
I love vacation clothes on UrbanSuburban. Check them out for some fresh and colourful outfits.
Carry sports clothes in-case you want to go for a beachside run or hit the gym!
Men can pair printed shirts with solid coloured-shorts or vice versa. I got reversible Bombay Trooper shorts for Modi. He simply loves how one pair serves as two during travel.
Reef-safe Sunscreen in India
4. Sunblock with SPF 30+
Long periods of exposure to the sun can leave you susceptible to sunburn, especially in a country that is so close to the Equator. Remember, you can get sunburnt not only at the beach or boat but also in your water villa because water reflects the rays of the sun.
Modi always refuses to wear sunscreen on account of clouds but let me assure you as I did him – clouds don’t protect you from sun rays so be sure to apply sunscreen first thing in the morning on a hot sunny day or a cloudy one.
Most importantly, ensure that your sunscreen is:
- Water-resistant: So, it stays on your skin and doesn’t bleed into the water. Better for you and the reef.
- Reef safe: Certain chemicals in sunscreen can harm or even kill the coral reef. So much so that sunscreen containing these chemicals have been banned in certain countries. Read this article to know more.
Therefore you shouldn’t carry sunscreen that has the following chemicals: oxybenzone, parabens, Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), 4-methyl benzylidene camphor (4MBC), triclosan, Nanoparticles including of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), Octocrylene.
Octocrylene below 10% as been labelled safe and is mostly used in all reef friendly sunscreens. Try buying a sunscreen that doesn’t have this either or has it in less quantity.
Consider products that include mineral sunblock with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are ‘non-nano’ in size. If they are below 100 nanometers, the creams can be ingested by corals and are not reef safe.
Sorry for the science talk. It is definitely easier to just buy and carry sunscreen labelled – Reef Safe or Reef Friendly – however, not all such products are actually safe. This list of chemicals will help to check if your usual sunscreen is good to go or you need to buy a one that is reef-safe.
5. Broad-Brimmed Sun Hat
It is super essential to protect your face, eyes and also your hair from the sun. Sun-screen is one thing, but it’s better to take all precaution to keep the sun’s harmful rays away using a broad-brimmed hat. Baseball/visor caps will also do well but just ensure they’re tight enough, so they don’t fly away with the wind. Speaking from experience. Oops!
I know you already know this, so I’m not going to stress on it much, but just tell you that sunglasses are a given on a beach trip -not only to protect from the sun’s harmful rays but also to prevent the brightness of the sun from blinding you (albeit temporarily). Polarized sunglasses are undoubtedly the best!
7. Reef/Water Shoes
Beware of coral cuts. These take more time to heal and can be poisonous too.
After my trip to Thailand, I decided I would never go to a beach location without water shoes. I got a gazillion cuts while walking in the water due to rocks and other random objects. Thankfully, not coral.
Some would say, the Maldives sand is ultra-fine, so water shoes are not needed. But I recommended carrying these if you’re going to be walking deep into the ocean from the beach (I did feel a lot of rocks and twigs when doing so) or if you don’t like wearing fins while snorkelling.
8. Flip-Flops and Sandals
You can walk nearly everywhere without shoes in the Maldives. No one will ask you to put them on. However, carry at least one pair of comfortable flip-flops to walk around the island and one pair of nicer sandals to go with your pretty evening dresses.
I’m a sucker for Crocs. They aren’t the prettiest, but they’re so comfortable and versatile. You can wear these on any holiday, beach or not.
10. An International Adaptor
In the Maldives, the power plugs and sockets are of type D (three round pins in a triangular pattern) or G (three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern). The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Most resorts provide you with an international adaptor. However, carry your own in case your resort doesn’t give you one, or you need to plug in more gadgets than one adaptor can accommodate.
11. Underwater Camera and Accessories
If you’re heading for snorkelling or diving, you’ll want an underwater camera to capture the beauty of the marine life. The Go Pro serves pretty well for this purpose. Get any that fits your budget. We use the GoPro 5 and are satisfied with the output.
A floaty will be essential in case you’re holding the GoPro in your hand while in the ocean or on a boat. In the event of the GoPro accidentally slipping from your hand, it’ll ensure the GoPro floats so you can easily recover it .
If you’re using a GoPro for the first time, it might be helpful to get the entire accessories kit.
If you’re a photography and videography enthusiast, then undoubtedly you would like to take your drone with you. We too were looking forward to flying our drone to get beautiful shots of the Maldives islands but unfortunately, it wasn’t allowed on the property. In fact, when researching resorts we noted that most properties have a no-drone policy to maintain the privacy of their guests. So do check this on the booking website or directly with your resort.
I don’t think you should have issues flying drones on local islands or sandbanks.
You’ll have much time at hand in the Maldives and find so many perfect nooks – beaches, swings, hammocks- that you’ll crave to read. Kindles are the best option for travel. They hold so many books and are lightweight. I love having the option of choosing what I want to read depending on my mood and nothing serves me better.
Carry all your basic medicine and first aid as you’ll be on an island with limited medical facility. Most importantly, do not forget to carry a seasickness remedy if you’re going to be on a boat at any point in time. Nausea Relief Bands don’t work on me, but they might on you. I use anti-sickness pills instead (Emeset works like a charm).
Hydrocortisone creams are a must-carry as they help with rashes, itchiness, insect bites, swelling and redness.
Oh and do not travel without bandaids for the odd scrapes and cuts.
The Maldives is an expensive country. So if you feel pangs of hunger at odd hours of the day or night, or need a substitute for meals to save money, then carrying snacks is a must.
We were on a half-board plan (lunch wasn’t included) at our resort, so we ate Theplas (Indian snack), Instant Ramen (Koka and Shin Ramyun), some The Whole Truth Protein Bars and our favourite unhealthy items for dessert like Pocky and After Eight. Guilty!
I would recommend you to carry one pair of conservative clothing in case you plan to do a tour of a local island from your resort.
In addition to this Maldives packing list, ensure you carry all your personal items like nightwear, underwear, toiletries, make-up, documents, etc. Sign up and download our all-season packing list, so you don’t miss carrying anything important on your travels. This list has been my go-to for last-minute checks to figure out what I’ve missed packing. It’s really very helpful.
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What to Pack for Maldives - Local Island Stay
Life is different on the islands inhabited by locals as there are some rules to adhere to. Since, Maldives is a Muslim country, there is a strict dress code on the islands while the resort islands are allowed to function in their own bubble to cater to international tourists.
Hence, your day clothes and things to carry will be slightly different than what is needed for a luxury resort stay. You will need all the items mentioned above and more.
1. Swim Wear
Women need to have their shoulders, knees and mid-riff covered at all times except at bikini beaches on local islands. Not all islands even have bikini beaches, so make sure you check. You will be expected to get into the ocean in half-sleeve t-shirts and pants at all other beaches or instead you can go for a full sleeve swimsuit with leggings. You can only wear regular swimsuits when going for snorkelling, diving, or while visiting sandbanks.
Men are also expected to follow the same rules. However, the rules are a bit relaxed for men, so shirts/t-shirts can be taken when going into the water.
4. Dry Bag
If you’re going to be going diving, a dry bag will keep your electronics, money and other essentials dry. This Waterseals Bag is not only waterproof but also has a number lock so you can leave your bag strapped to a pole, railing, or any fixture without worrying of theft.
5. Toiletries and Kit
When staying at resorts, you can afford to skip the shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion and a few other items since these are provided by resorts. You may also choose to carry these items if you’re particular. However, if staying at the local islands than you’ll need toiletries and a travel kit as you can’t be sure if these will be provided and what quality they will be.
What Not to Pack for Maldives
Items contrary to Islam are not allowed in the country. Some of these are:
- Idols for worship
For a list of items not allowed in and out of Maldives, read here.
Also, it would make sense to not bring any warm clothes since there will be absolutely no need for these even on windy and cloudy days.
We hope this answers your question regarding what to pack for Maldives. As you can see, there isn’t much you need there. The country has a very chilled out vibe as is the case for most beach locations. Just ensure you pack based on where you’re staying. In case you forget anything, you can always buy it from the store at your resort or island. So pack, relax, and have a splendid vacation.
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