How I Traveled to the Maldives for $50!
Visiting the Maldives has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Turquoise beaches, soft white sand, and of course, a luxurious water villa, were just a few things I’ve been dying to experience. However, the cost alone somewhat deterred me from pursuing this dream vacation right away.
Living in 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. Not to mention, 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 points in less than a year.
While visiting Dubai, 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 – $700 USD per person (or cheaper via FlyDubai if there’s a promotion). Still costly, but nothing compared to flying from the States. After airline stalking throughout the early morning hours (setting my alarm at 15 minute intervals between midnight and 6am), I was able to find a flight for $400 USD. After cashing in a few miles, my grand total to the Maldives was $51.47. Unbelievable!
With travel miles as my “secret weapon”, my itinerary, from a financial standpoint, resembled this:
Dubai to Maldives = $51.47 :: Maldives to London = $100.00 :: London to New York City = $239.00… loyalty programs can quickly become your best friend!
When traveling, it’s always a good idea to research nearby countries that are easily accessible to your selected destination – you can kill two birds with one stone (or three, four, even five for the ambitious travelers). It’s no different than traveling to London for your holidays and jumping on the express train to Paris or Brussels for a few days. It’s just that simple! You don’t have to be “rich” to visit the Maldives. Just travel smart!
Maldives photos courtesy of LUX* Maldives