Maldives | What to Take, What to Wear, Essential Packing List for a Trip to the Maldives

Lux South Ari what to wear

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Hand Luggage Only is the Way to go!

Packing a suitcase for a trip causes headaches for many travellers, choosing clothes and other essentials to take to the Maldives might be considered fairly easy in comparison to other holiday destinations.  It is worth remembering that luggage restrictions on seaplanes might severely restrict the amount you might be allowed to pack to avoid additional charges. Try to pack as light as possible, hand luggage only is the way to travel to the Maldives!

Enquire About Dress Code at Your Resort

High temperature all year around make it easier, there is no need to pack any warm clothes, just a light cover up for a breezy evening dinner or a rainy afternoon should be taken into account. However, a number of luxury island resorts require a dress code for their restaurants, so also check in advance what is or is not allowed or required.  You might need something extra for that.

Do You Really Need a Pushchair?

Mums and Dads, ask yourself, do you really need to bring a pushchair to an island where you need less than a few minutes from one end to the other or can make use of a cart that will whizz easily you around?  Pushchairs and sand have never worked, You might consider a lightweight sling for smaller ones but anything else will be a waste of energy.  I therefore would advise leave it at home.

Baby and Child Essentials

Check with your resort/hotel what baby, toddler and child essentials they provide for a trip to the Maldives, including nappies and baby food as you will not be able to purchase these necessities anywhere unless you stay on, or a water taxi ride from one of the larger local islands, like Male.

Packing List

Essential items that should be on your packing list and in any luggage when travelling to the Maldives:

  • Sun hat or some kind of protection for your head
  • Sunglasses
  • UV rash vest, ideally long sleeved. If you are very sensitive to the sun’s rays and have fair skin you should consider an all body UV suit if you are planning on spending a long time snorkelling or swimming as the sun is strong! We had never used a UV vest before but it was definitely worth the small extra cost as we would have been burned on our very first snorkel, despite using water resistant sun tan lotion. Even the boys who are generally not prone to sunburns could feel the difference in the sun’s intensity.  Remember you are not far from the equator! These can be purchased from a number of high street chains or online. Make sure they are a tight fit to avoid sagging in the water!
  • Plenty of sun lotion factor 50 water resistant. The lotion or cream should waterproof and ideally coral and reef friendly. Take plenty, you might be able to buy more if necessary at the hotel’s shop but this comes at a rather hefty price.  Budget for three applications a day as minimum.
  • Cover up tops. Bring light weight long sleeved cover ups, which you can wear as an extra layer to protect your skin from the sun, or on a boat trip but also in the evening when it might be slightly cooler if there is a sea breeze.
  • Swimwear. Bikini, swimsuits and swimming trunks. Pack a few and more, these do not take up much space and weight!
  • Snorkel, masks and flippers. Even though most resorts and hotel will sell snorkel equipment it might be better to bring your own to ensure everything fits, especially if you have a child with you, the hotel might not have the right size available.   Make sure you try them all on and adjust them before you leave in case of issues.  To get on flippers easily wet them first.  The first time you use a mask wash it out with a small amount of detergent to clear the film that often coats them.  Before and after you use it each time do the same for the best vision.  If it clouds up try a little spit on the glass – yes a divers trick that actually works!   Finally if your children like goggles in the pool do not forget these.
  • Flip flops are a great staple and must for a beach holiday, they will protect your feet from hidden coral on the beach but also on the hot sand and wooden planks in the middays heat.  Some of the more upmarket resorts will give you a complimentary pair of flip-flops, while other resorts claim to be barefoot only, I cannot imagine how hot their feet must be at certain times a day…it literally burns on the sand at midday.
  • Beach or water shoes.  If your hotel/resort is surrounded by coral reef and you are planning on snorkelling it might be advisable to bring a pair of water shoes to protect your feet from the coral while swimming and snorkelling or wandering on the sand.   Dead coral in the sand is often sharp and little ones especially will not see it til too late.
  • Underwater camera. Invest in a quality one like a “Go Pro” if you are really serious about snorkelling or diving. On our first trip we did not have one and realised afterwards that the quality of the photos from a basic camera was mediocre.  Do not forget the charging cables and extra storage cards!
  • Games and books. We always bring plenty of different card games to play on the beach, on the terrace at the vila, by the pool or over dinner. Of course it goes without saying that a kindle or other e-reader is a great way of bringing plenty of books without the additional weight.  Think about leaving ipads and game consoles at home – make it a proper family holiday rather than just spending time in front of a screen. Younger children will enjoy sticker and colouring books and similar activities so pack some too.  Older ones can be tempted also by traditional pencil and paper puzzle books for moments between activities too.
  • For dinner get the boys in your family to bring some smarter but suitable shoes, smarter shorts or linen trousers, and lightweight shirts – a polo shirt is accepted in most resorts as well – for the evening meals.  Many resorts will not allow you turning up in flip-flops, beach shorts or T-shirts or sports shirt for dinner.  For the girls do not bother bringing a pair of heels, you will only make a fool of yourself wearing them on the sand, and pack some light sun-dresses to make your look.  If you are unsure check the hotel’s website for the general dress code for evening meals.
  • Beach towels are not essential as at most upmarket resorts they are included, but it is better to check beforehand if they are provided, as you would not want to be stranded without them.   At most a sports towel or smaller traditional towel Japanese style does not take much space and can be a useful addition.
  • The same applies to bathroom amenities like shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Most hotels provide these and unless you are fussy about what you use, you can leave most of them at home to save weight and space.
  • Sportswear maybe needed if you are planning to hit the gym, play tennis (if your hotel as a court) or join a yoga session?  So in this case Pack your trainers and sportswear!
  • Medication. Do you require regular medication? Do not forget to pack these, some large resorts have a doctor on site, but otherwise getting hold of emergency tablets or inhalers or whatever you might need could take hours.  Essentials like Paracetamol and Immodium should always be in your suitcase for a trip to the Maldives as well, you never know if you might need them.

Carefully Select Each Item!

We managed to get away with hand luggage only for our two week long stay at Lux South Ari. Just a small trolley and small bag/backpack each by carefully selecting items, choosing clothes that were both lightweight and packed flat, and focusing on the items that mattered the most.  Happy packing!

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