Once considered a destination just for loved-up honeymooners, The Maldives have been recently gaining recognition from more and more holidaymakers as a place truly worth visiting.
Not only is it one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world, with consistently good weather all year round, but it also has an abundance of activities for all members of the family. While you may not have the total romance factor of a honeymoon, there is no reason why you can’t have an epic family holiday here instead.
Here are five must-know tips for planning a family holiday in the Maldives.
1. Understand the islands
There are 1,190 islands in the Maldives, and each resort you dream about visiting is usually on its own island.
Currently, local Maldivians inhabit around 200 islands, with another 105 “rented” by resorts. The remaining uninhabited isles are utilized for agriculture or for day trip destinations for travellers.
Before 2009, tourists were only allowed to stay on resort islands. However, numerous guesthouses have now opened up to visitors to the inhabited islands. This means there are accommodation options to suit all family budgets.
2. Consider the pros and cons of island hopping
For many travellers, the best way to experience the Maldives is by island hopping (meaning staying in one place for a few days before moving somewhere else next).
For families, this may be a little more daunting to pull off.
Transferring between islands costs time and money and requires repeated packing and unpacking. When organizing a family holiday, it is best not to change islands after less than five days.
Alternatively, choose resorts that are physically near to each other so you can take a private hotel speedboat from one to the other. Otherwise, if there aren’t any transfers between the islands you pick, then you will have to go back to Male and wait there for a couple of hours before transferring to your next resort.
Depending on the age of your children, this could be a holiday nightmare, so consider the options carefully.
3. The Maldives is an extremely friendly place
Given the fact that the inhabited islands have only been “open” to tourism for a short period, the local people are open and friendly to everyone who visits — especially young children.
Expect to have your kids garner a lot of attention, with people wanting to talk to them, take photos with them, and give them small sugary gifts! Many families experience their kids making friends with kids and adults alike when they are in the Maldives.
Obviously, language can be a worrisome barrier; however, there are plenty of ways for you and the locals to communicate. After all, smiling, waving, pointing your finger and gesturing your thanks are all universal actions.
4. Remember to bring your own essential items
As the islands are quite small, it will cause you a lot less stress if you bring with you the essential items you need for your kids, such as baby food, diapers, baby wipes, and formula. While they can be bought there, the quality can sometimes be slightly different.
Similarly, opt to bring your own travel cot with you, as cots and highchairs are not used everywhere. If necessary, having a baby sling or carrier can also make your life a lot easier.
5. Plan kid-friendly activities
Thanks in part to its stunning location, there are a wide array of activities on offer in the Maldives to keep your children entertained and excited.
- On almost all of the islands, dolphin watching is offered, and these cruises are usually a highlight for the whole family.
- As the Maldives has such clear water, snorkeling is another excellent option for families. There are a variety of snorkelling spots, with all abilities catered for, so you and your eight-year-old can catch a glimpse of the abundant marine life.
- Sandbank swimming is another popular family activity, and your children are most likely going to be enthralled by the hermit crabs that race up and down the beaches.
- Additionally, in the Maldives, boat rides, fishing adventures, fish feeding and other aquatic adventures are possible.
When you are choosing a resort in the Maldives, make sure to research the presence of a Kids Club. Not all of them are created equally, so look for one with a very extensive list of daily activities.
Have you ever organized a family trip to the Maldives? Or, if you often travel with children, what are some of your tips and tricks to ensure it all goes smoothly? Let us know in the comments below!
Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”