Even though I love pretty much every aspect leading up to a holiday, I probably have the least amount of fun trying to figure out what to pack. And when it came to deciding on a packing list, the Maldives was particularly challenging.
Firstly, we had to ensure to pack clothes that were light weight and comfortable in the heat, but also conservative enough for the social norms of the Maldives. This was especially important for me. As a woman, it is even more important that I dress conservatively and respectfully when mixing with the local population. And since we were staying at the wonderful Jupiter Sunrise lodge (see our review here), I was mixing with the local people every single day.
Secondly, when outside of the capital of Male, there are very few shops and options for stocking up on even common items. Everything for sale in the Maldives is imported, and items specially bought by tourists (like sunscreen) are particularly expensive. It was Ramadan during our visit as well, which meant most of even the small selection of shops were closed for the holiday. So pretty much we needed to bring everything that we couldn’t do without.
Lastly, the Maldives is a small island nation. Dealing with rubbish collection and storage is a particularly big issue in the Maldives. Also, most islands do not have the facilities to properly treat the waste water. This is why it is important to pack items that minimize waste, and which also minimizes impact on the natural environment. After all, it’s the environment that is the Maldives big draw card in the first place!
Maldives packing list
I actually just recently wrote an entire post about what to pack to the Maldives as a female traveler, so I highly recommend my women readers to also check out that post for much more detail.
The following list will not focus much on what clothes to bring, as I have an entire post dedicated to that when it comes to women, and when it comes to male travelers the rules are a lot less strict. However I do recommend that both genders pack a swim shirt or something that covers your back while in the water. You will be spending a lot of time snorkeling when in the Maldives, and without proper protection for your back, you can very easily end up crispy.
- A couples pairs of clothes (see my full post about what to wear as a woman in the Maldives)
- A swim shirt to protect your back from the sun while snorkeling
- Snorkel, mask and fins. If you have your own snorkeling gear I highly recommend bringing it. This gear is not available free in all resorts/ guesthouses and the cost can add up if you are renting them every day. (And you will be renting them every day!)
- Lots of good reading material, it’s a beach holiday after all.
- Mosquito coils. We didn’t use these on our trip as the bugs were not bad, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few in your bag. I don’t think it would be easy at all to buy them in the Maldives, and bugs can really ruin your experience.
- Underwater camera. Most of your Maldives holiday activities will be in, near, or under the water.
- Travel adapters. The electrical sockets in the Maldives are the British style, so bring adapters if you are not from the UK.
What to pack in your toiletry bag
Most resorts and guesthouses will have the small soaps and shampoos that we have come to expect, but it is always a good idea to bring some extras from home in case you run out. Also, if you use any specialty products, make sure you bring a full supply as shops are rare and overpriced outside of the capital.
Another thing to consider when packing your toiletry bag is that the Maldives does not have the infrastructure to treat waste water on many small islands. This means that what you use in the shower, may very well end up straight in the ocean. Because of this, I highly encourage you to look into biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and phosphate free products.
- Biodegradable soaps. shampoos, etc.
- Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!
- After sun lotion, cause sometimes, sunburn happens.
- Contact lenses and solution if necessary
- Insect repellant
- Basic medical kit supplies such as:
- Sea sickness tablets
- Re hydration salts