The Best Maldives packing list – resorts and local islands

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Based on my travels to the Maldives each and every year, I have become quite the pro at creating the best Maldives Packing List. So I will only show your exactly what you should take – nothing more, nothing less.

Whether your travels take you to a 5 star resort or a local island, I’ll show you what your packing list for Maldives needs to include, but also not include regardless of your Maldives itinerary.

Light flowing and breathable materials really help that humidity.

Maldives Packing List items for all scenarios

There are generally two types of Maldives vacations.

Resort Island : the divine pictures we see of over water villas in the Maldives and people enjoying cocktails at sunset are those taken at a Maldives Resort.

For first time visitors and repeat offenders like myself, these resorts are the epitome of luxury. Beach days, water activities and a divine amount of food. Also, you are free to wear whatever you like at a resort

I’ll show you what to pack for Maldives when staying at a resort

Resort wear is anything you like as long as it’s comfortable

Local Island: staying at one of Maldives best local islands is a wonderful way to see the best of the Maldives but at a much cheaper price. But the big difference compared to staying at a resort is what your Maldives packing list looks like. You absolutely can’t wear whatever you want as you need to cover up and obey the local Muslim laws.

The good news is, many local islands have bikini beaches where you can wear your normal swim wear and clothing attire.

I’ll show you what to pack for Maldives when staying at a Local island

Local Island means shoulders covered to respect the culture & not too short

Budget traveler?

Weather relating to your packing list

I’m sure you don’t want to hear you should take a rain jacket right! Well, the good news is, you don’t.

The Maldives is located near the equator so the temperatures are pretty steady all year round. Around 28 to 32 degrees Celsius. Water temperatures are similar, up to 30 degrees.

It’s the rain and monsoon winds that will impact you the most but I wouldn’t let it worry you. When the rain hits, the humidity rises so it’s still pretty hot in other words. When the winds hit, it’s usually a warm to cool breeze that is, if anything, refreshing.

And if you do get a little wet, just embrace it. Your on vacation remember.

What to pack for Maldives

This packing for the Maldives list includes things you should considering taking to either a resort or local island.

I will also show you what additional items will be best for a local island only.

Many resorts also offer tours to local islands so you will also need to pack additionally to cater for the dress code. Also, you may be staying in Male or taking a city tour before you head out to the islands.

This ultimate Maldives packing list is all about the necessities only. This is beach life remember. Swimming, snorkeling, sun bathing and exploring the islands is probably a good overview of what most people do. It’s the ultimate tropical getaway and of course, honeymoon destination. So let’s get to it.

Packing List for Maldives – Resorts & Local Islands

1. Light Sun Dress

The biggest thing I’ve learned about the Maldives is how hot it is day and night. Even during the rainy season, humidity outweighs any cool breeze, so a light sun dress that can breath is imperative.

It is best to avoid clingy and heavy materials. During my first trip to Maldives I made this big mistake and many of my clothes never made it our of the suitcase.

For a 5 to 10 day tip to the Maldives, I generally pack 2 (sometimes 3 ) of these dresses and wear them day or night.

Light sun dress perfect for resort

Light sun dress perfect for local island

2. Beach Cover

When heading to the beach or wading along the waters edge a handy beach cover is a must.

I love that it’s super light and easy to throw on over your bathing suit. Perfect for throwing in your beach bag plus it’s an additional piece that won’t weigh your luggage down.

Choose from a range of different colors and patterns,

Beach Cover perfect for resort

Beach Cover perfect for local island

3. Beach Bag

A beach bag that carries all your gear is a must for your Maldives packing list.

It goes to the beach, resort bar, pool and around the island all day long. Your normal hand bag isn’t really suitable in the sand so be sure to take a beach bag.

You’ll also find it extra handy when visiting a local island (or staying on one), especially to fit snorkel gear, beach towel and souvenirs.

This water proof beach bag is large enough to fit all your gear and is 100% waterproof. It has 2 pockets with zippers and is perfect for days on the beach. You’ll love the price too.

4. Sun hat

A sun hat of some kind is well worth having. But as we all know, a regular sun hat doesn’t pack really well in a tight suitcase.

As a worthwhile investment, I recommend purchasing a sun hat that can travel, which means one that folds without loosing it’s shape.

This particular sun hat has heaps of colors to choose from.

5. Evening Bling – flat shoes

The good news – you can leave your heels at home.

During the day you can certainly get away with bare feet or your flip flops. In fact, many islands are ‘no shoes no news” islands so footwear and WiFi are considered unnecessary.

During the evening when the sun goes down and you head to the sunset bar or out to dinner, a pair of sandals with a little bling is all you’ll need. i gave up on wedges a long time ago. The sand, the heat and my sweaty feet were just begging for comfort.

You can also get these cute sandals in black, white and more colours.

6. Evening Maxi Dress

I love my maxi dresses, especially ones that moves with the breeze.

The maxi dress is a great evening item when heading out for dinner, and can be paired with a sarong if staying on a local island. I usually take two to three as part of my Maldives packing list items.

7. Snorkel Gear

The Maldives are one of the most incredible places to snorkel and dive. Plus if you stay on an island with a house reef, such as Bandos Island, you’ll be blown away with the aquatic marine life. You can also read why Bandos Maldives is one of best dive resorts. See the photos for yourself.

A house reef means the island is surrounded by coral, which is accessible from the shoreline. It also acts as a barrier from the deeper water and currents.

Having an all inclusive rate at your resort means you probably don’t need a snorkel set. But if you don’t, then hiring gear can cost anywhere from $8 to $10 USD a day. This is where an affordable snorkel set is a great packing list item for Maldives, and of course it’s yours for the next time you head beach side somewhere.

I also tried using a full face snorkel last time I was in Egypt and staying on the Red Sea. I found it really comfortable and much easier to see out of. You might want to try one as well. It’s also perfect for those who want a mount for their go pro to take epic under water footage.

8. Dry bags

One of the best travel accessories and gift ideas for any avid traveller.

These dry bags are a life saver in so many ways. Never run the risk again of getting your valuable gear and electronics such as wallet, phone and camera wet. I find these are one of the first things I pack when travelling these days. I love throwing them in my back pack when on a road trip, city tour or hiking day trip. They just have so many uses.

The Sea to Summit is a top brand, yet still so affordable considering the valuables you are protecting.

9. Swim Wear

Of course I probably don’t have to remind you to take swim wear, as I’m sure you’ve been dreaming of swimming in that gorgeous turquoise water all day.

I always take 2 bathing suits. Not necessarily because I need to, but for the amount of swimming I do it makes sense. Also, its easier to hang one set to dry while you wear the other pair.

I like to take a bikini and a one piece. I find the one piece is great when I go snorkeling as it generally has better coverage on my back.

I love this high waisted bikini and it comes in so many colours and patterns.

10. Reef Friendly Sunscreen

I’m sure you probably have a tube of sun screen on hand but a better idea is to take some reef friendly sunscreen instead.

Sunscreens which are NOT reef friendly contain chemicals that can harm the living coral. The Sun Bum range is reef friendly and also vegan, so it does not contain any animal derived ingredients. Plus it’s 50 SPF so you’ll be well protected from those harmful rays.

Be sure to ad this to your packing list for the Maldives.

11. After sun Oloe Vera Gel

Don’t forget your after sun cream.

We sometimes get burnt, or the skin just starts to dry out over time. It happens. But being stranded on an island with no soothing gel to ease that burning dry skin is a tragedy. Of course you may find it in the gift shop for 10 times the price. (unfortunately that’s what the resorts charge)

So be sure to grab a tube of Oloe Vera gel to put in your bag, just in case.

12. Sarong – completely versatile

A sarong is one of the best travel pieces, simply for the versatility it provides.

Not only is a sarong great on the beach, but it’s perfect for those visiting or staying on a local island.. It becomes useful for covering the shoulders when you don’t have a t-shirt and packs lightly in your day bag.

You can also keep it with you if visiting Male City for a night or two.

13. Polarized Sun Glasses

Whether it’s a pair of classic Ray Bans or not, whatever you do, don’t forget your sun glasses.

Probably the one thing you’d be lost without, eye protection is important. The sun, the water and the constant glare means a pair of polarized sun glasses should be on top of your “things to take to Maldives” list.

For those who aren’t sure what polarized actually means, it cuts the glare from horizontal surfaces such as water, roads and snow. (not that that will be an issue)

14. Travel Adapter

I recommend an international power adapter so you can use it for all your future travels.

This all in one converter also has 4 USB ports making your travel even lighter.

15. A good book OR Kindle

Think of all that down time you’ll have in the Maldives.

Lounging in your hammock swinging to the sounds of the ocean, and losing yourself in the pages of a good book. It’s one of the few occasions I finally get to enjoy all that free time. And as much as a kindle is probably a better option, I just feel like I have another electronic device in my hand and I really want to switch off while on vacation.

So whatever floats your boat, book or kindle, enjoy your down time.

For book lovers, head to Book Depository for free world wide shipping and thousands of titles to choose from.

For Kindle lovers, the Kindle Paper White is a water proof model with glare free screen, perfect for the beach.

16. Underwater & Action Camera

I have to admit, when I need an underwater camera I borrow my husband’s Go Pro. Sharing is caring, right!

It’s only because I don’t get the opportunity to take a massive amount of under water footage, so can’t justify buying my own Go Pro.

If you are in the same boat but can’t help thinking how cool it would be to to capture a turtle or the beautiful corals. Or maybe you are planning to swim with whale sharks, how amazing does that sound.

So for an underwater camera and casing for under US $70, (and a best seller) it’s too good to be true.

17. Waist bag to shoulder bag

After my girlfriends bought me a super stylish waist bag which converts to a shoulder bag, I knew I was going to take it everywhere.

A waist bag by day, suitable for airline travel, local islands and general day usage. I love that it’s hands free when out and about too. By night it converts to an shoulder bag that can fit your phone, wallet or even just your room key.

It’s an item that will get a lot of use when you are travelling locally and around the world.

18. Lip Balm

Dry cracked lips are the worse yet are easy to avoid.

A consequence of changing weather conditions including heat and wind, dry lips are uncomfortable. Another main reason during travel is those terrible long haul flights where dry air is in the cabin.

Make sure you pack some lip balm to sooth lips while you are away.

18. BB cream – tinted moisturizer

Ditch the foundation and opt for a light BB cream instead.

This BB cream is a moisturizer, concealer and SPF sun screen. Why not leave your skin fresh while on vacation and keep it simple instead.

Garnier is a well known and affordable BB cream that I use regularly.

Extra things to pack for the Maldives

The following are extras you may or may not need.

Umbrella: If you are staying at a resort there should absolutely be an umbrella in your room. I have always been provided an umbrella for the unexpected down pours.

For a local island you may not be provided one. It will depend on your guest hose but I would not rely on it. The rainy season tends to only be an issue from May to November and could be a few minutes to most the day, so it’s up to you whether to take one.

Insect repellent: there are mosquitoes during certain times of year but your resort are usually out and about during this time spraying the outside environment. It you are prone to getting bitten then pack an insect repellent just in case.

i personally have never taken it and luckily got away with no bites.

Conditioner: your resort may not provide conditioner as I found out, so you may only get shampoo. During my last visit I decided to grab some in Male City but unfortunately the supermarket did not stock it.

I would not expect to see conditioner when staying on a local island so take a travel size instead.

Small US dollar bills: your resort staff do a terrific job keeping your room clean and sweeping out that daily sand you keep dragging in. Though not expected, a small gesture of appreciation is warmly welcomed so if you would like to tip your room attendants and even your nightly waiter, take some small notes to tip.

Hair ties: these easy to pack items come in handy when the temperature and humidity is up.

Active wear: many resorts have a gym for those who like to stay active. Or you may want to start the day with a lap or two around the island you are staying at. In that case, better pack some workout gear.

Your Maldives packing items in short – 5 to 10 days

Where I spent most my days in the Maldives

This is an overview of Maldives packing items, plus how many of each item based on my experience. I also don’t mind rinsing things out to wear again rather than packing too much of my wardrobe. So you may decide to pack an extra dress or two.

  • Light sun dress – 2 to 3
  • Beach cover – 1
  • Beach bag
  • Sun hat
  • Shoes – 1 x flip flops / 1 x evening sandals
  • Maxi Dress/Evening wear – 2 to 4
  • Snorkel gear
  • Dry bag/s
  • Swim wear – 2
  • Reef friendly sun screen
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Sarong 1
  • Sun glasses
  • Travel Adapter
  • Book or Kindle
  • Underwater camera
  • Waist bag
  • Lip Balm
  • BB cream / tinted moisturizer

Possible Extras

  • Umbrella – only for local island
  • Insect repellent
  • Conditioner
  • hair ties
  • small US dollar bills
  • active wear

A trip to the Maldives doesn’t have to include your whole wardrobe.

During one such trip I only took only a carry on for my flight. I was quite easily able to get my luggage to under 7 kg.

Packing light clothing that was breathable rather than heavy materials really helped keep the weight down, so it wasn’t that hard. Also, not having all my normal make up and toiletries also helped keep it super simple.

Enjoy your packing and enjoy your incredible vacation to the Maldives.