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A holiday to the luxurious resorts of the Maldives is an unforgettable affair, but we want you to look back on your holiday and remember powder sands and cyan-blue waters, not the hefty price tag.
Be kind to your bank account by opting to fly to one of these fabulous locations that are similar (if not better) and, more importantly, cheaper.
How much does the Maldives cost?
- Flight time from the UK: 10h 20m (from London, 1 stop)
- Resort (4-star): £80+ per night
- Domestic beer: £2
- 3-course meal for two: £22
This South Pacific archipelago chain sits east of Australia and features over 300 islands blessed with sandy beaches and coral-filled waters.
When it comes to cost, on-ground Fiji prices are on-par with the Maldives with a cheap meal costing around £3 and a sit-down meal for two around £14-£32, according to Numbeo.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 2 hours (from London, 1 stop)
- Resort (4-star): £79+ per night
- Domestic beer: £1.80
- 3-course meal for two: £22
2. Gili Islands
Only a short boat ride from Bali but a world away, these three small islands offer picture-perfect white sand beaches, swaying palms and a view of Lombok’s majestic Mt Rinjani volcano.
The price of hotels and meals on Gili Islands, or elsewhere in Bali, is dirt-cheap compared to the Maldives with a day’s worth of meals costing under £6 and the average cost per person, per day coming in under £30.
- Flight time from the UK: 17 hours (from London to Bali, 1-stop)
- Resort (4-star): £40+ per night
- Domestic beer: £1.87
- 3-course meal for two: £8
Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the 74 Whitsunday Islands have stunning beaches and secluded bays framed by aqua water and emerald forests. If you have to choose one though, we recommend Whitehaven Beach – it’s the finest in Whitsunday, if not the world.
- Flight time: 1 day and 5 hours (from London, Heathrow, 2-stops)
- Resort (4-star): £180+ per night
- Domestic beer: £3.80
- 3-course meal for two: £44
If escaping to a nation of dozens of tropical islands surrounded by unbelievably blue waters is your thing, then we’d recommend Vanuatu. Only a few hours’ flight from the east coast of the UK, these islands are perfect for a short escape or an extended getaway – after all, there are more than 80 islands to explore.
Flights to Vanuatu cost a little less than those to the Maldives – both are accessible by budget carrier – while hotels are similarly priced. Unfortunately, the cost of food is almost double on Vanuatu the cost on the Maldives but for the shortened flight time we think it’s worth putting this island on this map.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 5 hours (from London, 2 stops)
- Resort (4-star): £60+ per night
- Domestic beer: £5.20
- 3-course meal for two: £42
Thousands of inviting islands and famed Boracay beach parties await you in the Philippines, but don’t forget to take some time to explore the chiselled beauty of rice terraces and historical landmarks in Manila.
When in the country, the cost of living drops dramatically as well with similar meals half the price of those on the Maldives. It’s a winner in our eyes for super budget-friendly holidays.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 6 hours (from London, 2 stops)
- Resort (4-star): £90+ per night
- Domestic beer: £0.70
- 3-course meal for two: £29
Looking every bit like the epitome of paradise, Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean that’s packed with picturesque lagoons, towering waterfalls, and colourful reefs.
- Flight time from the UK: 16 hours and 30 minutes (from London, Gatwick, 1 stop)
- Resort (4-star): £140+ per night
- Domestic beer: £2
- 3-course meal for two: £27
7. Perhentian Islands
The Perhentian Islands are less than hour boat ride from the east coast of Malaysia, and are a haven for scuba divers. Whether you are touring the underwater wonderland, relaxing on the blindingly white sand beach or trekking the lush jungles, it’s is a budget-friendly path to a tropical escape.
While 5-star hotels are a little pricey as they’re more scarce, but the cost of activities can be a dream with diving activities starting from £14, including equipment.
- Flight time from the UK: 16 hours and 10 minutes (from London, Heathrow, non-stop)
- Resort (4-star):£90+ per night
- Domestic beer: £2.80
- 3-course meal for two: £12
8. Lakshadweep, India
So much like the Maldives, technically this Indian island chain is part of the Maldives, geographically speaking. It’s much less developed and accommodation is sparse, but budget bungalows can be found on a few of the islands.
- Flight time from the UK: 16 hours and 55 minutes (from London, Heathrow, 2 stops)
- Resort (3-star):£147+ per night
- Domestic beer:£1.30
- 3-course meal for two: £11
More places like the Maldives
Not on such a tight budget? Then we’d recommend checking out these idyllic isles like the Maldives that exude luxury:
9. Bora Bora
When you think of paradise, you think of Bora Bora. This picture-perfect spot in the South Pacific has lush, jungle-covered mountains, an unbelievably blue lagoon and pristine beaches.
- Flight time from the UK: 15 hours and 50 minutes (from Melbourne, 2+ stops)
- Resort (4-star): £220+ per night
- Domestic beer:£6
- 3-course meal for two: £74
Belize will have you spoiled for choice with Caribbean shorelines to the east and Central American jungle to the west. Packed with adventure and culture, you can scuba dive the Great Blue Hole one day and explore excavated tombs of Mayan kings the next.
Flying to Belize might actually be cheaper than other area on this list coming around £1,000 from London, and it’s the cost on ground that makes this even cheaper than the Maldives with cheap meals starting from £2 according to Numbeo. 5-star hotels can start from £75 per night. Comparatively, equivalent hotels in the Maldives start from £100 per night.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 3 hours (from London, Heathrow, 1 stop )
- Resort (4-star): £225+ per night
- Domestic beer: £2.80
- 3-course meal for two: £23
Curacao is one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets with hidden beaches tucked along its Western coast. Watch psychedelic sunsets at more than 35 captivating beaches while savouring the rich history dating back to the sixteenth century at its capital city Willemstad.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 2 hours (from London
- Resort (4-star): £100+ per night
- Domestic beer: £1.50
- 3-course meal for two: £31
12. Cook Islands
Nestled halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii is the Cook Islands chain and its bevy of beautiful beaches. It comes up just slightly pricier than the Maldives unfortunately as prices on-island can be on the high side.
- Flight time from the UK: 1 day and 5 hours (from London, Heathrow, 2 stops)
- Resort (4-star): £228+ per night
- Domestic beer: £4.20
- 3-course meal for two: £48
Located on the east coast of Africa, for somewhere utterly pristine, heaven-scent and a bit of a blow-out, make yours a luxurious trip to Seychelles. It’s definitely a cut above the Maldives in terms of cost but for the crystal clear water, nature reserves and unique flora and fauna it’s the thing of dreams. Make yours a reality.
- Flight time from the UK: 12 hours and 30 minutes (from London, 1 stop)
- Resort (4-star): £230+ per night
- Domestic beer: £3.70
- 3-course meal for two: £54
Ready to fly? Book using these travel coupons and deals:
Food, drink and hotel costs sourced from: Numbeo.com and Hotel Finder. Hotel price based on a per-night price in March 2019 quoted on 10 September 2019. Prices are based on a per-night rate for a 3-night stay at a 4-star beach resort in the above destinations. We used the dates 1-4 March 2019 as a guide.
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