The dream has come true and your dive package and flights to the Maldives are confirmed! Now, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and forget about the essentials. Don’t worry, we’ve been there and done that so we can recommend the items to make your holiday top notch.
In secluded tourist-focused destinations such as this, especially when you will stay on an island or liveaboard away from the capital, you want to make sure you have the supplies you need. Imported tourist products are likely to be priced higher as they’re brought in specifically for tourists, and the options are limited.
Even if you’re a seasoned dive traveller, there are a few items specific to the Maldives that you will want to ensure are to tick off your packing list.
Don’t get left high and dry on a Maldives sandbank without these items:
For a one-off trip some people may be satisfied with a disposable underwater camera. However, if you’re a diver or plan to film underwater regularly you might want to invest in a digital underwater camera. A popular option these days is the GoPro Hero camera range for action and sports. It’s not only a really compact unit, but it also has lots of scuba accessories like underwater housings, specialty mounts, lens filters, and battery extension packs. There is even a specialty scuba mask that mounts the GoPro, which could be a cool hands free option.
If you do go that route, research the best filters and ways to make the most of the GoPro features before going on your trip. Certain resources like this guide to GoPro filters will help you take the best photos.
Your wet suit serves as temperature control and protection and it will depend on your personal preference whether you bring a 3mm or a 5mm.
Other than tanks and weights (and sometimes nitrox) which may be included in your package, dive equipment may be rented to divers. To avoid these extra costs, don’t for get to pack your own ABC set, dive computer and other dive essentials. Remember that dive light for those night dives when you might come across manta rays or nurse sharks and other “night life.”
Don’t forget your dive certification, log book, and travel/dive insurance. Insurance may be compulsory for your dive package.
You may think this is obvious. However, not all sunscreens are made equal. For long term sun exposure when you want to protect your skin from sun damage and burn, you can try Riemann P20 sunscreen. This is not your average sun protection. Once applied, wait 15 minutes for it to soak in fully – then you have a shield for all day waterproof swimming. It’s less like cream and more like oil, but it protects for 10 hours against the sun and is waterproof too. It’s perfect for long days out swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the Maldives sun. It’s also ideal for fair-skinned people that are especially sensitive to the sun. It can be found online or in some pharmacies.
No matter what type of sunscreen you opt for one thing holds true, these products are fairly expensive. Try to buy them at a time of year in your home country when they are reduced in price, and don’t wait to buy it abroad where it will likely be even more expensive. Also, go for a higher SPF than you usually use at home; the sun is intense in the tropics and equatorial region.
One last sunscreen-related tip: Don’t forget to put it on! In the excitement of the arrival it’s easy to forget, especially on the first day.
Other “fun in the sun” essentials
Don’t forget the usual sun hat and sun glasses, of course. And you probably won’t even be wearing shoes most of the time on a liveaboard, but bring sandals. A larger beach towel is a must for sun bathing (your accommodation or liveaboard will likely provide shower towels).
Include some loose fitting clothing, including some t-shirts or knee-length shorts for local island visits.
There are no dress codes on the liveaboards, but if you’re staying a guest house or making local island visits, you should bring some light clothes to go over your swimwear for local public areas. When visiting local islands, for women the goal is to cover shoulders to knees and for men waist to knees, approximately. Check in advance if your guest house has a private beach where bikinis are acceptable.
When preparing the funds for your trip, you’ll want to get your funds exchanged into USD. The Maldives has its own currency, the Rufiyaa, however tourists pay hotels, souvenirs, tips, etc, all in dollars. Payment with USD is widely accepted; in fact you can’t pay in Maldivian Rufiyaa at accommodation outside Male. If you must do so, there will be an extra charge.
Also, bringing an extra amount for tips is suggested, this is a tip-based economy whether on the liveaboards or on the local islands.
If you haven’t used your equipment recently, remember to test it well before departure.
Check for leaks, chips, and anything that needs to be updated or replaced prior to departure. Dealing with those issues are not something you want overshadowing your dive or relaxation time. You don’t want to miss a moment since you never know when a whale shark is going to saunter through the group of feeding mantas that you are watching (like in the video above).
If you haven’t booked your dive trip yet, check out the deals for Dream Voyager on this summer.