What it’s really like to travel to the Maldives with a baby

I was getting really nervous about visiting the Maldives with a baby.

When I told other people we were coming here with a six-month-old they all had one of two responses. It went like this…

  1. “Are you crazy!? It’s such a long flight and it isn’t very baby friendly.”

Or

  1. “You’re brave. It’s such a long flight and it isn’t very baby friendly.”

So, naturally, I was getting pretty worried with people thinking I was either really brave or completely crazy. I’m neither of these things (I hope!?)

There were two lovely people who told me I had nothing to worry about. One was Nellie from Wild Junket who had recently visited with her five month old daughter. The other was a friend who’d spent her honeymoon on the Maldives.

I then realised that all these other people who were making me nervous had either never been to the Maldives or had never spent more than an hour with a baby.

So the reason I’m writing this post is because they were wrong, so, so wrong! If anyone else is considering visiting the Maldives with a baby, it’s the best place ever for so many reasons. Let’s start with that long flight.

Flying to the Maldives with a baby

With flew with Turkish Airways from Birmingham to Male with a 3-hour layover in Istanbul. We took off at 4pm so the majority of the flight was overnight.

George didn’t sleep on the first flight but for the second flight he slept with no problems all the way there.

It turns out that the long-haul section of the flight is much easier than short-haul. The planes are more spacious and passengers with babies are given priority for the bulk head seats where bassinets can be used. The toilets were also bigger so it was easier to change George’s nappy and we had plenty of pillows and blankets to make him comfortable.

I’d been so worried about the flight but it turned out that I really had nothing to worry about at all.

The Maldives with a baby

Maldivians

I’d never met anyone from the Maldives before so I had no idea what expect. We found them all to be warm, friendly and kind but when you’re travelling with a baby this multiplied by about a million times. Everyone was just so lovely.

What really surprised us was how lovely the men were with George. In the UK, it’s really unusual for a man to make a fuss of an unknown baby but the culture is so different in the Maldives. When we arrived we were ushered through the fast security lanes at the airport. We actually didn’t get through much faster because three guys came over to coo over George. They had him belly laughing in seconds and the three guys were in stitches.

Everywhere we went people would stop and chat to him. George is a smiley baby so this would spur them on to make him laugh. Whenever we took a boat to or from Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu the guys on the boat would hold George and keep him safe while we got on and off. The waiters would keep him entertained while we ate our dinner and they remembered the best ways to make him smile.

It was a dream for us and made the holiday so much easier. We always felt so welcome and often found that George was the perfect ice breaker to get chatting to local people. On average, it would take about 30 seconds before people would get their phones out and start sharing photos of their own children.

baby in the Maldives

Taken during a visit to a local island

The time difference

The Maldives is 5 hours ahead of the UK. I thought this would be a problem but it actually worked out well. It meant that George could easily stay awake until 8.30-9pm without getting tired and naggy while we were eating dinner. I think it’s mean to take babies for dinner when they’re really tired and they usually end up whinging throughout the meal. It also meant he’d lie in in the mornings which was a bonus for us!

Travelling to the Maldives with a baby

A small, friendly island

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is a small island resort. Guests get to know one another quickly and everyone gets to know the staff. As for George, well he just knew everyone. I’m not joking, all of the front-desk staff knew him by name and loads of the guests knew him too. Everyone was so friendly.

The Maldives

 

Babysitting facilities

We used a babysitter once when we went on a snorkelling excursion. It was lovely to get away and not worry about George as we knew he was in safe hands. His babysitter was a young lady from the reception desk who he absolutely adored. She looked after him in our room but also took him for walks around the island – which is one of the reasons why everyone knew him!

When we returned from our snorkelling trip George was happily asleep in his cot – which is a sure sign he was happy. He doesn’t usually sleep unless he’s totally happy and relaxed (yes, we got one of those babies!)

George and his babysitter

A chilled out pace of life

Like most islands, the Maldives are so chilled out. Babies don’t cope well with stress, strict itineraries and busy schedules but this laidback lifestyle suits them perfectly.

The Tiny Travel Hack

It doesn’t get much more chilled than this

 

Buffet dining

We enjoyed eating in the island’s restaurants but the open-air buffet was best for George. He could try lots of different food and if we needed to take it in turns going up to the buffet it didn’t matter. It also meant we could eat when we were ready and take as long as we wanted – or quickly grab a meal if George wasn’t in the mood to be quiet.

We were really conscious that a lot of people were on their honeymoon at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and were enjoying romantic meals in the evenings. The last thing they’d want is a baby shouting at the table next to them! Because of this we did have room service on our last two evenings. This was when George had adjusted to the time zone and was ready for bed at 7pm. Room service was great and it was lovely to eat our dinner under the stars next to the swimming pool.

Can you travel to the Maldives with a baby?

Our private garden area

We had a deluxe villa so we had a small, private pool and a private sandy area looking out to the beach. This was all shaded so it was great for George. As it was all next to our room we could put a baby monitor outside and relax in the sunshine while George was happily napping inside. We could also do this in the evening. This was a huge bonus for us – if we were in a hotel, one of us would have had to stay in the room whenever George was asleep.

Sunuva outfit

If you’re thinking of visiting the Maldives with a baby but you’re worried it isn’t suitable or is too much hassle – think again because I think this is one of the best destinations you can visit with a baby!

 

Read all of my blog posts from the Maldives here, including tips for flying long haul with babies and a packing list for travelling to the Maldives with a baby.


The holiday low-down

I flew to Male with Turkish Airlines. I departed from Birmingham with a 3-hour layover in Istanbul – a good choice if you’re travelling with little ones!

I stayed at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu for 6 nights in a Deluxe Villa on a full board basis.

Massive thanks to Visit Maldives for helping to organise my trip

 

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (29)
  1. This is great to hear! We have an overseas flight coming up soon and are on the phone right now to try to get a bassinet and bulk head seating. I hope we get it because I can’t imagine holding him the whole way!

    1. If you’re baby will settle in the bassinet then it’s the best thing ever. George wouldn’t really settle in his so I held him most of the way. He wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

      1. Hi, did you and your baby need vaccines to travel to the Maldives? We are going in two weeks with a 5 month & a 20 month old from Ireland.

          1. Hi Michelle, you’re going to have such a great time. I think I pretty much covered all my thoughts about it in this post but I thought it was great and would do it again in a heartbeat!

    1. Ahh, they’ll have a lovely time! Yes, share this post with her. When I started Googling ‘travelling to the Maldives with a baby’ I found lots of forums with angry mums saying you should never do it – I wish I’d read something like this before I left!

  2. Whilst babies are still a long way off in my life plan it is really reassuring to hear that they don’t stop you from travelling!

    1. Definitely! It’s been lovely to hear from so many readers who say the same – they’re not having kids any time soon but they know they want to one day and they don’t want to stop travelling when they do.
      It’s a lot harder but it’s definitely worth it!

  3. Hi, I’m traveling with my 1 yr old, flying with Turkish Airways from Birmingham, can I take a changing bag as an extra hand luggage and if so how big it can be? thanks, TravelHack.

    1. Hi Susan. I’m not sure but I don’t think so, you’ll need to check with the airline but unless you paid for a seat for your baby I don’t think they get a hand luggage bag. To be honest though, I wouldn’t take one anyway, just try and combine your bags into one. You’ll have enough stuff to carry and an extra hand luggage bag will make it even more difficult.

      UPDATE: I’ve now flown A LOT with kids and I can confirm that most airlines allow you to take a baby changing bag as extra – even when you haven’t paid for their seat.

  4. Great article very encouraging. We are thinking of going to the Maldives with a 1 year old. Did you take all his nappies or buy them there?

    1. We took everything – all his nappies, wipes, formula, food, snacks, everything. We could have got the hotel to order these things and send them to the hotel but they didn’t sell anything like that at the hotel shop and I think it would have been expensive too. Our transfer collected us immediately from the plane so we didn’t have chance to find a proper shop to buy anything between landing and travelling to the island.
      I think it will be easier with a one year old as you won’t need to worry about formula and specific snacks – there will be so much fruit and yummy food available. I’d check with your hotel what kind of milk they’ll have available though – just in case.

  5. Great article! I live in Hong Kong and prior to baby news we’d been traveling all over the place in our spare time. I’m not concerned about traveling with a baby but the question is do you think it is advisable to travel abroad before all your vaccinations have been completed? Thanks!

    1. All your vaccinations or the baby’s vaccinations? I think it depends where you’re coming from. In the UK, babies have vaccinations every few months for about a year and then continue to have them for years so you never really get to a point where they’ve had them all. I’m not really sure what the best advice is here medically as you’d need to speak to your doctor.

  6. This is fantastic advice! Thank you so much for sharing. We travel to the Maldives next week with our 8 month old. She sounds like your George – friends with everyone we meet – but I wasn’t sure what it’d be like there. This has totally put my mind at ease!! Did you by any chance get to see the baby stocks in Male. We have one night transit there on the way in and so I wonder about getting supplies there…

    1. I didn’t at all I’m afraid. We did spend an afternoon in Male but just went to a hotel to cool off and have a nap. I’m sure there will be plenty of shops with all the supplies you need – anywhere that has babies has baby supplies! But if you can squeeze everything in your case I would. It just makes life a little easier not having to spend the beginning of your holiday rushing around supermarkets trying to find nappies. I hope you have a wonderful time and your daughter enjoys all the attention!

  7. What a wonderful post! We’re also considering to visit the Maledives with our baby. How did your son cope with the hot climate and intense sun? Would you recommend to bring a light travelling stroller, or will it be impossible to use due to sand (we will be staying on local islands, not a resort)? Thanks a lot for your advice!

    1. He was absolutely fine with the heat to be honest. Our bungalow had air conditioning but when he was outside it didn’t seem to bother him at all. We kept him out of the sun all of the time other than when we were swimming in the sea but he was fine.
      If you’re taking a stroller and you’ve got the space then I’d recommend taking a bigger pushchair like a Bugaboo with big chunky wheels as they can cope with the soft sand much better. We have a Bugaboo Chameleon and it’s really good in the sand. But if you don’t want to take a big pushchair then I’d still take a lightweight stroller. They’re still good for getting around the airport or if your baby is sleeping at dinner time.
      Have a great time!

  8. Hello, I update your post because I would like to go to Maldive with my baby of 5 month, but I have 3 problems:

    1) I have a limited budget, so I have to stay in a guesthouse or B&B in a island of local people (and you know, in these islands often there are problem of rubbish and cleaning

    2) related to the first point are the mosquitos that can bring “dengue”. How can I protect my baby from the “dengue”??

    3) I have to find a guesthouse a guesthousr or B&B or hotel with a babysitting service

    1. I’m sorry but I stayed in a resort so I don’t have any experiences with guesthouses. As for protecting babies from mosquitos, I’d recommend a natural mosquito repellent but the most important thing is to keep them away from mozzies at dusk when they’re most active. If you can stay indoors with airconditioning that’s the best bet.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

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