How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stop Over In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

maafushivaru maldives resort

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How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stopover In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Visiting the United Arab Emirates as well as The Maldives has always been a trip that I longed to do. I always figured it would be above my budget, but I didn’t really take the time to analyze and assess as well as price out what it would really cost.

As I was trying to figure out where to go for our 10 year anniversary and vow renewal, I decided that if anything, this would be the perfect time to travel to The UAE and The Maldives.

Note that you do not need to be a travel agent or use a travel agent to book a trip like this to the Maldives, however you can if it’s less stressful for you.

How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stopover In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

How Did We Get To The UAE and The Maldives

We flew from Washington DC to Abu Dhabi and then Abu Dhabi to The Maldives on Etihad Airways.

We spent 3 days in Abu Dhabi, rented a car and drove to Dubai where we spent 3 days as well. On our last day in Dubai we drove back to Abu Dhabi for our flight to The Maldives where we spent 4 full days.

If you ask me, I don’t think we spent enough time in the Maldives because the time went by so fast and I was so sad about leaving. 

We met several people who were there for 7, 10 and even 14 days planned. Just to give you an idea of how much time is recommended. Especially with how long the flight is.

Flight Tickets to Male (The Maldives)

I booked our tickets using Google Flights using the multiple city option and they cost $660 per person round trip. You can see below exactly how I did it.

  • Dulles International Airport (IAD – Washington, DC) to Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH – United Arab Emirates)
  • Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH – United Arab Emirates) to Velana International Airport (MLE – Male, The Maldives)
  • Velana International Airport (MLE – Male, The Maldives) to Dulles International Airport (IAD – Washington, DC)
How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stop Over In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

When all sections of the trip have been selected, Google gives you different booking options. I usually prefer to book directly with the airline versus with a third party like eDreams and the other as seen below.

Google Flight multi-city trip

Ps, Make sure to play around with Google flights until you find the best price. Moving the date around makes a huge difference. Tickets will usually be cheaper on a weekday, Tuesday Wednesday or Thursday.

Sea Plane from Male To The Resort

After purchasing your tickets to The Maldives, then you’ll need to think about how to get to the resort. You can get there by boat or by seaplane depending on where your resort is located. The boat is usually much cheaper than the seaplane.

We stayed at Lti Maafushivaru Resort which requires a 30 minute sea plane ride to get there. Make sure to read my review on this luxury resort in the Maldives – The Maldives: Lti Maafushivaru Maldives Resort Review.

The good thing here is the Seaplane ride is usually booked for and arranged by the resort so you don’t have to stress out about this. Once you give the resort your flight details, they’ll arrange this for you.

Round trip Seaplane from Male Airport to the island where the resort is located costs $1,159 for 3 of us total. This amount is based on the location of your resort and will vary.

Sea Plane from Male To The Resort

Travel Times

Travel times are quite long, so keep that in mind when booking flights, especially with kids.

  1. Washington DC to Abu Dhabi – 12.5Hr Flight
  2. Abu Dhabi to Male – 4.5hr Flight
  3. Male to Lti Maafushivaru Maldives Resort
    • 30 minute seaplane ride
    • 5 minute boat ride

The same trip is repeated on the way back, except that this time the flight from Abu Dhabi to Washington DC is 14.5Hrs. Whew – that was a long flight.

Passengers inside a sea plane

Covid Requirements

We took a total of 5 Covid tests for this trip. Keep in mind that you’ll need to complete these Covid tests whether you are vaccinated or not. This is what it takes to travel right now, and we are okay with it.

  • Covid test to fly to Abu Dhabi
  • Covid test on arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport
  • Covid test to get back into Abu Dhabi after going to to Dubai (there is a toll gate and they have people checking)
  • Covist test to fly to The Maldives
  • Covid test to fly back to the USA

You’ll also need a health declaration form to enter and leave The United Arab Emirates as well as The Maldives. Once your ticket is booked, the airline will usually send you all this information. These forms can be completed only.

Covid Requirements Maldives

How Much Did This Trip Cost?

A trip like this will vary widely depending on your accommodation, meals, excursions and more. Below is an approximate amount of how much this trip cost us.

Hotel Costs

Abu Dhabi and Dubai hotels vary in price, from about $80 to $200+ per night.

Abu Dhabi

  • Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island – $200/N
  • Conrad Abu Dhabi – $150/N


  • Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach – $150/N (I got bit by bed bugs here. So book this at your own risk 🤷🏾‍♀️)
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah – $215/N

The Maldives

Lti Maafushivaru Maldives Resort

We stayed here for 4 nights because that’s what we could afford, and we stayed in 2 different room types. We did meet people staying 7, 10 and even 14 nights.

The resort had some really amazing sales going on and the price below also included breakfast and dinner.

  • Duplex Pool Villa (sleeps 4) = $677/N (Usually costs $1042/N)
  • Water Pool Villa (sleeps 3) = $716/N (Usually costs $1102/N)

Tax is about $160-170 additional per night depending on the room type you book. So a 4 night stay at this resort in an overwater bungalow will cost about $3,602 based on the current sale price.

We also opted for the all inclusive package which included unlimited drinks and meals and it was the best choice ever as the food at every restaurant was really good.

How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stop Over In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Rental Car

We rented a car in Abu Dhabi for 3 nights – $265

Meals & Excursions

Our hotel in Abu Dhabi gave us entry to Ferrari World which was a great perk, making that excursion free. We also booked hotels that included free breakfast, so all we had to worry about was lunch and dinner.

We spent about $1000 on meals and excursions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Our meals and drinks were free in The Maldvies.

If you have time during your stay in Dubai, you can also visit Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. Or,  Burj Al Arab – the most iconic hotel in Dubai.

Grand Total Spent

After adding everything up above including tips and extras, we spent a total of about $8,000 for this trip for our family of 3.

We have never spent this amount of money on a trip ever! And it was hard for me to even fathom spending thism however, given that we were celebrating our 10th anniversary, we saved up for this and made it happen and it was worth every penny.

Tips For Booking A Trip To Abu Dhabi/ Dubai and The Maldives

  1. Make sure you look for deals when booking a trip to the Maldives – If we had booked for 5 nights instead of 4 nights, we would have gotten the all inclusive package for free as well as many more perks such as free Seaplane ride and more which would have actually brought down our costs.
  2. Find the right hotel or resort to accommodate your family size. All of the rooms at Lti Maafushivaru Maldvives Resort sleep 3 with the exception of the Duplex Pool Villa which sleeps 4.
  3. Book the right room type – in the Maldives we stayed in 2 different rooms which gave us an idea the type of room we like better. I suggest splitting your stay in two different room types so you can experience both.
  4. Book a hotel that offers perks – in Abu Dhabi and Dubai our hotels came with free breakfast and theme park tickets. Get the most out of your hotel stay.
  5. Book ahead of time – This allows you to slowly pay for your trip over time so it doesn’t seem like a huge amount to come up with at once.
How To Plan A Trip To The Maldives With A Stop Over In Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Overall Thoughts On Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Maldives Trip

This was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on, and if you can afford it, I highly recommend it. Curious about how we are able to afford a trip like this, make sure to read – “How Are We Able To Afford Our Travel Life

Kay, The Mom Trotter

Hey Fam, I’m so glad you’re here!
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