Packing for Paradise: What I Packed for the Maldives

I find that packing for an island or beach trip is always so much easier than other trips, don’t you think? The weather is likely to be similar most days, swimsuits and flip flops don’t take up that much space in my luggage, and I love the ease of just throwing on a sun dress for the day or evening.

When I started to think about what I would pack for our trip to the Maldives this past February, I only had one minor concern – the dress code at our resort, Komandoo. I searched a few travel forums for ideas about how to dress in the restaurants, and what would be appropriate around the island. The general consensus was that as long as we didn’t show up for a meal in our swimwear and Chris didn’t wear a tank top, we’d be fine. The official dress code mentioned on Komandoo’s website is “smart casual” in the restaurants and bars.

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The weather for our mid-February trip promised to be in the high 80s and fairly dry. Six out of seven days were lovely – lots of sunshine, a puffy cloud here and there, but with lots of wind. One day we had overcast skies and some rain. With the weather and dress code in mind, here’s what I packed for our week in paradise:

  • 3 short-sleeve shirts (one I wore on the plane)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 3 long sleeveless dresses
  • 3 cover-ups
  • 3 swimsuits
  • rash guard
  • bras & undies
  • 1 tank top (for sleeping)
  • yoga pants and hoodie (worn on the plane – 15 hour flights require maximum comfort)
  • 2 hats – one wide, floppy hat and one bucket hat
  • flip-flops
  • sunglasses

I spent most of the day around the island in a swimsuit with a fairly conservative cover-up (length nearly to my knees, and not sheer). I felt comfortable wearing that ensemble to the bars during the day, but we wore nice shorts and short-sleeve shirts to breakfast and lunch in the main restaurant. For evening cocktails and dinner I wore an easy breezy maxi dress with fun accessories, and Chris wore khaki shorts with short-sleeve button-up shirts.

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The official footwear dress code on the island is made clear on this signage, and we only needed a pair of flip flops to wear on the wooden jetty when it got too hot for bare feet. I actually didn’t see anyone wearing anything other than flip flops if they were wearing shoes at all, even in the restaurants and bars. You don’t even have to pack shoes if you don’t want to – Komandoo provides flip flops to wear as needed (see blue sandals pictured below).

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Perhaps the most important part of my Maldives wardrobe was a big, floppy straw hat to protect my face from the strong sun. I credit this hat to my lack of sunburn on my face at the end of the week! It was so important, in fact, that when the wind whipped it off of my head while walking along the jetty, Chris deftly dove into the water to retrieve it. Isn’t he the sweetest?

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Additional packing tips:

  • There’s no need to pack a ton of makeup, ladies. The heat, humidity, and water will take it right off! I wore a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 daily, and added some mascara and lip gloss for dinner.
  • Komandoo has dive/snorkel gear available to rent, but we brought our own gear since we planned to be in the water as much as possible.
  • I wore the same three dresses on rotation in the restaurant every evening and once for lunch at Hurawalhi’s 5.8 Underwater Restaurant. They were even the exact same style just in different colors and patterns. I was initially a little worried about repeating outfits since we all ate at the same restaurant together each night. But the dining room was pretty dimly lit and no one seemed to mind (what did I even think someone would say to me?), so this is just reassurance that there’s really no need to pack a different outfit for every day if you want to keep your luggage light.
  • I’m the Sunscreen Queen so I have to mention again that the sun is strong in the Maldives. I highly recommend a rash guard for snorkeling if you’re on the fair side. The reef is gorgeous, and you won’t realize how fast time passes while you’re blissfully floating along gazing at the fish and coral. Your back will thank you for covering up!
  • Speaking of covering up, the Republic of the Maldives is a conservative Muslim country. To be respectful, you’ll want to have something to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting the main island and going through the airport. The dress code is more relaxed at the resorts and bikinis are totally fine on the beach, but I would still recommend leaving your thongs at home. Besides, remember my point about the strong sun? Your buns will want to be covered!
  • Lastly, nudity is illegal in the Maldives, even while sunbathing. So while you can keep your luggage light, you don’t want to go too light. 😉 I kid. (But seriously, no nudity.)

I think that’s everything. I hope it helps. Feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions about packing for the Maldives!

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