For any traveler, the worries are easy to spot right now. If you’re aiming to go somewhere far away you’ll end up on a plane, which carries stigmas of fear despite little evidence in support. You’ll also likely be staying at a hotel of some kind, which means potentially mixing with other guests.
That’s most places – but things are kind of different in the Maldives, and it’s very possible you may not see anyone at all, perhaps other than whoever brings breakfast.
For many reasons, it’s fair to say that the Maldives is winning the reboot of early travel recovery, with a mix of safety measures and the inimitably unique lifestyle offered on these island atolls. Simultaneously launching some of the best ever deals on lodging certainly isn’t hurting, either.
Maldives Safety Protocols
Some countries aren’t bothering with covid-19 testing for visitors, and while that may appear attractive to some holiday starved travelers, it’s a major turn off to others, even if it brings in large numbers.
The Maldives requires a covid-19 test prior to flight, which helps keep sick people off the plane in the first place, and the policy has shown to be extremely effective. Hawaii recently reported that thanks to pre-flight testing, only 1:1,553 travelers were testing positive for covid-19 days after arrival, with 0.6% of all arrivals testing positive at any point.
For nervous travelers, this means many trips to the Maldives offer a lesser chance of sitting next to an infected passenger on the plane, particularly on airlines like Emirates, which require a negative covid-19 test for passengers from all departure points, not just those headed to the Maldives.
Upon arrival, visitors are screened for any obvious symptoms and reasonable limits on island hopping remain in place, to keep contact tracing and other measures viable. All hotels were also forced to add measures including quarantine stations to deal with any potentially symptomatic arrivals which slip through the cracks.
But really, it’s the reasons to go to the Maldives which make it such a good choice.
- Social distancing
- Separated villas
- Underwater activities
Vitamin D has been cited as important in the fight against covid-19. Yes, it’s true, fun in the sun could actually play a vital role in fighting the worst outcomes of covid-19, and the Maldives provides one of the most naturally socially distant places to enjoy sun.
Put it this way, anywhere you need tot take a boat or sea plane to reach other visitors to the country is going to keep people from mingling. With quarantine stations and other facilities set up at each resort, worst case scenarios are accounted for too.
You just don’t see very many shared elevators in the middle of the ocean.
It all sounds lovely, but the Maldives is one of the more expensive destinations you’ll ever encounter in a normal year, with rates over $500 a night, and many times that in some locations.
2020 though, is not a normal time, and the country and its tourism partners have banded together to not only create the world’s first loyalty program from a country, but also some stellar deals too.
Accor, the brand behind Fairmont, Raffles and other luxury properties recently ran a campaign where guests received 40% of the rate back in on property credit, so if you booked a $1000 stay, you got $400 back to spend at the hotel.
Other flash deals have included rates up to 80 – yes 80% – off hotels, and now Anantara is offering a year’s stay for $30,000, at a five star hotel which typically runs $1000 a night. For points fanatics, there’s also stellar availability to cash in points too.
A Great Time To Travel?
I’ve traveled three times in 2020, each with the aim of minimizing contact where possible. Smaller hotels, private Airbnb’s and outdoor focused destinations where social distancing is easy and activities can be consumed outside.
My personal experience, is that I’ve found myself in lesser daily contact with others on vacation than my time at home, where I might do things like pop to the grocery, or a jaunt to my local coffee shop for the caffeine needed to write all day.
Sitting in a private overwater villa in the Maldives and doing some snorkeling from my own stairs, grabbing a workout on the deck, or enjoying room service doesn’t seem like a bad way to boost the Vitamin D, reset, work remotely or enjoy a little sanity break.
The Maldives is winning travel right now, if you ask me.