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A vacation to the luxurious resorts of Maldives is an unforgettable affair compelte with powder sands and cyan-blue waters. But if you're after something a little kinder to your bank account, or a little closer to home, one of these fabulous locations could hit the spot.
For budget's sake, we've mentioned whether their low cost (package holidays are under $1,000), mid-range (package holidays are between $1,000 and $2000) or high cost (package holidays are $2,000+)
This South Pacific archipelago chain sits east of Queensland and features over 300 islands blessed with sandy beaches and coral-filled waters.
With its endless outdoor activities and kid-friendly resorts, Fiji is an ideal escape for families with young ones keen to unwind during the school break. Poolside, naturally.
Only a short boat ride from Bali but a world away, these three small islands offer picture-perfect white sand beaches, swaying palms and a view of Lombok's majestic Mt Rinjani volcano.
The price of hotels and meals on Gili Islands, or elsewhere in Bali is dirt cheap compared to Maldives with a day's worth of meals costing under $10 and the average cost per person, per day coming under $50.
Located in the heart of the world's most famous reef, the 74 Whitsunday Islands have stunning beaches and secluded bays framed by aqua water and emerald forests. If you have to choose one though, we recommend Whitehaven Beach - it’s the finest in Whitsunday, if not the world.
With flights under an hour from major Australian cities and numerous non-stop options this works as a weekend or a long-weekend break.
If escaping to a nation of dozens of tropical islands surrounded by unbelievably blue waters is your thing, then we'd recommend Vanuatu. Only a few hours' flight off the east coast of Australia, these islands are perfect for a short escape or an extended getaway - after all, there are more than 80 islands to explore.
Thousands of inviting islands and famed Boracay beach parties await you in the Philippines, but don’t forget to take some time to explore the chiselled beauty of rice terraces and historical landmarks in Manila.
If you're lucky, you can catch flights to the Philippines for under $200 return. When in the nation, the cost of living drops dramatically as well with similar meals half the price of those on Maldives.
Nestled halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii is the Cook Islands chain and its bevy of beautiful beaches. It comes up just slightly pricier than Maldives unfortunately as prices on-island are dear however the flight time is bang-on perfect coming up less than 6 hours from Sydney. Flights are mainly operated by Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand though Jetstar offers a few indirect services per week.
The Perhentian Islands are less than hour boat ride from the east coast of Malaysia, and are a haven for scuba divers. Whether you are touring the underwater wonderland, relaxing on the blindingly white sand beach or trekking the lush jungles, it's is a budget-friendly path to a tropical escape.
So much like the Maldives, technically this Indian island chain is part of the Maldives, geographically speaking. It's much less developed and accommodation is sparse, but budget bungalows can be found on a few of the islands.
Not on such a tight budget? Then we'd recommend checking out these idyllic isles like the Maldives that exude luxury:
Looking every bit like the epitome of paradise, Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean that's packed with picturesque lagoons, towering waterfalls, and colourful reefs.
When you think of paradise, you think of Bora Bora. This picture-perfect spot in the South Pacific has lush, jungle-covered mountains, an unbelievably blue lagoon and pristine beaches.
Belize will have you spoiled for choice with Caribbean shorelines to the east and Central American jungle to the west. Packed with adventure and culture, you can scuba dive the Great Blue Hole one day and explore excavated tombs of Mayan kings the next.
Flying to Belize is not going to be cheap with fares starting from $1,500 from Sydney however it's the cost on ground that makes this cheaper than Maldives with cheap meals starting from $4 according to Numbeo. 5-star hotels can start from $138 per night. Comparatively, equivalent hotels in Maldives start from $200 per night.
Curacao is one of the Caribbean's best kept secrets with hidden beaches tucked along its Western coast. Watch psychedelic sunsets at more than 35 captivating beaches while savoring the rich history dating back to the 16th century at its capital city Willemstad.
Located on the east coast of Africa, for somewhere utterly pristine, heaven-scent and a bit of a blow-out, make yours a luxurious trip to Seychelles. It's definitely a cut above Maldives in terms of cost but for the crystal clear water, nature reserves and unique flora and fauna it's the thing of dreams. Make yours a reality.
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