How we traveled to the Seychelles for free!
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Let me start with describing our fabulous time on the Seychelles islands and let’s save the logistics and free stuff for the end! Seychelles is a group of small tropical Islands literally in the middle of nowhere, separated by at least 1000 km of Indian Ocean from any other country.
We stayed on Mahe, the main island which is also home to the majority of the population. Our hotel was Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove beach resort where we mainly enjoyed the pool, the beach, and snorkelling on the small reef directly in front of the hotel. Neighbored by other luxury resorts, our Fisherman’s Cove is situated at the long Beau Vallon Beach. The beach especially comes alive every Wednesday night during the evening market. The local population comes together for a barbecue, music, dancing and some self-stoked coconut liquor sold from the backside of cars.
Tours & Island Hopping
When on The Seychelles you likely want to explore the various Islands. The best way to do this is to book a tour through one of the many local agencies. Do Bargain as they will ultimately all sell you similar tours, using similar ferry services.
Many tour operators on Mahe provide a day tour which combines La Digue with Praslin, the 2nd largest island of Seychelles. We only visited La Digue for a day trip as:
- We wanted to take it easy this holiday
- Were advised by our hotel staff to skip these cramped day trips which offer not much time for relaxation
- We anyway planned to rent a car and drive through the (similar) nature of Mahe
- One (minor) downside: we would not be able to see the Coco de Mer in the wild, the world largest nut (as these only grow in Praslin). A bit hard for me as I like to checkboxes, but we took our “loss”. However, we did see the nuts in many souvenirs shops, only not hanging on a tree.
Top Tip: Whatever you do, but especially when snorkelling, do use high factor sunscreen! At the time of writing, we lived in Dubai and we are used to visiting many tropical destinations. However, this was really insane! Even when it was (partly) cloudy we both got massively sunburned!
La Digue Island
The Seychelles islands are world-famous for its spectacular beaches and rock formations. Especially when visiting La Digue island, which is a must-see on any Seychelles itinerary!… I finally understood where the many zoos and attraction parks around the world got their inspiration from when creating their “fake rock formations”. I am sure you understand what I mean when checking the photos below, the only thing is, they are definitely real!
Another very nice feature of La Digue and the other Seychelles are the giant tortoises that roam the Islands! Speaking of giant tortoises do also check my Galapagos Islands post!
Top Tip: I suggest you book a cycling tour to La Digue (it includes a ferry return ticket and is far cheaper than booking it yourself) which allows you to freely cycle anywhere on the island and experience the stunning nature for yourself!
Top Tip: This top tip is likely not fully compatible with the below “free” section. But There are also a few hotels on laid-back La Digue, which would be a nice base to explore the beaches (and beat the day trip crowds).
Rent a car, or even better a Mini Moke!
The best way to explore the main islands (Mahe or Praslin) on your own pace is to rent a car! The island’s roads are curly and small, but in good condition and not very congested! A very relaxed way to visit the many beaches, rum factories, viewing points, etc.
Top Tip: When renting a car, ask your hotel reception to check if they can arrange a Mini Moke. This fun looking car will certainly draw attention on the road. These beach buggies were very popular in the past, but only a few have survived time. Also when touring the Island we expected to see more, but did not come across any! Moreover, even the locals seemed surprised to see this old timer drive past. Cost-wise it should only be around 30 USD more expensive than a regular economy size car for a day. Definitely worth the experience!
So how did we travel for free?
I hear you think: “Ok, all great! These Seychelles look amazing and I really want to go, but what about that ‘going for free’ part?”… Well let me explain:
Let me first explain the term travel hacking. Everyone can do it, only in some countries, it is just a bit easier than in others. But you can do this everywhere!
It basically comes down to saving any form of points that you can use or transfer to free flights or free hotel stays (2 key cost components of travelling). The way to do this quickest is via applying for credit cards which reward you for frequent flyer points or hotel loyalty points.
In short, I went to Seychelles for free in a few simple ways:
- I applied for a Skywards credit card in UAE (where I live at the time of writing), where I received free frequent flyer points for Emirates Airline with every dollar spent. So we flew (almost) for free with Emirates from Dubai to Mahe with points collected and part of our sign-up bonus.
- I also applied for an SPG credit card where I received Starpoints. You can exchange these points for free stays in SPG hotels (Starwood Preferred Guest). We used the sign-up bonus points to stay in Le Meridien. (Recently Marriot and SPG merged, so this would now apply to Marriot or any other large hotel chain).
- A great extra benefit of the SPG membership (which is free) is that when you book through the SPG website you only pay for 4 nights and get the 5th night free, this also works with Points! You guessed it already! We stayed 5 nights…
- But what about our food & drinks, our tour, and the rental car?
- Well as I am a Platinum SPG member, our breakfast was already included
- In addition, we rented out our own apartment on Airbnb, which covered for the additional expenses.
And there you have it, a short simple way how you can enjoy 5 nights in a 5-star hotel on the wonderful Island called Seychelles!…. For Free…
Interested in bounty islands, but do not in paying high prices? Check out these golden Ghost around the Globe tips to limit your expenses when travelling to the Maldives. In case you are looking for an unforgettable ‘Wildlife’ experience check out my Zanzibar post and if you are looking for an all round destination check out Sri Lanka!…