How to travel to Dubai on a budget! By Guest Blogger, DubaiWikia.com. There are many wealthy, glamorous cities in the world, but they come with their share of slums and evidence of economic disparity. Not so in Dubai. It’s safe to say that the people who live or work in Dubai are more than well-to-do – it’s that or they cannot survive in this expensive city. Dubai is just a sparkling, glittering land of fantasy where you can forget where you come from. You can take on a different persona there. The trick is to enjoy this incredible city without breaking the bank. Trust us to guide you on how to travel Dubai on a budget.
Please research your Dubai destination for the latest Covid-19 policies and guidelines.
How to Create a Budget for Dubai Travel
When you travel to Dubai on a budget, you don’t want to spend too many days in Dubai. Dubai is so well connected that you can enjoy a great deal of the city within a short time.
- Begin your research months before you travel
- Identify the cheapest flight to Dubai. Check rates on UAE airlines first – Etihad Airways, Emirates, Gulf and others. Identify the least cost and create your airfare budget.
- Check out rates for accommodation at the time of your visit. Remember that if you’re traveling in the peak of summer, which is off-season, you’ll enjoy cheaper rates, discounts and freebies at hotels, restaurants, activities and attractions. Hostels are cheaper than hotels and if you’re traveling as a group, best to rent out a cheap apartment. Do your homework and set the budget for your Dubai on a budget stay.
- Food in Dubai can be uber expensive or very cheap, depending on where you eat. Eating at pubs and bars works out well as long as you don’t order drinks, which are overcharged at bars. It’s best to buy groceries and cook your own food, or eat at mall food stalls, food trucks or local eateries. Do your homework and set a daily budget for food.
- Dubai has excellent transportation. Purchase a Nol card which can be used for the metro, water bus, trams and monorail services. Taxis are cheap if you hire them for the whole day. Decide which attractions you’re going to visit and compute your travel expenses.
How to travel to Dubai on a Budget: Take in Free and Cheap Sights
You’ll be paying through the nose for Dubai’s attractions, such as the view from the Burj Khalifa’s observatory deck. If you decide to forgo expensive attractions and rather focus on free or cheap ones, you can save a lot of money. You’ll still be enjoying everything the city has to offer.
1. Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountains
- Avoid paying for the trip to
- the observatory deck. Rather, walk around the Burj Khalifa’s circumference, on the nicely laid boulevard. You can get a beautiful view of the entire building from there.
- The Dubai Fountain is free to watch, either from an abra on the Burj Lake or from outside the Dubai Mall.
- Exploring the glorious Dubai Mall is also completely free of charge. There’s a huge glass wall in the lobby itself, through which you can see huge fish, sharks and multi-coloured marine life swimming. This is part of Dubai’s famous aquarium.
2. The Dubai Museum
For just AED 3, you’ll learn about the Emirate’s social history and Dubai’s transition from a humble fishing village to a mega metropolis. You’ll also understand the deep culture and heritage of Dubai.
The museum, housed in the Al-Fahidi Fort, contains many dioramas of the old fishing and pearl diving industries. There is a collection of weaponry as well, apart from other artifacts of Bedouin lifestyle.
3. Jumeirah Mosque
This is one of the few mosques that is open to non-Muslims as well. It’s the largest mosque in the city; it offers special educational tours to promote an understanding of Islam. Best of all is the spectacular view you get of the Jumeirah Mosque in the evening after the lights are lit.
4. The Palm Islands
Take the Metro till the Dubai Marina stop and from there, take the monorail to the Palm Islands. You can explore the islands, delighting in the beautiful architecture all around. The truly palatial Hotel Atlantis and the Burj Al Arab are located on two arms of the Palm Islands.
5. Dubai’s Beaches
The best beaches in Dubai are located in the Jumeirah district. The Jumeirah Beach is fabulous, as is the Kite Beach, which is well known for its many water sports. Public beaches don’t have sanitary and safety facilities, so you’ll have to use private beaches, paying a fee.
6. Old Dubai
Old Dubai comprises of the towns of Bur Dubai, Deira, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and the Dubai Creek. The Al Fahidi town-ship is lovely, with its narrow cobbled lanes and old houses made out of black coral. Examine the old wind-towers closely – these are the devices which kept homes cool before air conditioners.
Explore the neighbourhood of Bur Dubai and its many eateries, souqs and art galleries. Don’t skip the gold souq, with its display of the biggest gold finger ring in the world. You can smell the fragrance off the spice souqs from a distance as well. Cross the Dubai Creek paying 1 AED on an old Abra vessel. On the other side you’ll find Deira with its food outlets, textile and carpet souqs.
7. Dubai Desert Safari
While a desert safari isn’t exactly cheap, you can get a cheaper rate by joining a large group of tourists. Look for promotions and discounts on Groupon and in the local newspapers. Go nuts sand-boarding on the tall dunes, and bashing into them in an SUV. If you sign up for an evening or overnight safari, you can enjoy an excellent dinner along with plenty of cultural entertainment.
8. Global Village
If you visit Dubai between late November and late February, you can visit the Global Village for a fee of AED 15. The Global Village is an annual gathering of many countries, displaying their handicrafts, indigenous foods, cultural programs and much more. There’ll be carnivals, fairs and many fun programs, and fireworks during the evenings.
And just because Dubai is in the desert doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favourite winter sports. In the Mall of the Emirates there is a national skiing center. They provide all the equipment you’ll need to enjoy skiing and snowboarding.
- Check out offers on Groupon at the time of your visit. You might get some good discounts and take advantage of some promotions.
- Also, if you are planning a longish trip, download The Entertainer app, and leverage offers and discounts to eats, attractions and activities.
- Always check if the taxi’s meter is on before the journey begins to avoid being overcharged.
- Add the charges you pay towards your visit visa UAE to your travel budget.
If you do your homework right and work at it, you’ll find that you can travel Dubai on a budget. Just create a suitable budget beforehand, and be sure to allocate a margin for excess.
Read more about travels to and in Dubai at DubaiWikia.com
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Great blogpost! I’ve seen Neha’s work before and in this article she does a great job explaining how to do Dubai on a budget!
Thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, I thought so too! Her website is very informative as well on other topics in Dubai!
I travel to Dubai for work often, so these are great tips!
I have always wanted to go to Dubai, you are definitely a worldly traveler Lannie! I always enjoy following along your travels! Thanks so much!
This is so helpful because Dubai is definitely a challenging place for any budget! Thank you for the tips!
Thank you so much for reading! I know Dubai has been on my list for a long time.
I can imagine! That’s why it’s great to have some ideas for when I get a chance to go visit Dubai! Lol!
Some great tips ill be gaming forward for any Dubai trip
Yes! I know, I feel like I am ready to go already! Lol!
I’ve seen so many people visit Dubai lately that it got me very curious! These tips are very useful!
I know, I sure would love to visit Dubai! The places do look amazing and I can’t wait for my visit!!
These are also great photo op locations (that are free). Great insight!
I totally agree with you there! I know I have my list of places for when I get to Dubai!!
Very informative & useful!! I would not have known where to begin so this is fantastic!