Oh wow, you are traveling to Dubai? But Dubai is so expensive! How can you afford this trip? These were first reactions from our friends, when we told them, we are traveling to Dubai. Isn’t it funny, how some destinations have a certain reputation of being expensive and that this is why some people don’t even bother to travel there? Luckily we like these kind of challenges and if someone says expensive, we want to prove them wrong.
Well, traveling to Dubai can be very expensive, you are right, but if you don’t have the budget and still wish to travel there, don’t give up to fast. We have traveled to Dubai on a budget and we loved it!
5 travel tips to do Dubai on a budget
1. Budget plane tickets to Dubai
Your first priority for traveling to Dubai on a budget is your plane ticket. If you can get this for a good price you are almost half way there. As we are based in Europe, Dubai is very well connected with two low budget airlines (Wizzair and FlyDubai), but a very affordable flights from Europe are operated by Alitalia, KLM, Airfrance, Emirates too. Follow the prices and as soon as you see a return plane ticket under 300 EUR, go for it!
2. Budget accommodations in Dubai
Traveling to Dubai on a budget has lots to do with accommodations too. We suggest you to find yourself a hotel somewhere in Al Barsha. You can already get a very nice looking room for 67 EUR and up (price for 2+1 person). There are even some very affordable apartments for 4 persons, which will cost you around 80€. Al Barsha is mostly great because it is very well connected with a metro and the hotels are modern. You get the most for your money here. (check hotels in Al Barsha here)
If you think Al Barsha is still too expensive for you, your best bet to do Dubai on a budget will be choosing Deira, the most traditional area of Dubai. That is also why low budget hotels are mostly older and not as nice as in Al Barsha. The price for a 2+1 room starts from 42 EUR. (check hotels in Deira here)
3. Public transport in Dubai
If you want to do Dubai on a budget you will need to use its city metro. Don’t panic – it is easy to handle and it is very modern and well organized. The best thing is, it is super cheap. A daily ticket will cost you only 14 AED, what is less than 3,50 EUR. If you want to go somewhere where metro line is not operating, your best choice is to take a taxi. Make sure the meter is on and avoid rush hours!
4. Budget Dubai tourist attractions
I guess you know that traveling to Dubai on a budget will not be possible without making some compromises. Tourist attractions in Dubai are pretty expensive, but hey, who said you have to see all of them, right! Just walking around Dubai’s shopping malls is out of this world.
To do Dubai on a budget, make sure you buy all your tickets for any tourist attractions in Dubai online as it will cost you less. But a must see tourist attractions is Burj Khalifa for sure. Reaching the first observation deck will cost you at least 35€/pp (the price depends of the hour). Luckily the fountain’s show, just underneath the Burj Khalifa, is free of charge – be there early to have good views.
A pretty affordable tourist attraction in Dubai is its aquarium (17€/pp) and botanical garden (7,50€/pp). If you want to visit the famous hotel Burj Al Arab, prepare yourself 90€/pp (that is how much one cocktail costs and that is also a rock bottom line to spend there). You will also need to be properly dressed for Burj Al Arab (especially in the evening) – men long trousers, women something as a cocktail dress or elegant trousers/skirt with a fancy blouse/top. A nice view towards Burj Al Arab can be seen from a public beach, where also bikinis are allowed. Swimming there is free of charge, what is a good option (including for the views of Burj Al Arab) if you are traveling to Dubai on a budget.
Another good tourist attraction to do Dubai on a budget is visiting its Deira fish market to get some local feel. Don’t even forget to visit some of the more touristy areas like golden market and spice bazaar. All markets are free of charge, what sure is great when planning to do Dubai on a budget. A nice spend time is also a drive over the Creek in an abra (traditional boat). One way ticket is only 1 AED (0,24€). If you like walking, make sure to visit Marina – a luxury neighborhood with fancy apartments and hotels. Stunning!
5. Budget food in Dubai
You can spend all your money just for food in Dubai, as there are many high-end restaurants there. The selection is amazing, but if you are traveling to Dubai on a budget you will soon have to forget about them. Luckily you can still eat good and on a budget – due to lots of foreign workers from India, Pakistan, Philippines etc., there are many restaurants where these workers eat. Find a good Indian place and eat like a king for few Euros only! If you want some snacks, buy everything in a grocery store, including water and soft drinks. Groceries even sell some food as take-away, which does not cost much and doesn’t taste bad either. If you want to do Dubai on a budget you will probably have to forget about alcohol, as it is only served in hotels and better restaurants. The price for a small beer start at 7€ (the price depends also from the hotel).
Traveling to Dubai on a budget means you will have to forget about panoramic helicopter rides, eating in fancy restaurants and partying all night long. But if you really want to visit Dubai, this should not be a problem if you know how to adapt. Believe us, Dubai is worth to make some compromises.
TIP: If you cannot say no to some adrenalin tourist attractions, eating in fancy restaurants and night life, make sure to check www.groupon.ae, for some discount coupons, which can save you money. With them you can explore Dubai on a budget, but still experience a lot.
*VISA: We did not need visa to travel to Dubai, but some nationalities need it, so do check it out if you are among them too.