Dubai is known for having the biggest, tallest, most expensive x y and z. This Dubai Travel Guide covers everything you need to visit on a budget.
The most expensive cocktail, the most expensive pizza, the most expensive hotel suite, the tallest building etc etc etc….Dubai loves being the best at everything and anything. Known for it’s almost futuristic architecture, luxury lifestyle and miles upon miles of shopping malls, Dubai quickly became a popular destination for tourists around the world. A tour of Dubai is a must so you can see all the sights.
Budget: Apartment rentals slightly out of the city centre can cost around 100AED whilst dorms in hostels can cost between 70 – 130 AED.
Midrange: Private rooms in hostels cost around 200 – 350 AED whilst hotels in downtown will set you back between 400 – 500 AED.
Luxury: Luxury hotel rates in Dubai have no limit, a suite in the Burj Al Arab starts at 5525 AED whilst luxury hotels downtown cost around 700 – 1000 AED a night.
Transport: 1 AED for 10 trips on the Metro or 2 AED using a prepaid NOI card on the buses. Taxis cost around 50 AED for a 20-30 minute journey (or from downtown to Jumeriah.
Average cost of food:
Similar to hotel prices, food prices can massively vary.
Chain and fast food restaurants cost between 30 – 50 AED per person, local delicacies and eateries can cost as little as 10 AED whilst luxurious restaurants (especially those in hotels) can be anything from 300 + AED.
This complete Dubai guide for all budgets is super helpful!
Best time to visit Dubai
Dubai is a popular travel destination all year round and is often used as a stopover. However, there are certain times of the year that are better to visit than others.
For beautiful weather, the best time to visit Dubai is from November to April. This is high season so expected higher prices and crowds but you can also enjoy the clear blue skies and pleasant warm wind.
The Shoulder season is also a great time to visit Dubai – May, September and October. Temperatures are getting warmer and the sea is warm enough to swim in but there aren’t as many tourists.
June to august is extremely hot and humid but hotels run special deals and reduced rates.
Where to stay in Dubai
At the Top Hostel offers a great location with great views and dorms cost 110 AED a night or 270 AED for private rooms.
With a rooftop pool offering gorgeous views of the Burj Khalifa, Rove Downtown is a great option for those wanting to be in the centre of things but not break the bank; rooms start at 370 AED.
The Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel offer rooms from 320 AED a night and is located in the Jumeriah area.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Shangri-la Hotel in the downtown area – our Burj Khalifa view was stunning. Rooms with a Burj view start at 900 AED a night.
If you are looking to splurge, why not check out the Resort One&Only The Palm Dubai with rooms starting at 3825 AED a night.
Save money in Dubai
Dubai can be expensive but there are many ways you can save money here too.
- Travel off-season – As we mentioned before, you can save some money by visiting Dubai during the summer months. Hotels offer reduced rates but plan your days carefully, avoiding too many outdoor attractions in one day.
- Use Public Transport – The Dubai Metro covers the main areas in Dubai and can get you to and from the airport as well as popular tourists sites. This works out much cheaper than taxis.
- Use Groupon – Groupon is very popular in Dubai, so browse the discounted deals and 2-for-1 specials on the website.
- The Entertainer – The Entertainer magazine offers discounts and specials on hotels and restaurants in the UAE. Locals and expats use this so pick up a copy at supermarkets and bookstores in Dubai to save some money at attractions, theme parks, hotels, restaurants, drinks and even clubs. This is ideal for those moving to Dubai.
- Budget hotels – Dubai is known for its luxury hotels but there are plenty of budget hotels on the outskirts of the city centre. Save money by staying here and using the metro line to get in and out of the city.
- Budget meals – There are some great restaurants around Dubai but sticking to the local food will help you save money. You can also use the chain restaurants such as Nandos, to save money.
- Hole-in-the-wall cafes – Head to the Karama, Deira and Bur Dubai neighbourhoods for cheap cafes and eateries, with food as little as 10AED.
- Book online – If you plan on visiting attractions such as the theme parks, Dubai Miracle Gardens or the Burj Khalifa, make sure you book your tickets in advance online. This way you can save some money and time.
- Free attractions – There are free experiences to be had in Dubai, such as the public beaches or the Dubai Fountain.
Best things to do in Dubai
Aquaventure and Atlantis The Palm
Yellow Boat Tours
Dubai Miracle Garden
The Dubai Mall
Burj Al Arab
The Gold Souk
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
How to get to Dubai
Fly – Emirates airline is the main route people take to fly in and out of Dubai. They have an extensive network of routes around the world, making Dubai a great option for a stopover.
You can get a bus, taxi or even boat from neighbouring emirates and it can often work out cheaper to fly to nearby airports such as Sharjah then catch a taxi over to Dubai.
How to get around Dubai
Taxi’s are everywhere and roads are vast, so you rarely get stuck in traffic.
The Metro is a great choice to get across the city whilst buses can help get you to places further afield.
Private cars are easy to arrange via your hotel or online; particularly helpful when planning trips to the desert or to a neighbouring emirate.
There are also many boat options that can help you explore the harbour and city via the waterways; we particularly enjoyed the Yellow Boat Tour Company.