How to Travel to Dubai on a Budget

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Travelling to Dubai on a budget – are we kidding? No, we aren’t. Dubai is a large cosmopolitan city well known for its luxury accommodations, expensive attractions and 5-star restaurants.

It’s a well-known fact that Dubai is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world.

So what gives? How do we say that you can budget travel to Dubai?

Dubai Aquarium

Here’s why – you can enjoy one of the world’s most glamorous cities on a budget if you follow the guidelines in our travel guide.

So do it. Travel Dubai on a budget and prove your doubting friends wrong, once and for all.

Fix Your Budget Plane Tickets

Out of all the expenditure you’ll face when you travel to Dubai on a budget, your plane tickets will be the highest.

Get hold of budget plane tickets on priority and you’re half way there.

Dubai is well connected throughout the world via multiple airlines and it’s possible to get discounted rates on most of them.

 However, UAE airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, Wizzair and Fly Dubai offer discounts for tourists regularly.

You can leverage great deals if you keep an eye on the going rates on these airlines. When you get return tickets under 300 EUR, go for it.

Finalize Your Budget Stays

Dubai is famous for its 5-star accommodations and its grand hotels.

But did you know that Dubai has excellent hostels that offer dormitories and rooms at economical rates?

Did you also know that you can share rent on an apartment and save money?

Plus, there are great Airbnb, home stay and couch surfing options that are available too.

The best economical stays can be found at Al Barsha and other locations in Downtown Dubai.

Al Barsha is well-connected via Metro routes; the hostels and hotels are clean and well-maintained.

Explore stay options at Deira as well, where you can find older, low budget hotels.

Evaluate Budget Transport Options

Once you’ve taken care of your plane tickets and your accommodations, you know roughly how much you’re going to be spending.

Use the city Metro services – it works out the cheapest.

A day’s ticket will cost you only 14 AED.

If you plan on staying in Dubai for a few days, we recommend purchasing the Silver Metro No l card, which helps you save money and travel on any Metro line in Dubai for the duration.

Avoid the taxi cab, unless you’re traveling to a place not serviced by the Metro.

When you hire a taxi, be sure that the meter is on or you’ll be charged atrociously.

You can also travel via buses, tram and water taxis.

If you like, you can take advantage of the rental bike scheme, which allows you to rent bikes for 30 minutes at a time for 15 Durhams.

Find Cheap or Free Attractions

If you want to stick to your budget, you can forget about enjoying attractions that charge huge fees.

Budget travel means making compromises with regard to what you can enjoy.

Dubai Fountain

However, Dubai is rife with several incredible attractions that are either completely free or cheap.

Tip: Pick up tickets online for the attractions you want to enjoy – you’ll save money that way.

My Personal Favourite is Laguna Water Park: This fantastic water park is located at Dubai’s newest beachfront neighbourhood, La Mer. At Laguna Water Park, you can surf on WaveOz180, one of the few man made surfing lagoons in the world.

The water park also contains plenty of water slides and rides, access to pristine beaches, tons of shopping, eateries and much more. Entry is fairly cheap, at AED 99. You’ll have to pay additionally for the slides, of course.  

Budget Eating Options 

Dubai has a number of high-end restaurants, many of them run by Michelin-starred chefs.

You can spend all your money just on 3 meals a day if you don’t watch out.

However, you can still eat well on a budget, by voiding the big name hotels.

There are many workers in India from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other countries. They all hit the home-style restaurants in Old Dubai and Downtown Dubai.

They also enjoy cheap food from mall eateries, and the many food stalls and food trucks that can be found everywhere.  

Don’t buy snacks at malls – just pick up nuts at the wholesale markets in Bur Dubai. Or pick up packaged snacks at grocery stores.

You can even buy some take-away food from grocery stores. Alcohol is expensive at bars and hotels, so best not to drink there.  

Tip: If you must have alcohol, purchase your drinks when you arrive from the duty-free stores at the Dubai International Airport. You don’t require a licence to purchase alcohol at the airport. Stock up for your trip and you can save lots of money on drinks.  

Check out the following restaurants for filling, cheap food.  

1.Ravi Restaurant in Al Satwa; serves Indian and Pakistani cuisine 

2 .Zaatar Z Weit and Zaroob; serve Middle Eastern and Lebanese cuisine

3. Shetty Lunch Home Restaurant; serves North Indian, Chinese and Seafood at economical prices


Purchasing souvenirs can be an expensive deal, so budget your expense and shop at Karama Market and Dubai Heritage Village. Dubai is an expensive city, but if you do your research right, you’ll see that this city is easily one of the most economical to travel. 

About the Author

Neha Singh – An avid trekker, explorer and a true foodie; Neha finds happiness in small endeavours of life and loves to pen them down as a cherished memory. A firm believer that “we have just one life to live and so much to do”, Neha lives every moment to the fullest.

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