Dubai is not synonymous with the word budget. Dubai is one of the most luxurious cities in the world and hence also one of the most expensive. Right from 7-star hotels to shopping malls selling luxurious brands, there is no dearth of opulence in Dubai. In such a situation, travelling to Dubai on a budget seems to be difficult. However, it is not impossible. By following certain tips, it is possible to travel in Dubai without wiping out your entire bank balance.
Flight tickets to Dubai can be expensive, especially during the peak holiday season, i.e. November to March. The best way to save some money is to book months in advance. You do not need to get a Dubai visa to book your tickets. In fact, you need to have confirmed flight tickets while applying for a visa. Popular airlines like Emirates and Etihad regularly offer deals and discounts on their website. Keep checking to find some great deals on Dubai flight tickets. One advantage of booking with these airlines is that the boarding pass of these airlines would give you great discounts and deals at some of the premium restaurants, spas, and stores of Dubai. On the other hand, there are several budget airlines that allow you to fly to this Emirate city on a cheaper flight ticket.
In a city that is home to hotels like Burj Al Arab (which is considered a 7-star hotel) and Hotel Atlantis, a budget-friendly hotel may seem far-fetched. However, there are several hotels in Dubai where you can enjoy a comfortable stay without spending too much money. Most budget hotels are located in Bur Dubai and Deira areas. It would be best to look for a hotel near the metro station, as it would make travelling easier. Some of these hotels include Zain East Hotel, Fortune Karama Hotel, etc. Dubai also has a few budget hostels, some of which are At The Top Hostel, Backpacker 16 Hostel, Backpackers Hostel, Backpacker Tina, etc. AirBnB and Couchsurfing are also becoming popular in the city.
Travelling within the city is a concern that most tourists have when travelling to a new city. When it comes to Dubai, taxis are considered cheap. However, with heavy traffic, especially during the peak hours, the rates can go high. Hence, it would be best to opt for the metro while travelling within the city. Dubai metro is not only efficient but also the easiest way to travel in the city. Even if there is no metro station near the attraction you want to visit, you can take a metro to the nearest metro station and take a cab or bus to reach the final destination. You can buy a red or silver NOL card to travel by metro. This card can be used for other public transportation, including buses, trams, and water taxis.
It is no surprise that Dubai is home to some of the fanciest restaurants in the world. Several Michelin-star chefs have a restaurant here. Apart from serving delicious food, these restaurants are also known for their unique ambience. However, this does not mean that you cannot enjoy a meal without going bankrupt. You would find several budget-friendly dining options in Bur Dubai and Deira. Restaurants serving Indian and Lebanese food are not only cheaper but also delicious. They are also a healthier option that the Western fast food. A shawarma is a good option for dinner when you want to save money and at the same time fill your stomach. Ravi Restaurant, Arz Lebanon, Delhi Darbar, Al-Ustad Special Kebab, etc. are some of the reasonably-priced restaurants here.
Dubai is a paradise for people who love sightseeing. There are numerous attractions to see and some of them are world-record holders. However, most of them like BurjKhalifa, Dubai Aquarium, Ski Dubai, etc. require you to buy an entry ticket. While you should not miss some of the important attractions of the city, you do not have to pay an exorbitant money to see the city of Dubai. In fact, there are several places in Dubai that you can do for low cost or even free.
Although a luxury shopping mall, Dubai Mall is a great place to roam around checking out the huge aquarium tank and various art pieces. It has 1200 retail stores as well, if you wish to do some retail therapy.
Right outside the Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain Show, where you would be able to enjoy a fantastic light and sound show without paying any money.
The oldest neighborhood in Dubai, the Bastakiya Quarter takes you back to the humble beginnings of this Emirate city. There are several museums here that you can visit for free.
Located inside the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum is the oldest and also the most important museum in the city. Here you get to know about the history, culture, and heritage of Dubai through some interesting exhibits.
If you are on a budget, you can look for a reasonably-priced desert safari tour package. Although you may not receive personalized service, you would be able to enjoy all the adventurous and entertaining activities of the desert safari.
The Dubai Creek has a deep historical significance, as it is here that the Arabs settled when they first moved to the city. To enjoy the views of both sides of the creek, take an abra ride for AED 1.
Dubai has more than 40 km of beach, and there are several public beaches that you can visit for free. Jumeirah Beach, Kite Beach, JBR Beach, etc. are some of the popular beaches where you can relax on the sand and enjoy some water sports.
Shopping in the malls of Dubai can be an expensive affair. However, it does not mean that you should return home without any souvenirs. Dubai is still home to some of the traditional souks, where you can buy anything from spices to gold jewelry. Gold Souk, Perfume Souk, and Spice Souk are located in Deira, while Textile Souk is in Bur Dubai. The best part about these souks is that you can bargain before purchasing anything, even at the Gold Souk. Some other places where you can indulge in budget-friendly shopping are Dubai Outlet Mall, Mercado, Dragon Mart, etc.
So you see, travelling in Dubai on a budget is possible if you know where to stay, what to eat, and what to see without over spending. However, make sure that you keep aside some money to see some of the most important attractions of Dubai, without which your Dubai holiday would be incomplete.