7 Simple Tips for Dubai Vacation on Budget

  • UPDATED Nov 12, 2018
Dubai City
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Dubai is the city of 7-star hotels, ultra-modern skyscrapers, glitzy shopping malls, and exuberant nightlife. It is hard for any budget-traveller to find places in this city that save one from pinching pennies. You must be wondering now - is Dubai cheap to travel or not? The answer is yes, but only if you know how to plan it perfectly. And that is why we are here for you! This blog will give you some much-needed Dubai travel tips that help you cut corners. I bet, you will start planning Dubai trip after reading this!

1. Plan in advance to travel cheap

Dubai City At Night
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Travelling to Dubai and travelling within Dubai, both the things are a bit tricky. It is always recommended to book your flight to Dubai tickets at least a couple of months before. If you want to book any of the cheap flights to Dubai, then first, subscribe to the newsletters from different airlines so that you will know when these airlines are running promotions and offering any deals. Be flexible about your travelling dates as most of the weekend flights to Dubai are expensive compared to the weekday flights.

Once you reach the city, you will find different modes of transportation in Dubai that are cheap and are great for budget-travellers. Most of the public transport in Dubai excellently connects all the parts of the city. From metros, buses, trams, taxis to even water taxis, there are many options to choose from. When you are on a vacation in Dubai, you can use a couple of tricks to save money while commuting. Use Dubai metro pass that starts from as low as 14 AED. you can also opt for Nol card as with this single card you can pay for the use of different RTA transport modes in Dubai.

2. Homestays and hostels well within your budget

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Dubai is home to a plethora of hotels and is dotted with different types of accommodations. But, not all the areas offer cheap hotels in Dubai. If you are planning to visit Dubai during summers, you will find that most of the places offer great discounts as it is the best time to visit Dubai on a budget. But, scorching heat might make it hard for you to explore the city. You can stay in areas like Al Barsha and Bur Dubai. It has a perfect combination of budget hotels and hostels.

Another way to save some bucks on accommodation is to rent out an apartment. If you are travelling to Dubai in a group, booking a homestay or share an apartment is the cheapest way. If you choose a place that is a little away from shopping and entertainment areas, then the rates drop lower. Hostels and dorm usually start from 100 AED and offer basic lodging amenities. You will have plenty of options to choose from according to your budget.

3. Good food without burning a hole in your pocket

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Dubai is a paradise for foodies. From charming cafes, elegant bistros, fine-dining restaurants, to lively pubs and bars, it has something for every type of traveller. But, this Dubai travel guide will tell you how you can stick to your food budget and still satiate your hunger. The simplest way to save money on food in Dubai is to have a heavy breakfast at a hotel you are staying, pamper your taste buds with lip-smacking street food in the afternoon, and find a restaurant that is offering discounts on dinner. Using websites or mobile applications can come in handy when you are searching for affordable restaurants in Dubai.

If you are staying in an apartment, then try to cook your own meals. Shop at local grocery stores and refill your supplies if necessary. Making a simple salad or sandwich in the morning will hardly take any time and will keep you energized for hours. But, that does not mean you should not eat out at all. Choose a place that is preferred by locals and try to avoid ordering alcohol. Drinks in Dubai are expensive as many restaurants charge more than 35 AED for a pint of beer. Keep your eye on happy hours, ladies’ night or gents’ night and make the most out of it.

4. No need to spend a fortune on sightseeing


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When you are planning a budget trip to Dubai and still want to soak in the local flavour, there are some of the things you can do to have a wholesome experience. There are several free things to do in Dubai and numerous places you can visit by paying a nominal entry fee. You should not miss exploring Dubai Aquarium. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai and it is free! Take a leisurely stroll at Jumeirah Beach in the morning, laze around on Kite Beach, and admire the perfectly choreographed Dubai Fountain in the evening.

There are many art galleries and museums in Dubai that do charge an entry fee that is next to nothing. Visit these places to understand the fascinating art, culture, history of the city. This Dubai travel guide will help you discover lesser-known places as well. Do not forget to explore spice souk and gold souk in Dubai that attract millions of travellers throughout the year. Watch camel racing and have fun in the desert. How can you miss the famous Burj Khalifa light show?  These free family-friendly activities in Dubai will make your trip memorable!

5. Cheap adventure sports in Dubai

Adventure Sports in Dubai
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Now you must be wondering how you can get an adrenaline rush while travelling to Dubai on a budget. There is a way, my friends, that will satisfy the adventure junkie in you. There are outdoor activities like hiking and desert camping that are cheaper. But, most of the other adventure activities in Dubai are expensive. The key to experiencing enthralling things like sand-boarding, dune-bashing and off-roading is to negotiate. Yes, you heard that right! You can get cheaper rates at some places if you try negotiating. If you are booking an activity for a group, then that’s an added benefit.

Another way to get your heart pumping while visiting Dubai on a budget is to keep an eye on official websites. The centers that offer such adventure activities sometimes offer discounted rates and deals. They mostly declare these schemes on their websites. You can also opt for Dubai adventure tour packages that will allow you to combine a couple of different activities at a cheaper rate.

6. Go on a budget shopping spree


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Dubai’s shopping malls are not all glitz and glamour. There are many places in and around the city that are perfect for budget shopping in Dubai. Are you looking for malls where you will find everything from clothes, jewellery, handbags, cosmetics, to electronic gadgets and home decor under one roof? Then go to Dragon Mart or Dubai Outlet Mall. Though these places are a little away from the center of the city, a trip to these malls will be worth travelling.

If you want to wander around and be a part of the local canvas, then areas like Al Karama are ideal for you. Consider visiting souks (local markets) in Deira and Bur Dubai neighbourhood. These are the places where you can buy handmade items and souvenirs well within in your budget. Take a walk on vibrant, picturesque road adorned with shops and fall in love with the charm of Dubai. When you are shopping in Dubai on budget, never purchase a thing without bargaining here.  

7. Experience the combination of unique and quirky nightlife

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How can you resist the temptation of bustling nightlife in Dubai after you have heard a lot about it already? The answer is, you cannot. There are ways to be a part of this lively atmosphere even when you are doing a cheap Dubai vacation. Tuesdays are mostly ladies’ nights and some clubs may offer free couple entry as well. Search for these places and plan your night accordingly. Avoid club-hopping and stick to any one place to save money on alcohol in Dubai. There are several bars in Deira area that are usually preferred by locals for cheap drinking.

Another one of Dubai travel tips is to head to shopping malls in the evening. Most of these centers organize live performances and music shows that you can enjoy without spending any money. Even though local markets are open from early morning, these become robust hubs of nightlife after the sun sets. It may not include alcohol, but it still is a great way to spend your night in Dubai.

Now, explore Dubai without worrying about your budget and have an unforgettable vacation!

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