Dubai is quite expensive and I’ve often cast it aside as an option for a backpack trip as a result. In this guest post, Dubai Wikia divulge their best food, entertainment, accommodation and general travel advice for a Dubai budget trip …
Most people save up to visit Dubai and then splurge on its glamorous offerings. Still, the attractions remain the same and the activities remain the same. Backpackers around the world ask if it it’s possible to do Dubai on less and we say, “yes”. Dubai may be one of the least backpacking-friendly countries on offer, but if you look hard, you’ll find plenty of budget options for stay, transport and attractions. We’re here to show you how to visit Dubai on a budget and come out smelling of roses. So come and join us on a Dubai budget trip now!
Some Quick Tips for a Dubai Budget Trip
While activities remain expensive in Dubai, we urge you to follow our tips to cut costs wherever possible and enjoy Dubai to the utmost.
- Health Insurance: Hold on to valid travel insurance while you’re travelling in Dubai, because in Dubai, health care is private. Without health insurance, you’ll end up spending thousands of dollars on a simple illness.
- Grab Entertainer Discounts: The Entertainer is a voucher book that offers an endless series of discounts and coupons that you can use to cut the bills at hundreds of restaurants, attractions and bars. The discounts offered in the Entertainer are valid for a year, January to December, and are usually 2 for 1. The Entertainer is available in physical book format and in an eBook format too, to help you enjoy Dubai on a budget.
- Groupon Dubai: The Entertainer is a great option if you’re going to be living in Dubai for a few months with a bunch of people. Get hold of a copy for the current year. If your stay is only for a day or two, go for Groupon instead of the Entertainer. Groupon offers discounts and coupons for activities, restaurants and much more, and is much cheaper to buy than the Entertainer. A perfect tool to visit Dubai cheap.
- Read the Local Newspapers: Before travelling to Dubai, check out the online versions of Time Out Dubai and What’s On Dubai for cheap and free events. When you get to Dubai, be sure to buy these papers each day and use the discounts.
Check Out Free Things to Do in Dubai
Yes! There are places to visit for free in Dubai too. Check out these Dubai on a budget options!
- Explore Bur Dubai: Explore the spice souqs of Bur Dubai, which you can smell from a great distance. Close to Bur Dubai is the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood, where you’ll find that the ancient houses are made out of coral from the ocean.
- Cross the Dubai Creek: It takes just 1 AED (around 20p!) to cross the Dubai Creek on a wooden vessel called the Abra. This old handmade wooden vessel has a fishtail carved out of wood at one end. Cross to the other side from Bur Dubai, to Deira, where you’ll find a number of gold souqs. Feast your eyes on the magnificent displays of gold and bargain to your heart’s content. Check out the biggest ring in the world at one of the stores!
- Visit the Hindu Temple: The Shiva and Krishna Mandir is the only Hindu temple in Dubai, located in the Al Fahidi area. Visit it on Fridays around noon when devotees bring their offerings to the temple.
- Explore Dubai Marina: This area is home to some of Dubai’s tallest skyscrapers, which are all extremely grand and totally free to see. Wonder at the fancy yachts moored along the 8 kilometre long waterfront. There’s also a mosque built on the marina that’s worth a look-see.
- Explore Jumeirah Beach Residence: The JBR Walk as it is called is totally free and a great pleasure. Located right next to the beach, JBR is next to Dubai Marina, and is a promenade similar to the one in Santa Monica. Enjoy checking out the uber rich’s uber luxury cars, and their camels, wild animal pets and more. There are clean toilets, there’s the beach, and free Wi-Fi for you to enjoy.
- Enjoy Watching the Burj Khalifa: There are many paths and boulevards set behind the Burj Khalifa that are meant for people to walk. Browse these paths and enjoy the most stunning views of this stupendous building and the Dubai Fountain that’s set exactly opposite.
- Explore Souq Madinat: This is the reproduction of a traditional Arab souq, opulently built. Feast your eyes on fountains where water spouts from the mouths of giant turtles. From this place, you can enjoy fabulous views of the Burj Al-Arab.
Best Budget Stays for Travellers in Dubai
- At The Top Hostel: This hostel is the best option for your Dubai trip on a budget. It’s located at the Dubai Marina. It’s a 66 floor apartment building with several dorms.
- Backpacker 16 Hostel: Located in Tecom, an area that’s well connected to the bus stops and the metro, and cheaper than the first option.
- Backpackers Hostel: One of the first ever budget hostels in Dubai, this one is located in Al Karama, close to Old Dubai and Deira.
- Avari Hotel Apartment: This one has apartment rooms that can take up to 4 people. This place is located in Al-Barsha, next to the Mall of the Emirates.
- Moon Valley Hotel Apartments: This one is located in Bur Dubai and is a cheap hotel.
- Jannah Marina Bay Suites: Located close to JBR, this mid-range hostel is cheap enough to enjoy easy holidays in Dubai.
- Couchsurfing: If Couchsurfing is an option for you, then be sure to attend the Couchsurfing meet-up at the Italian Coffee Shop, Hotel Crown Plaza in Downtown Dubai on Tuesdays at 8 pm.
- Airbnb: Check out Airbnb offers and compare the prices for different locations in Dubai. Always book a place that’s closer to the metro so you don’t waste money on taxis.
Save Money on Food Whilst in Dubai
- Eat at mall food courts; eating out in Dubai on a budget is achievable! You’ll get a reasonably good meal and it’ll be much cheaper than what you get in hotels.
- Look up The Entertainer for good hotels that offer cheap meals (50-60 AED) per meal. You’ll definitely find more than a few.
- Download Guzzle App for great discounts on drinks – you won’t regret it! Also check out happy hour at bars and also Ladies nights to score some cheap and even free drinks.
It’s hard to compute what a daily budget outlay will be per person in Dubai, because of the huge range of prices for tourism and food. Opting for a visit visa in Dubai is an extremely easy and pocket friendly process. Dubai, expenses wise, also has a range of offerings – from economical backpackers to luxury travellers. If you’re travelling alone, or with a companion, we recommend that you use the Entertainer or Groupon publications to figure out your costs before you leave for Dubai. It’ll work out that much cheaper for you.