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Dubai Budget Breakdown: Secrets to Luxe Travel Savings

Ever wondered if your wallet can keep up with Dubai's glitz? Let's unwrap the price tag of living large in the city that turns luxury into a sport!

Tobi Miles
October 7, 2022

Dubai has evolved over the years to become one of the world's most popular and prestigious tourist sites, enticing visitors from different parts of the world. Visitors can spend hours admiring modern and Arabic architecture, swimming with the dolphins, discovering the history and culture of the Emirates, or enjoying the beautiful view of the waterpark.

However, while planning your Dubai vacation, it is essential that you know what the trip will cost you and how to navigate these costs.

The average cost of a 7-day trip to Dubai is around $1,472 for a solo traveler. Couples can expect to spend up to $2,842 for a 7-day Dubai trip. This leaves us at an average cost of $210 per day. This amount includes food, accommodation, local transportation, sightseeing, and other related travel expenses. 

There's no denying that Dubai is relatively expensive to visit, but there are so many things to see and do that you'll not want to pass on any opportunity to visit. The remaining parts of this article cover everything you should know about the costs of visiting Dubai.

Average Cost Of A Trip To Dubai

Credit: Anna Fuster / Flickr

We often hear people refer to Dubai as the playground for the rich. But that's not exactly true, as just anybody can visit Dubai from any county. You just need proper budget planning to pull a Dubai vacation through. 

One of the first pieces of information you should know while preparing your budget is the average cost of a Dubai vacation. This information will help you plan your spending for your trip. 

That said, the average total cost of a Dubai vacation stands at about $2,426. A more detailed cost quote includes flight tickets and other travel expenses. Couples can expect to spend an average of $4,172, while a family of four will spend around $7,421 on their Dubai vacation. 

Again, remember that these costs will depend on where you're traveling from, your lifestyle, and several other factors. Don't worry; there are proven strategies to bring the overall costs down.

For example, renting a car in Deira, Dubai, which tends to be a somewhat expensive area, can be mitigated by booking early and planning ahead. Trust me, you'll want to rent a car when you go there. It'll allow you to see that many more places.

When Is The Cheapest Time Of The Year To Visit Dubai?

Credit: Nacho Pintos / Flickr

One of the biggest hacks to bringing the cost of your Dubai trip down is knowing when to travel. Like every other vacation location, Dubai has its peak travel seasons and other seasons when it doesn't get as many visitors. 

In the United States and parts of Europe, vacations are usually more expensive around summer and school holidays. However, the timeline is different in Dubai because of the steaming hot weather that comes with summer. 

Traveling between May and November may earn you discounts on hotels and flights. Many sightseeing locations will also either allow free entrance or charge a token to allow visitors to access tourism sites. 

However, note that the temperature will soar above 32°F during this period and can even reach 45°F around August.

So, you'll need to be clever when choosing your travel date. Many travelers will book their travel in May or November to allow them to enjoy fair weather and good deals.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Dubai

Travel Costs & Trip Breakdown

Now that you know the average cost of visiting Dubai, you're probably wondering how we arrived at this cost. Don't worry; here's an item-by-item review of everything contributing to this cost. Remember that a detailed understanding of these items will help you prepare a better budget and allocate funds where needed. 

1. Flight Costs 

Credit: lkarasawa / Flickr

Despite having one of the busiest airports in the world, Dubai is surprisingly still somewhat expensive to fly to. The cost of flight travels to Dubai will always vary, depending on the airline and flying locations.

After careful studies, we've found that a trip to Dubai from most North American airports will cost around $900. On the other hand, Europe is closer to Dubai than America, so a trip from most European countries, Asia, or Africa will be around $600 to $700. Flights from within the Middle East will be far cheaper than these. 

It's also important to add that Dubai is the hub for Emirates Airlines. So most Emirates flights will stopover in Dubai before moving on to your destination. In other words, your London-bound Emirates flight may stop over in Dubai for a few days.

You could use the few days to tour Dubai before moving on to your destination. While this does not necessarily reduce Dubai trip costs, most travelers find it a fascinating way to maximize their vacation plans.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Jordan

2. Accommodations

Credit: Chuckas_McFly / Flickr

Besides transportation, accommodations take the most significant chunk of travel expenses, irrespective of where you're traveling from. Your trip to Dubai won't be different. Like every other top city around the world, Dubai hotel costs vary.

There are plenty of luxurious hotels in the city, including the self-proclaimed 7-star Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel, which costs between $628 and $8,200 per night. Don't get scared if you want to travel on a budget; there are many cheaper options throughout the city. 

Traditionally, people tend to focus on location when picking hotels to stay in, but that shouldn't be a criterion when choosing a hotel in Dubai. Why? Because Dubai is pretty spread out, without the over-concentration of tourist sites or amenities in any location. However, different areas still feature different hotel costs. 

Some areas with more concentration of reasonably priced hotels include Dubai Internet City, Business Bay, and Al Barsha. Older neighborhoods like Deira feature relatively cheaper hotels and are still accessible from anywhere in Dubai. 

It's also important to note that you won't find traditional hostels in Dubai as in most parts of the world. Most available hostels are big apartments converted by their owners to make quick cash.

3. Intra-City Transportation

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You can easily move around the city of Dubai using the Dubai public transport network. The network efficiently and securely connects different parts of the city. Let's review the different options and their expected costs. 

  • Dubai Metro

Easily the most popular means of public transportation in Dubai. It features beautiful, driverless, automated trains and charges start from $0.95 to $2 per trip, depending on the zones covered. 

  • Dubai Tram

Although relatively new, this transportation mode is quickly gaining popularity because of its world-class services and ability to access the most important parts of Dubai. Dubai tram has a fixed price of $0.82, irrespective of the distance covered. So, it's an excellent option for tourists intending to travel on a budget. 

  • Public Bus

The public bus network is one of the cheapest transport options for public transportation in Dubai. It's a convenient mode of transport and covers nearly all the urban areas of Dubai. Costs begin from $0.54 per trip, depending on where you're going and the time. 

  • Taxis

Another popular option for tourists looking to move around is taxis. This option is available in nearly every part of the city and can access any area. Taxis in Dubai are typically quick and comfortable, although that comes at additional costs. Costs include:

  • Base fee (incl. 3.80 km) -  $3.27
  • Kilometer price - $0.50.
  • Chauffeur Services

Another popular option for tourists looking to move around is taxis. This option is available in nearly every part of the city and can access any area. Taxis in Dubai are typically quick and comfortable, although that comes at additional costs. Costs include:

An exquisite option for those who value comfort and personalized service, chauffeur services in Dubai offer a premium travel experience. These services are readily available across all parts of the city, ensuring that no destination is out of reach. While this option comes with a higher price tag, it offers exclusive benefits in terms of convenience and luxury. Pricing is as follows:

Hourly rate starting at $30 per hour, with a minimum service duration of 3 hours.
This arrangement is ideal for travelers who require reliable transportation for extended periods, whether for comprehensive city tours, business engagements, or simply to enjoy the day without the hassle of multiple transport modes.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Cairo

4. Food 

Credit: Person-with-No Name / Flickr

In Dubai, food costs always vary, depending on the food and where you choose to eat. However, food prices in Dubai restaurants are relatively costlier than food prices in most other cities. So, we typically advise budget travelers to eat most of their meals in cafes and low-budget restaurants.

On the other hand, if you want more upscale dining options, you can visit big restaurants spread around the city. The average cost of food in Dubai per person is around $40.82 per day.

5. Tours & Tourist Attractions 

Credit: Michael Panse / Flickr

What's a Dubai vacation without touring the city's beautiful landscapes and fascinating tour locations? Once you touch down in Dubai, you'd want to take tours, visit tourist attractions and enjoy wonderful experiences. 

There are so many things to see and do in Dubai that you'll hardly go a day without documenting a new experience in your travel journal. Thankfully, Dubai has so many free tourism sites that you can access at different times of the day. The city, on its own, is beautiful, so you can simply walk around while enjoying the beautiful sights it offers. 

Notwithstanding, there are also many locations that cost money. For example, climbing the top of Burj khalifa costs around $44, while a desert safari ride on a camel costs around $87. Whatever the case, inquire about the cost of touring your chosen location before booking. On average, you can expect to spend around $832 on tours and attractions during a 7-days stay in Dubai.

How To Save Money During Your Dubai Trip

Dubai is one of the hottest destinations on the planet right now. Everyone's going there, and you probably want to go too. But there's one important thing to take note of - it's a very expensive travel destination. We know how much toll a Dubai vacation can take on your finances, and we've invented tips you can use to save costs. 

1. Stay in A Budget Hotel

Credit: Dennis Sylvester Hurd / Flickr

We can't overemphasize this one. Dubai is known for having so many 7-star hotels and luxurious resorts. But you don't have to stay in these hotels if you can't afford them. So many simpler options still offer the basic amenities you'll need in a hotel. 

An important trick when looking for such hotels is to search by neighborhood. Don't just jump on the first option you see. Be patient during your search and compare prices and amenities. 

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Israel

2. Skip The Booze

Credit: Filipe Fortes / Flickr

We know how hard it is to go on a vacation and not party very hard, but avoiding alcohol is a fantastic way to save money in Dubai. Alcohol is quite expensive in this city, and a night of light drinking can cost you between $54.45 to $81.64. By avoiding alcohol, you'll be able to save a lot of money that you can easily spend on other essential things. 

3. Take The Metro

Credit: Jason Mrachina / Flickr

As we've pointed out earlier, the metro is one of the cheapest means of transportation in Dubai. Yes, taxis and ride-hailing services are usually the most comfortable and convenient, but they're also costly.

On the other hand, the metro allows you to get around the city on a budget. Add that to the fact that it offers you a fantastic view of the city and you can tell it's a win-win for you. 

4. Visit Spots With Free Entry

Credit: Rob Young / Flickr

Dubai may be an expensive city to visit, but it still has so many sites that allow free entry. A fantastic hack for saving money on your Dubai travel is to minimize the amount you'll spend on your regular outings.

Tons of beaches, historic sites, and clubs are available for free. So, depending on your preferred lifestyle, you can search for some of these locations and have maximum fun in them without paying to enter. 

5. Use Groupon To Find Good Deals When Possible

Groupon is pretty popular in Dubai. It's an exciting option to jump on if you want to save money on your Dubai trip. If you're patient and look well, you can find lots of unmatched deals here to take your Dubai travel experience to a new level. Cruises, dinners, even  trip to the zoo - You'll find a deal on Groupon!

6. Cook Your Meals 

Credit: gmacfadyen / Flickr

One of the best ways to save money when traveling in a group is to cook your meals. Whether you're traveling to Dubai with your family or with a group of friends, cooking your meal can be a lifesaver, especially if you're renting a hostel or a shared apartment. 

Take a walk to one of the many farmer's markets in Dubai, where you can buy everything you'll need for your cooking. You'll find almost everything you'll need for cooking in these markets. It might seem like you're saving only a few dollars, but these dollars may be what helps you do other things on your bucket list.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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