Dubai is a sparkling oasis in the desert filled with rich hotels, huge shopping malls, and expensive attractions. From the majestic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, to the huge Dubai Mall, the largest retail mall, this city is a playground for the affluent and famous. But, let’s face it, not everyone can afford to live the extravagant lifestyle that Dubai is known for.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the fun. It is feasible to travel in Dubai on a budget and enjoy everything the city has to offer. You can enjoy a luxurious and amazing trip with a little planning and some insider suggestions.
Continue reading this blog post to learn how to find cheaper alternatives for everything from transportation to accommodation and activities and travel to Dubai on a budget. Don’t be put off by Dubai’s exorbitant price tag – with some careful planning, you can enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer without breaking the bank.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, The Travel Bunny will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you!
How much should I budget for a trip to Dubai?
A precise budget for a vacation to Dubai is impossible to provide because it will rely on your spending habits as well as the length of your stay. Here are some broad estimations to think about:
Accommodation prices in Dubai may range from roughly $50 per night for cheap hotels to over $500 per night for premium resorts. If you want to save money, try staying in a low-cost hotel or hostel, or use a website like Airbnb to discover a less expensive place to stay. An Airbnb alternative Dubai is Booking.com.
In general, food in Dubai is quite pricey, especially in tourist regions. An inexpensive dinner at a local eatery will cost you roughly $10-$15, while a sit-down restaurant or tourist trap will cost you more. Consider dining at local markets or street food booths to save money on food, which is generally significantly cheaper than sit-down restaurants.
The cost of transportation in Dubai is determined by the kind of transportation used. With costs starting at roughly $0.50 for each journey, the Dubai Metro is an inexpensive and handy choice. Taxis are likewise reasonably priced, with rates beginning at about $3.50. If you intend on doing a lot of touring, consider obtaining a City Pass.
Activities in Dubai range in price from free experiences such as visiting parks and beaches to more pricey attractions such as theme parks and desert safaris. Consider checking for deals or getting a City Pass, which includes cheap access to a range of attractions, to save money on activities.
It’s doable to plan a budget trip to Dubai, but it will need some careful preparation and the discovery of less expensive choices for lodging, transportation, and activities. Plan a Dubai trip budget of $50-$100 per day per person to cover these expenses, depending on your particular spending patterns and the length of your vacation.
Can you enjoy Dubai on a budget?
It’s possible to enjoy Dubai on a budget by making wise decisions about your hotel, transportation, and activities. You can easily plan a wonderful Dubai budget itinerary if you choose cheaper alternatives and are careful of your spending habits. With a little forethought, you can enjoy everything the city has to offer without breaking the budget.
Word of caution about health care in Dubai
It’s essential to be aware that healthcare in Dubai can be very expensive if you are traveling there without health insurance. If you don’t have travel medical insurance, you’ll have to pay everything out of pocket and medical care in Dubai can be rather expensive compared to what you might be used to spending back home. This can range from a routine doctor’s appointment to serious surgery.
If you don’t have health insurance and want to travel in Dubai on a budget, you should be ready for potentially expensive medical expenses. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, such as saving extra money or travel insurance, to make sure you can afford any medical care you might require while traveling. Be ready and remain safe to prevent a medical emergency from ruining your trip.
I say look no further than SafetyWing! Their travel insurance options offer peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected medical emergencies or other travel-related issues. And with coverage available for trips of all lengths, you can choose the plan that best fits your needs.
Things to do in Dubai on a budget
In terms of things to do on a budget in Dubai, there’s no shortage of options. There are several free and inexpensive choices, ranging from visiting parks and beaches to visiting the Dubai Museum. Simply walking about the city might be one of the finest ways to save money on activities. So put on some comfy shoes and head out for a tour of this city with lots of sights and noises to experience!
Consider obtaining a Dubai City Pass if you’re searching for more structured activities. Discounted access is available with this card to several attractions, including amusement parks, museums, and cultural events. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the best things to do in Dubai on a budget.
To save even more money on activities, you should also keep an eye out for sales and discounts. Look for bargains as many attractions in Dubai run specials or discounts at specific times of the year. Also, think about traveling to Dubai in the off-season when costs for attractions and accommodation are sometimes lower.
You can take advantage of everything Dubai has to offer without going over budget by using these suggestions. However, here are a few suggestions if you’re seeking specific things to do in Dubai on a budget:
The oldest standing structure in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort, is where you’ll find the Dubai Museum. It was constructed in 1787. The museum provides a window into the vibrant history and culture of the city, with displays illustrating both traditional Emirati life and the city’s development into a contemporary metropolis.
The museum’s features include a typical Emirati home that provides a glimpse at the local way of life in Dubai and a collection of antique musical instruments. A portion of the museum dedicated to the marine history of the city features exhibitions of vintage sailing ships and gear for pearl digging.
The Dubai Museum offers a variety of interactive displays in addition to its historical exhibitions, including a virtual reality experience that lets visitors explore the city’s past and present.
Camel racing is an event you won’t want to miss if you want to learn about the distinctive culture of the United Arab Emirates. Although these obnoxious animals aren’t as elegant as horses, it’s amusing to watch them race because of how quickly they can move.
From November to March, camel races are held on Fridays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Dubai Camel Racing Club, a cutting-edge venue that hosts some of the world’s best camel racing. They’re free to watch, so why not add them to your Dubai budget itinerary?
Bur Dubai and Deira Souqs
Make sure to include the souqs in Bur Dubai and Deira in your Dubai budget itinerary. For anybody interested in getting a sense of the local way of life and the vibe of the city, visiting these crowded markets is a must.
In Bur Dubai, you should go for a stroll around the Gold Souq, Spice Souq, and Textile Souqs while taking in the lively environment and haggling for trinkets and regional items. The souqs are a fantastic location to gain a sense of the city and engage with local business owners.
You can visit other souqs in Deira, across Dubai Creek. While admiring the stunning black coral architecture of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, snap a photo in front of the store window that displays the largest ring in the entire globe. Spend just one AED to cross the creek, and the rest of your time in Deira is free to explore the souqs and take in the ambiance of this animated neighborhood. Not too shabby for a budget trip to Dubai!
If you enjoy horse racing, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to observe this local sport in Dubai. In the UAE, horse racing is a well-liked hobby that is open to everyone. Meydan, a modern racetrack in the center of Dubai, is the ideal venue to watch races.
From November to March, races are held on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. This is the ideal time to people watch and catch a glimpse of some of the city’s most opulent individuals in their designer outfits and expensive vehicles. With several restaurants and bars on-site, Meydan is also an excellent spot to unwind and take in the scene on your budget trip to Dubai.
This authentic Arab souk, which lies in the center of the city, is a lively and evocative location to shop, eat, and explore during your Dubai budget trip.
Souq Madinat, which was constructed to resemble an antique market, is a great area to roam about and look for hidden gems. Along with several stores, eateries, and cafés, the souq is also home to stunning fountains that are home to enormous turtles. Free of charge, you are welcome to take a stroll through the souq and take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of this distinctive bazaar.
Souq Madinat has some of the city’s greatest views. From here you can admire one of Dubai’s most recognizable landmarks: the majestic Burj Al-Arab hotel with its sail-like design.
Dubai Marina’s a wonderful and lively area to explore with its gorgeous buildings and elegant boats parked along the waterfront, and walking or biking the 8 km length of the harbor is one of the greatest ways to explore it. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and luxury yachts of the region at your speed while also admiring the stunning architecture.
Along with the marina itself, two mosques on either side are interesting to explore. These exquisite and elaborate buildings are open to the public and provide a window into the neighborhood’s culture and religion.
Jumeirah Beach Residence walk
Both residents and tourists enjoy visiting the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). This district, which is close to the Dubai Marina, is well-known for its opulent structures, charming wall paintings, and stunning beachside setting.
A lovely stroll along the coastline is among JBR’s greatest activities. In this area, you’ll find people of all ages taking in the beauty, bringing along their domestic and exotic pets, and even the occasional camel. The Jumeirah Beach Boardwalk is a well-maintained space, with plenty of benches to sit on, free Wi-Fi, and clean restrooms.
JBR also offers a variety of dining establishments, cafés, and stores in addition to the beachfront. There’s something for everyone in this active and energetic district, whether you’re seeking for a bite to eat, a memento, or just want to take it all in.
The Burj Khalifa Boardwalk
For everyone traveling to Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest structure, is a must-see. There is another way to take in the majesty of this famous structure besides paying a king’s ransom to ascend to the viewing deck: the Burj Khalifa Boardwalk.
Located at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa, the boardwalk is a free promenade that travels around the structure. You will get lovely views of the structure and its surroundings from this location. The boardwalk is an excellent location for taking pictures and enjoying the ambiance of this famous building.
In addition to the vistas, the Dubai Fountain, a magnificent water and light display can be seen at the Burj Khalifa Boardwalk. Performances take place every 30 minutes after 6:00 PM. The free fountain show is a wonderful way to cap off a day spent touring Dubai.
Parks in Dubai
There are several lovely parks in Dubai to get some peace and quiet and escape the noise of the city. They include a variety of attractions, such as kid-friendly playgrounds, walking, and biking routes, and picnic spots. Some of the most beautiful Dubai parks are:
- Dubai Creek Park is a well-liked location for picnics and family trips and is situated right in the middle of the city. A cable car, a kids’ play area, and a model railway are just a few of the park’s offerings.
- Zabeel Park is located in the city center. It has a children’s amusement park, a water park, and a variety of sports facilities. There are also restaurants and cafés here, as well as a market where tourists can shop for souvenirs and presents.
- Safa Park is a well-liked location for outdoor activities and picnics because it is situated right in the middle of the city. A lake, walking, and cycling pathways, and a playground are just a few of the park’s facilities.
- Al Mamzar Beach Park is a coastal park in the Deira neighborhood that offers a variety of activities like picnic spots, kid’s play areas, and athletic fields. This Dubai park is an excellent place for swimming and sunbathing because it also offers a lengthy stretch of sandy beach.
- Al Ittihad Park is another spot with a variety of attractions, including walking and cycling paths, picnic spots, and playgrounds for kids, also in the Deira district. It’s a wonderful choice for nature lovers because it also harbors a variety of birds and other creatures.
Go explore and you’ll quickly discover that the parks in Dubai are wonderful spots to unwind and take in the beauty of the city’s natural landscape.
With so many beautiful beaches in Dubai, travelers can escape the city’s hectic pace and rest by the water. These beaches feature facilities including sun loungers, umbrellas, and showers, and many are close to cafés and restaurants. Some of the most popular beaches in Dubai are:
- Jumeirah Beach is ideal for swimming, tanning, and water sports and is situated right in the middle of the city. Along with many restaurants and cafés, the beach offers a variety of facilities including sun loungers and umbrellas.
- Kite Beach is a popular location for kiteboarding and other water activities, Kite Beach is situated in the Jumeirah district. Along with many restaurants and cafés, this beach in Dubai offers a variety of facilities including sun loungers and umbrellas.
- Umm Suqeim Beach is another location that’s great for swimming and tanning. It’s located in the Jumeirah area. Along with many restaurants and cafés, the beach offers a variety of facilities including sun loungers and umbrellas.
- Black Palace Beach offers a more private beach experience, in the hidden area of the Palm Jumeirah community. Along with many restaurants and cafés, the beach offers a variety of facilities including sun loungers and umbrellas.
- The Beach at JBR is located in the Jumeirah Beach Residence neighborhood, and it’s popular with both visitors and locals. It has several restaurants, cafés, and shops and offers activities such as beach volleyball, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
The beaches in Dubai provide an opportunity to get away from the busy city and relax by the sea. These Dubai beaches are a terrific spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of the city’s coastline, with crystal-clear seas, smooth white sands, and a variety of services. There is a beach in Dubai to suit every taste, whether you want to soak up the sun, participate in water sports, or simply rest with a book, so they’re a great choice for your budget trip to Dubai.
How to stay in Dubai cheaply
If you’re curious about where to stay in Dubai on a budget, you’ll be happy to know there are several alternatives for tourists trying to save money on accommodation, from low-cost hotels and hostels to Airbnb rentals and serviced apartments. Below, we’ll examine the best strategies for staying in Dubai on a budget while still enjoying yourself, no matter if you’re traveling to this desert metropolis for work or pleasure.
In Dubai, several inexpensive hostels provide tourists on a budget with comfortable lodging. At The Top Hostel, Moon Valley Hotel Apartments, Backpacker 16 Hostel, Backpackers Hostel, Avari Hotel Apartment, and Jannah Marina Bay Suites are a few of the top hostels in Dubai. These backpacker hostels in Dubai are a wonderful choice for tourists wishing to save money on lodging since they provide a variety of facilities at a cheaper cost than conventional hotels.
Use a site like HostelWorld.com to locate the top hostels in Dubai and compare their offerings in terms of pricing and location. You can use this website to look for hostels in Dubai and compare their costs, locations, and features. Make sure to think about a hostel’s location and nearby attractions before booking your stay for your Dubai budget trip.
In Dubai, couchsurfing is a well-liked method of finding inexpensive accommodation. There’s a thriving Couchsurfing Dubai community, where many locals and travelers share their couches (or extra beds) with people trying to save money on accommodation.
Attending the weekly Couchsurfing meeting is one of the best ways to engage with the Dubai Couchsurfing community. Every Tuesday at 8:00 PM, these events are held in the Italian Coffee Shop at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Downtown Dubai. It’s a fantastic chance to network with other Couchsurfers and learn about what to see and do in the area.
Create a profile on Couchsurfing.com and start contacting hosts in the city if you’re interested in couchsurfing in Dubai. To locate the ideal fit for your needs, make sure to read reviews and pose questions.
In general, couchsurfing is a fantastic method to save money on accommodation in Dubai and get a local’s perspective of the city. And Dubai offers a wide range of possibilities, whether you’re planning a brief visit or a longer vacation.
Another popular website for seeking cheap accommodation in Dubai is Airbnb. Visit Airbnb.com and conduct a city search to discover the top Airbnb possibilities in Dubai. To find the best options for your needs, you can refine your search by price, location, and kind of lodging. For instance, you can search directly for Airbnb Dubai Jumeirah or Airbnb Dubai Deira if you’re thinking about staying there on your trip.
You’ll frequently discover flats and homes that give more room and privacy than conventional hotels while using Airbnb in Dubai. That’s why it’s a fantastic choice for families or groups that are traveling together.
There are many other websites to take into account if you’re searching for an Airbnb alternative in Dubai, including Booking.com, Expedia, and Hotels.com. These websites provide a variety of accommodation options, such as hotels, rental homes for the holidays, and serviced apartments.
Budget eating in Dubai
It’s easy to splurge on food and beverages in Dubai because of the city’s opulent eating scene. However, if you know where to go, it’s feasible to eat and drink well in Dubai on a budget.
Avoiding tourist traps and expensive restaurants is one method to save money on food in Dubai. Instead, choose regional markets and street food vendors, which provide scrumptious and reasonably priced lunches. For inexpensive and delectable meals, you can also try the mall food courts, food trucks, and street vendors in Downtown Dubai. Buy inexpensive groceries and prepare meals in the kitchen of your hostel or vacation rental as an alternative. Or shop affordable ready-to-eat meals in local stores like LULU or Carrefour.
Visit bars during happy hour to save money on drinks in Dubai. Happy hour normally runs from Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM and many establishments have specials and discounted drinks during this period. Tribeca at the Ocean View Hotel, Barasti at the Westin Hotel, and Garden 7 at the Media One Hotel are just a few of the top bars in Dubai to go to for happy hour. And women can get free drinks on ladies’ nights, which are frequently organized at Dubai’s pubs and clubs.
How to travel Dubai on a budget
Dubai can seem difficult to navigate, especially if you’re on a tight budget. The Dubai Metro, buses, and water taxis are just a few of the city’s many public transit choices.
With trains running from early in the morning until late at night, the Dubai Metro is an easy and reasonably priced method to move about the city. Make sure to buy an NOL Metro card, which provides reductions on fares, to save money when using the metro. Avoiding rush hours and using the metro to get to popular tourist locations like the Marina, Burj Khalifa, Deira, and Bur Dubai, and then taking a cab or bus to your ultimate destination, can also help you save money.
Using the city’s bus system is another reasonably priced way to move about Dubai. Despite the difficulty of navigating the bus system, there are a few important routes that are helpful for visitors, such as Bus #8, which travels by the Marina, Souq Madinat, and other well-known locations.
Another cheap option is to rent bicycles by the hour – there are bike rentals all over Dubai – and use them to get to places.
Consider renting a car or using a car-sharing service if you travel in Dubai with a group or simply want to enjoy the convenience of a car. In Dubai, gas is reasonably priced, making it a viable alternative for transportation. To find the greatest bargain, make sure to compare rates and look for discounts.
What is the cheapest way to travel in Dubai?
There are several cheap ways to travel in Dubai on a budget:
- Use public transportation. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) provides a robust bus network that covers much of the city. Bus tickets start at AED 2 per journey and go up from there.
- Take the metro. The Dubai Metro is a contemporary, cost-effective, and easy method to travel throughout the city. Fares begin at AED 3 per journey.
- Use a ride-hailing app. Companies such as Uber and Careem provide economical ride-hailing services. Prices are often lower than in regular taxis, and you can follow your driver and pay for your travel using the app.
- Rent a bike. You can rent a bike from one of the city’s many docking stations. This is a low-cost and ecologically sustainable mode of transportation during your budget trip to Dubai.
- Walk if your destination is not too far away. It’s a cheap and healthy way to get about town.
Planning your trips and combining the above choices is the best approach to saving money on transportation in Dubai.
Grab all the discounts you can get!
There are a few important tricks you should be aware of if you want to vacation in Dubai on a budget and take advantage of every deal you can.
Before anything else, think about getting a copy of The Entertainer, a magazine that provides several discounts on clubs, events, restaurants, and more in Dubai. Both print and digital versions of The Entertainer are available, and the special offers are often “2 for 1” bargains that are good for the full year. For tourists who want to spend a lot of time in Dubai, this is a great resource.
Groupon is another helpful tool for discovering deals in Dubai. This website provides discounts on a wide range of activities, including Desert Safari, spa treatments, and restaurants. Groupon is a terrific resource for discovering the greatest offers on things to do and seeing if you’re in Dubai only for a short while.
Last but not least, be sure to peruse the Time Out Dubai journal for information on affordable and free activities in Dubai. The exciting cultural and entertainment scene of the city can be experienced on a budget thanks to this book.
A complete guide to affordable travel in Dubai to maximize your budget
Congratulations on finishing my guide on how to travel Dubai on a budget! I sincerely hope that my advice and insights have helped you in planning a budget-friendly and enjoyable trip to this desert metropolis.
To summarize, using the Dubai Metro and buses, taking advantage of sales, dining at local markets and food stalls, and avoiding tourist traps and expensive restaurants are some of the best ways to save money when you travel in Dubai. You can take advantage of everything Dubai has to offer without going over budget with a little planning and insider knowledge.
I invite you to put my suggestions into action and take advantage of the best things to do in Dubai on a budget, from the iconic Burj Khalifa and the enormous Dubai Mall to the lovely beaches and parks. Don’t let the worry of going over budget prevent you from having a trip that will live long in the memory.
You can visit Dubai in style and without breaking the bank with some careful planning and shrewd budgeting strategies. So go ahead and book your budget trip to Dubai today!
As an experienced trekker, explorer, and foodie, Neha deeply appreciates life’s small pleasures and loves to document her experiences as cherished memories. She firmly believes that we only have one life to live, so it is essential to make the most of every moment. With a passion for adventure and a love of trying new things, Neha truly lives life to the fullest.
You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny. Just submit a free guest post.
Before you travel in Dubai on a budget, you should also read
5 painless ways to budget for your dream vacation
6 ways to save money on your next budget solo trip
3 tips to avoid paying commissions when you travel