Dubai is not a city for someone traveling on a budget. This metropolis is definitely not cheap, and visitors should come prepared to spend some serious cash when visiting the city. However, there are a few life hacks that can help save money when visiting Dubai. These small tricks can help save a lot of money with not too much effort.
Stay at a budget hotel
Dubai is renowned for its 7-star hotel and other luxurious resorts. However, there are plenty of simpler and lovely hotels that are great for people on a budget. A cool trick to identify these hotels, is to search by neighborhood. Hotels in Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina are much more likely to be way more expensive than hotels in Al Barsha, where most of the best budget hotels can be found. Although all these areas are only about 15-20 minutes drive from one another, the different in prices can be shocking.
Visit the Old Quarter
Dubai’s Old Quarter is one of the city’s most important historical landmarks. Here, visitors can see what life in Dubai was like during the time of trade, when the Creek was the lifeline of the whole city. Another great thing about Dubai’s Old Quarter, other than the several attractions it holds, is the fact that it’s considerably cheaper than the rest of the city. Here, visitors can pay 3 AED to enter the Dubai Museum and 1 AED to cross the Creek on a boat taxi. Everything else holds similar prices – except the Gold Souk, of course!
This is a hard one for those who came to Dubai with the desire to party, but avoiding alcohol is an easy and fantastic way to save money. Alcohol in the city is certainly pricey and a night of light drinking will range from 200-300 AED. By avoiding alcohol, visitors can save a lot of cash to spend on other things such as visiting attractions and dining – or simply take the money back home with them if they choose to follow all the tips in this guide!
Check out the cheap eats
Yes, Dubai is well known for its fine dining, with some of the best restaurants in the world being located here. However, eating is an easy way to burn through your budget during a visit to Dubai. What very few know, is that Dubai offers dining experiences for all budgets, and although those looking to save money will most likely find themselves eating fast-food – whether from international or local chains – this is a great way to save money. Anyways, everyone is allowed some extra holiday weight.
Take the Metro
In Dubai, nothing is very close and walking around from place to place is virtually impossible, so finding a good means of transport for your budget is crucial. Although taxis and Ubers may offer more comfort, the Dubai Metro is a great way of getting around while spending minimal money. Additionally, the metro offers fantastic views of the city, seeing that it is above ground and is extremely clean, making the ride a fantastic experience, as well as kinder to your wallet.
Look for spots with free entry
A rarely known fact about Dubai is that a lot of spots in town offer free entry – this includes most nightclubs. A great way to save some cash is to minimize the amount spent on a night out. Avoiding alcohol, as previously mentioned, is a great hack – but entering the clubs for free is another one. This guarantees that visitors can come in, dance and enjoy themselves without actually having to spend any cash. For women, it’s always possible to look out for spots offering ladies night, which normally take place on Tuesdays, when most places in town offer a few free drinks to their female customers.
When looking for ways to fill an itinerary of Dubai, visitors often don’t realize how many places there are to workout and get active – which is entirely free of charge. Instead of a fun afternoon drinking or shopping, you can go jogging near the beach or check out some of the city’s several cycling tracks, some which even offer free bike rental. This is fun for the whole family for minimal cost!
Hit the (public) beach
Although many visitors coming to Dubai choose to stay in resorts with private beaches, this is definitely not an option for those looking to save during their trip. However, Dubai has several public beaches which are just as great and can be a fantastic destination for tourists to spend their day. Whether sunbathing, taking a dip in the ocean or borrowing a beach volleyball for free – the public beaches in Dubai offer an array of activities that are free or reasonably cheap.
Visit some of Dubai’s parks
Another series of public destinations that are a definite crowd pleasers are the several parks around town. These are lovely for families to spend their day together, specially during the winter when the temperatures in Dubai are fantastic for any outdoor activities. These locations offer visitors unlikely greenery, which is rarely seen around the city and a chance to enjoy a picnic. Parks in Dubai are also a safe space for children to run around and play, while parents kick back and relax.
Look out for free events
Dubai is known for its various concerts and sporting events throughout the year, but what many people aren’t aware of is that the city also offers a selection of free events that go on year round. At these events, you are likely to have to purchase your own food, but entrance is actually free. A great way to keep up with these is by checking the Dubai Calendar online or downloading their app, where most events in town are shared with the public – including the free ones!
Don’t go shopping
This is a hard one and takes a lot of self control, but for those looking to save money when visiting Dubai, shopping is a big no-no. It’s very tempting hitting up Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world, and checking out all of its 1200 outlets for the latest deals and trends. However, by controlling shopping urges visitors can avoid spending a lot of cash on unnecessary items. It’s better to save that money instead to hit up the city’s main attractions.
Dubai Mall, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, +971 800 382246255