Travel Tips for Dubai on Budget
I completed my Dubai trip with an average spend of just Rs. 1,500/ day including accommodation, food, local travel, and entertainment. I have traveled to Dubai numerous times now. And I have a million tips for travelers on a budget. So read on..
The three main components of a Dubai trip are Accommodation, Food, and Local travel. Flights (unless you travel in peak season) and visa cost is practically the same.
My favorite tips to travel to Dubai on a budget…
1. Avoid peak season starting from October to March. All rates peak in this season, and Dubai suddenly becomes very expensive. e.g. I booked a hostel in Deira for Rs. 600 a night in August. In September rates were already Rs. 1200 for the same hostel. And I have seen them peak up to Rs. 2000 in Christmas and New Year. And remember, these are the cheapest rates you can find in the peak season.
2. Flight tickets to Dubai from India are generally the same. So you can book even a month in advance. And there is almost zero rejection rate for Dubai visas.
3. Always stay only in Old Dubai. Book 3-4 months in advance. Old Dubai is basically the localities of Deira and Bur Dubai. I prefer Deira as it is close to metro station and attractions.
4. A local cab/ taxi is very expensive. Even Metro/Tram/Bus is not very cheap. So try to walk to see the local attractions. e.g. in Old Dubai, there are several attractions in walking distance. You can just walk to them.
5. All attractions in Dubai are distributed in specific areas/zones. e.g. Deira, Bur Dubai, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah. So make your plans according to the areas/zones so that once you are in a specific zone, you can enjoy everything closeby with very little effort. e.g. Deira – Hindu Temple, Gold Souk, Dubai Heritage Village, Dubai Museum, Dubai Creekside, Old Dubai Bazaar, Electronics Market, Dhow Dinner Cruise, etc.
6. Do not waste money on Sim Cards if you are traveling solo. Calling and Data rates are very expensive. Just use the public wifi available everywhere.
7. Try to buy all your food at the Supermarkets. It’s very cheap compared to restaurants. All supermarkets offer ready-made food (ready to eat biryani, pasta, pizza, pastries, etc.) and usually also have tables where you can eat. Don’t waste money in restaurants.
8. When in old Dubai, do check out the Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Moroccan and other exquisite foods at local restaurants. It’s very cheap.
9. Electronics can as cheap or the same rate in India. It depends on the type of electronics you are buying. Generally, anything that costs over 30-40,000 Rupees is a little bit cheaper in Dubai. The actual rate difference can be seen in expensive electronics like mobile phones, cameras, and lenses. Do check out rates on Amazon and Flipkart before buying anything.
10. Dubai is a Shopping paradise during the sale season and its not worth it if you have not shopped here. Dubai typically has a Summer and a Winter (Dubai Shopping Festival) Sale. Though there are other sales that keep on happening like the one I found during Ramadan in August 2018.
If you want to shop a lot, visit during these times for excellent offers and discounts.
– Season Sale during and just after the holy month of Ramadan. Yes, the sale is for the entire month! Please note that there are 2 major sales in a year. During Ramadan in Summers and one during Eid in August. During Eid, I have seen malls open till midnight! So you can practically walk in your pajamas after dinner and shop till midnight.
– Gitex Shopper in October is amazing for all types of electronics.
I will not recommend Dubai Shopping Festival for a budget traveler as Flights and accommodation rates are exorbitantly high. Also the city suddenly becomes very crowded.
11. Malls are practically everywhere. When tired, just head to a mall and relax in the food court.
12. Lastly, Dubai is more beautiful in the night. So always make plans to stay out till very late in night.
hope this helps…. stay tuned for more tips for every location and city I have traveled. Cheers.