Home Getaways Visit Dubai on a budget: How to save costs in Dubai

Visit Dubai on a budget: How to save costs in Dubai


5 tips to enjoy Dubai vacation on a budget

How much will you spend on your Dubai trip? Your Dubai trip cost will be determined by factors such as:

  • Flight cost
  • Food and accommodation
  • Transport fees around Dubai
  • Sightseeing experiences and activities
  • Communication

In order to enjoy a budget trip, you need to save on each of these activities. Here are tips to help you save on costs during your holiday:

Tip #1. Avoid unnecessary flight charges

dubai hammock girl
Dubai hammock girl

First of all, ensure that you book the cheapest seat available.

Here are tips to get the cheapest seat on a flight.

In addition, see how much baggage allowance is given by the airline. Airlines will charge you for excess baggage weight.

Carry-on luggage also has a weight limit, so measure all your bags to ensure that you do not have excess weight as this will be charged per kg. You may have to split your baggage in order to spread the weight across bags to avoid extra charges.

Some airlines also charge for seat selection, especially if you are travelling economy or on a budget airline. Avoid selecting seats during booking if they attract an extra charge, but instead, allow the system to do it for you during check-in. Most of the times if you have a company, the system will select seats next to each other. So automatic seat selection should not scare you.

In addition, avoid changing your itinerary because that will attract an extra charge. Sometimes, if you change your ticket you may end up paying double for the new seat. In case of no-show, you may lose all your money. Cheap seats often have no option for a refund.

Tip #2: Save on Food and Accommodation

Today there are plenty of creative ways to get accommodation. Most hotels traditionally offer bed and breakfast, but this is highly dependent on the culture of a place. When booking hotels in Dubai, you will notice that there are various options including hostels.

Not all hotels offer breakfast, so you need to do the Math and establish whether to pay for bnb or just bed space. If you want to book a hotel, I recommend you do it on booking.com. This is because I discovered that walk-in clients pay higher hotel rates than what is listed on Booking.com. Find suitable Dubai hotel deals below and save on accommodation.


You can also save on food by cooking yourself. While hotels can be fairly cheap, food can cost you a fortune. Booking an apartment or space on Airbnb is a great way to save on food, especially if you are travelling as a family. There are nice places for as low as $11, but apply filters to find a place that matches your needs. You may need access to the kitchen so as to be able to cook. Such needs require you to book an entire apartment as opposed to sharing with the host. In this case, you will go shopping for supplies that can last as long as you stay, and be prepared to cook for yourself or pay someone to do it.


Another way to save on accommodation is by booking hotels outside Dubai. You can stay in Sharjah and still enjoy sightseeing activities in Dubai. If your itinerary contains activities in Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai Desert, Fujairah among others, consider transferring to a property nearby.

Tip #3: Find cheaper means of transport

dubai city

There are various ways to move around Dubai; metro, tram, local taxi, ridesharing, bus, and water taxi. The abra is a small boat that sits about 20 passengers, each paying only AED 1 to cross the Dubai Creek. It is an affordable way to move from Deira to Bur Dubai and vice versa. The metro is another affordable way to move around Dubai, charging at least AED 3 per trip. All you need to do is get a metro card at the nearest station and then load it with credit. You will be able to see your balance at every exit.

The bus is an ideal way to commute between cities, helping you to cut transportation costs. To visit Sharjah, for instance, you may pay AED 7-10 if you use the bus as opposed to AED 50-70 if you use ridesharing services. You will need a NOL card to access bus services.

These options will however work for you if you have time to walk around and discover places by yourself. If you are on honeymoon or business trip, you may require to pay a guide in order to save on time.

Tip #4: Sightseeing activities and events

UAE family

There are various free and low-cost activities you can engage in while in Dubai, and most people pay for them. For instance, you can visit the Dubai mall for free and watch the evening Fountain show also for free. Many travel agents charge for these free activities.

For city sightseeing, you can use the hop-on-hop-off buses. Book tours from the UAE, because local agents are cheaper. Also, do not fear to ask for discounts especially if you have company. Sometimes, you will even go for tours at half the price! Find deals on Groupon.ae, and if you have vouchers, make use of them.

Tip #5:  Communication

Roaming can be expensive, and even if you keep your personal line open, it is advisable to buy a local line for easier communication. We bought an Etisalat line and were given a voucher for tours, restaurants, accommodation and even ridesharing! You can get a lot of free services if you have a voucher. Make sure you load enough airtime at the onset because recharging can cost you a fortune. Buy enough minutes to last your stay. Utilise the free internet when you are in free wi-fi zones to spare your bundles.

Do you plan to visit Dubai and have questions to ask? Leave a comment with your question and I will try my level best to give an answer. If you have already visited Dubai and have tips for budget travellers, share them with other readers and make their trip worthwhile.

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