Seeing Dubai on a Budget
You probably already know that there are no shortage of reasons to visit Dubai. The city was designed with visitors in mind, and especially those who have a lot of money. But what if you want to see this city of dreams that sprung out of the desert but can’t afford to live like a high-roller? Dubai is a place that was made with making money in mind and because of this it has a reputation for being expensive. Between the city’s luxury hotels, shopping malls, and fine dining, it is easy to find yourself spending way too much money. Yet, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can visit Dubai without breaking the bank. It is, in fact, still within reach on a budget. Here are some ways you can visit the city of tall buildings and luxury in the desert while saving as much as you can.
Start with Plane Tickets
If you are a seasoned traveler you know that booking your tickets at the right time is essential to saving money on air fare. Not only will this help you find the best rates, it will ensure that the time of year is right. Dubai is very popular with tourists. Airlines often offer special promotions that you should be aware of. There are at least three airlines to choose from and you finding the one with the right price for your trip. According to the site MoneyPug, which is used to find cheap last minute holidays, since the United Arab Emirates wants to promote tourism to Dubai, it is definitely possible to find the deal that will be perfect for you.
Pay Attention to your Hotel Booking
If you want to swank it up in one of the finest luxury hotels in the world, you can. But it is also possible to find an affordable accommodation or somewhere that is luxurious and worth the price. You can also go the other way and find an Airbnb. The Arab world is known for its hospitality, and booking a room or an entire property may lead to experiences you never thought you could have in Dubai. In Dubai, Airbnbs can have cheaper per-night fees than you would pay at a hotel. This can be a cheap and comfortable way to see the city.
Of course it also depends on where you stay in Dubai. If you want to stay in downtown, it will cost you. The Dubai Marina will also be expensive, but that is because it is one of the most ideal spots to stay in the city. Choosing to stay in Bur Dubai, you will see the Old City and get a perspective on Dubai that not many people get. It isn’t all glitz and glamour here, there is an ancient culture waiting to be explored and discovered.
In the mind of most Westerners, the way to see Dubai is with a private chauffer. But like any other city, the best option to get around is use public transport. You should get an RTA NOL card. The silver option can be used in all public transport services in the city, including buses, metros, trams, and even water taxis. Not only does Dubai have efficient public transportation, this is a great way to really see the city for what it is and experience the people who live here year-round.
Another benefit of transportation in Dubai is that taxis are cheaper than many other parts of the world. This is not to say that it is a low cost way of getting around when you consider traffic, but you can take advantage of the lower prices. Combined with public transport, getting around the city doesn’t have to be expensive.
Food & Activities
As with most places, sometimes the cheap food is the real food. Arabic and Indian food are very cheap in Dubai, and it will give you a taste of not only Emirati culture but the Indians who move here for work. European, American, and Japanese are on the higher end. You can eat these any time, try the local food!
You don’t have to spend all your money on shopping in Dubai. You can go to a Souq, a market where you can bargain shop. You can go to the heritage hub of Dubai, the Bastakiya and walk around to experience the ancient culture. You will undoubtedly want to visit some of the malls, but you don’t have to buy everything in sight. Choose your expensive activities wisely and you will be able to have a great time in Dubai without breaking the bank.
Ryan Beitler is a journalist, writer, and travel blogger. He has written for Paste Magazine, The Slovenia Times, OC Weekly, Deadline News, and New Noise Magazine.
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