The rumours are true: Dubai is expensive. But like every destination, there are plenty of ways to save and visit on a budget if you do your research. As with most expensive cities, people have found ways around falling victim to the extremely high prices.
A well-known, reliable coupon site, Groupon is huge in Dubai. You can find loads of discounts, 2-for-1 specials and deals that will help you save those all-important dirhams. If there is something in particular you want to do, check Groupon first.
Go for dinner in Old Dubai
Step away from hotels and fancy restaurants that are made to make you think you’re in Aladdin and instead, head into Old Dubai for cheap eats. Meals in this part cost between £4-7. Near the Al Fahidi metro stop is an Iranian restaurant called Al Ustad which is highly recommended.
Take the metro
Even though it only cuts through the middle of the city, the metro does go to the marina, airport and Old Dubai. For under £2, it’s way cheaper than any taxi. If you do have to go somewhere away from the metro, take a taxi from the nearest metro stop to your destination; you’ll save time and at least £5. Otherwise, taxis range from £8-13 for anywhere in the centre of town.
Know where the cheap accommodation is
All the major hotel chains have locations in Dubai, so if you have hotel points, use them. Otherwise, the nicer hotels in Dubai are pretty expensive and range between £100-160 per night.
If you lack hotel points or simply don’t want to stay in one, there is a couch-surfing community in the city; it’s worth contacting residents before you visit and see if anyone has a room.
Very basic hotels can be found too, for around £30-40 per night through sites like booking.com or through Airbnb where the private rooms range between £25-35.
There are also three hostels in town that cost between £10-20 for six to ten dorm rooms.
Make the most of happy hours
The safe haven for any drinker, happy hours are where you can save your pennies. From McGettigan’s drink specials (£7 for selected house drinks) to Agency’s £21 bottles of wine. Dubai is full to the brim with happy hours so you won’t struggle finding one that suits your taste.