Nominated “The Las Vegas of the Desert“, Dubai attracts countless amounts of tourists from all over the world. Not only famous for the astonishing luxury 5-star hotels and huge malls, the UAE famous city has a lot more to offer to its visitors.
“But is it true Dubai is affordable only for a few?”
Let’s discover it here!
Back in the days when I was still living with my parents in Italy, my sister and I came across an interesting documentary about the craziest artificial projects in Dubai. Back then the now famous “Palm Jumeirah” was still far from what it looks like today and I remember how impressed I was when I saw that they wanted to create “The world” – an artificial archipelago of various islands located in the waters of the Persian Gulf.
Fascinated by what I saw that day on TV, I promised myself I would organise a trip to Dubai once I grew up. Years after, here I am. I finally managed to organise my own trip to Dubai and am now able to review it for you, sharing a lot of useful travel tips and photos.
“The best season to visit Dubai”
Working in retail gives you lots of different benefits, with my passion for travelling one thing I love is getting to meet new people from all different walks of life. This has given me the chance to get to meet many clients, several based in UAE who advised me to visit between October and March; this is because, for most people who are not used to the heat, Dubai can be quite daunting during the summer months reaching over 50 degrees in June and July.
Finding the right flight this time couldn’t be easier. Thanks to British Airways and their amazing winter sales I managed to book an overnight return ticket from London (LHR) to Dubai (DXB) for just £340 per person. This intrigued me, as Dubai is becoming more of a “Go to” place for a holiday destination during the winter season. Flying with British Airways was a pleasure, the flight was on time, the food was good and the selection of movies on the plane made this 7 hours on board very comfortable.
For a lot of countries, there isn’t a need to apply for a visa when visiting the UAE for a short period of time. The link below will help you find out the length of time you can stay without needing to apply for a visa.
It’s always good to check this before flying out!
A simple stamp on your passport gives you the permission to move freely around all UAE as a tourist for 60/90 days depending on your nationality.
The metro system in Dubai is very efficient. No timetable is necessary since every 4-7 minutes you will be able to catch the train. Something I really appreciate about using the public transports in Dubai is that trains are extremely clean with a beautiful smell of lemongrass in it and considering they only have two lines (The Green and the Red for now) they’re not crazy busy at all. Same as many other cities, Dubai is divided into zones. Contactless tickets or cards can be purchased at any metro stop, bus station and Carrefour. Prices tend to be cheaper compared to the similar system around the world, in-fact 8 AED is the cost of a single ride from Dubai Marina to Dubai Mall.
Since the cost of the petrol in the UAE is still low, Taxis are another great way to move around all Dubai especially at night. I used this service many times during my stay and I was surprised about how cheap it was compared to where I live in London. From the Airport (DBX) to our accommodation in Dubai Marina it cost us AED 120 which is £25 for a journey over 34km. From the Burj Khalifa to Dubai Marina I spent 47 AED which is £9.18. I also used the taxi to go to Deira and the Palm Jumeirah. The only advice I can give you about taxis in Dubai is to make sure you avoid the “Lady Taxis”, this because most of the time they overcharge you.
“Accommodations in Dubai”
Even in this case I have to say thank you to my clients for their useful tips.
When I started looking for an accommodation for my two friends and I, we realised how pricey Dubai’s Hotels could really be. Knowing that taxis were really affordable I decided to book an hotel room in Deira (Just a bit out from the main attractions) using booking.com for no more than £220 each. Just a week after, I found myself cancelling that reservation because everyone I talked to suggested I not stay in that area. This was for many different reasons; the main one being the reputation of the area and it not being the most welcoming to tourists. Instead, they suggested I stay close to the Palm Jumeirah which is the modern side of Dubai. For the first time then I decided to check Airbnb and see if there was something a bit more convenient than a hotel room. Believe it or not, the same day I found a great flat in Dubai Marina, really well known for nightlife, beaches and delicious restaurants.
The apartments I booked (JBR Rimal-4) was absolutely great and much cheaper than a hotel room in this area. We spent only £726 for 7 nights. Our check-in was meant to be at 3 pm but since our flight was landing very early in the morning, Kristine the Co-host kindly gave us the opportunity to get the apartment around 10 am and she also provided us useful information about our stay in Dubai. If you are a couple or a group of 3 people this place it will be perfect for you.
“Cost of living”
The cost of living in Dubai isn’t as expensive as some of you might think. Of course, this is quite personal because it will depend on what type of travel you do. Based on my personal experience and the type of travel I do, I found there are lots of delicious and affordable restaurants available in the Dubai Marina and malls.