How to Do Dubai on a Budget
Luxurious seven-star hotels, 24-hour butler service, Rolls Royce limousines. That's what society's elite can expect when they visit the modern-day utopia of Dubai. For the rest of us, we'll just be happy with a clean, comfortable room and a nice hot meal. Seriously though, you can live like a king on your Dubai vacation even if you're not a member of high society -- if you know how to plan your vacation, that is.
Fortunately, in Dubai, it's hard not to be awash in luxury, regardless of your hotel or your dinner reservations. Traveling within your budget will make for a much more rewarding vacation and allow you to relax while you're away. If you want to do Dubai on a budget, you're not alone. It can be done!
The Best Of Dubai On A Budget - Your Flight
Your flight to Dubai will probably be the most expensive part of your budget-friendly trip. Finding the best rates on flights to Dubai may mean you'll have to get those fingers limbered up. The Internet is the ideal resource for booking a cheap flight to Dubai, but you may have to do some comparing before you finally book one. You can save additional money if you're able to plan for a departure in the middle of the week. Shoot for a red eye; they're far more humane and often cheaper.
The Best Of Dubai On A Budget - Your Hotel
You may fear that every hotel in Dubai costs a month's salary for a night's stay. That's simply and fortunately not true. Many affordable Dubai hotels offer the utmost in luxury and hospitality. Some fine hotels you may want to look into are:
Arabian Park Hotel - Rates start at $47 per night and there's free parking, a restaurant, a fitness center and, of course, a swimming pool. All the attractions you want are a couple minutes away by taxi, and the hotel offers free shuttles to the airport and the WAFI shopping center.
Tulip Hotel Apartments - This relatively new (2008) Dubai hotel offers a basic breakfast as well as fully-equipped kitchens in each apartment -- many a budget traveler's must-have. The apartments start at just $48 per night and the location is prime; right in the middle of shopping and attractions, close to a supermarket, and walkable to the metro station.
Admiral Plaza Hotel - With rooms from just $46, the Admiral Plaza Hotel is a great deal. This hotel is in the old section of Dubai, which is ideal for bargain-hunting shoppers -- but you may have to take a (quick, and not expensive) taxi to get to the main attractions in Dubai.
The Best Of Dubai On A Budget - Dining
You can eat like a sultan in the city of Dubai for less than you would have imagined. The local delicacy, Shwarma (delicious seasoned meat and vegetables on a pita with dressing), is available for only about 80 cents. The deluxe version climbs up to $1.30 for a tasty treat. Many American fast food chains have staked a claim in the Dubai food industry, but don't waste your experience; you can get delicious regional cuisine for about the same price. Here are some budget-conscious restaurants in Dubai.
Karachi Darbar – Scattered throughout the city, this is a chain of Pakistani restaurants which serves delicious food for minimal money.
Jabal Al Noor - This chain restaurant serves regional fast food. It's different, delicious and dirt-cheap!
Toscana - Moderately priced Italian food that's as authentically Italian as Tuscany. This Jumeira-owned restaurant is perfect for when you want something different -- and the location on the water is superb.
Wafi Gourmet - Sumptuous Lebanese cuisine and ambiance to match -- all for a moderate price.
The Best Of Dubai On A Budget - Things To Do
Of course, the whole reason you came to Dubai in the first place is the experiences! As far as prices go, there's no way you can beat the cost of the beach; it's free! And it so happens to be among the most beautiful beaches in the world, thanks in part to its pure white crushed seashell shoreline. Some other inexpensive experiences include:
Shopping in Dubai - While it certainly costs money to shop, you can do much more of it in Dubai thanks to its duty-free shops and bargains. Haggle with a salesman in the Souks to find the best deals! Also be sure to inquire about the famous Dubai shopping festivals.
Hot Air Balloon - This is a surprisingly inexpensive way to spend the afternoon (compared to hot air balloons in other destinations) and it provides numerous opportunities for photos and memories. If you think Dubai is impressive from street level, wait until you see it from up top!
Wild Wadi - This adventurous water park is an ideal way for the family to beat the heat! Incredible water rides provide day-long enjoyment on an inexpensive ticket.
Making The Best Of Dubai On A Budget
We've only scratched the surface of the infinite budget possibilities in Dubai. Whether you have to plan your Dubai vacation on a budget or not, exploring and lying on the beach are always free. Planning your Dubai trip to match your budget will bring you maximum satisfaction at the minimum cost.
Photo by jonrawlinson via Flickr.