Dubai: Travel Cost & Money Saving tips.
Dubai Travel Cost
Hostel prices - A bed in a 6-8 bed dorm room costs around AED 80 per night. Free Wi-Fi is standard, although only one hostel includes free breakfast (Bombay Backpackers). For a private room with an en-suite bathroom, expect to pay around AED 175 per night.
Budget hotel prices - Budget two-star hotels start at AED 285 in peak season. In the off-season, budget rooms cost around AED 90. Expect basic amenities like TV, tea / coffee maker and AC.
There are lots of Airbnb options in Dubai. A private room averages around 165 AED per night, while entire houses and apartments start at 350 AED.
Food - Popular dishes in Dubai include hummus, shawarma, shish tawuk (grilled kebabs), and nafeh (a sweet cheese pastry topped with rose syrup and pistachios). A meal costs around 65 AED, while dinner with two drinks usually averages around 190–250 AED. For fast food like McDonald's, expect to pay around 30 AED for a combo meal.
A large pizza costs around 45 AED while a Chinese meal costs around 50 AED. A beer is about 45 AED while a latte or cappuccino is 19 AED. Bottled water is about 2 AED.
If you cook your own food, expect to pay around 500 AED per week for groceries including pasta, vegetables, chicken and other basic staples.
Money saving tips
Dubai is an expensive city. If you are roaming the malls and restaurants that cater to expats, you are going to spend a lot of money. That said, there are some things you can do to cut costs so you don't blow your budget. Here are some quick tips to help you save money in Dubai:
Use Groupon - Groupon is huge in Dubai and you can find tons of discounts, 2-for-1 specials and deals on the website. If you want to do something, check there first as there is a high chance that you will get a discount.
Get the Entertainer - The Entertainer is a magazine and app that offers discounts and specials on restaurants, hotels and activities. Pick up a copy upon arrival in Dubai. It's not cheap (it costs 395 AED) but sometimes you can get the app a 50% discount or a free trial. If you plan to see and do a lot, it will be worth the price.
Find Happy Hours - Dubai is full of happy hours. Plan your drinking accordingly to avoid the city's high-priced booze.
Skip the alcohol - Outside of happy hours and all-you-can-eat brunch, drinking is expensive so I'd go easy on drinking during your travels - or skip it altogether if you're on a budget.
Eat in Old Dubai - Stepping away from hotels, malls and fancy souks means you'll feel like you're in Aladdin and in Old Dubai for cheap eats. Meals at restaurants in this area cost from under 85 AED.
Choose accommodation near the metro - make sure your accommodation is near the metro stop. When it is scorching heat and public transport is much cheaper than taxis, you do not want to move around unnecessarily.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle – Tap water in Dubai is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to reduce your single-use plastic use. LifeStraw makes a reusable bottle with built-in filters so that you can ensure that your water is always clean and safe.