Dubai, also known as the city of gold, skyscrapers and dreams is THE place to visit of 2023 with this destination being popular to almost every age group; Dubai's tourist population has grown by 97% (in comparison to 2021) to a whopping 14 million people per year. This growth also means an increase in cost - just getting there alone can cost up to 5 x more than what it would have cost you 3 years ago. But that is where we come in handy, we have just visited Dubai in May 2023 and stayed for 3 weeks. As I'm sure you gathered from the article title, we managed to spend just £1.2k per person on our vacation which includes flights, hotels, car hire, food and activities. We have compiled this article to help you book your next vacation to Dubai and save you a few pennies along the way!
So this is our initial budget, it takes a lot of planning to hit our target of Dubai on £1.2k for 3 weeks. However we've done all the hard work and broke down our plan to give you a clear direction on how you can travel to Dubai on a budget. To put this into perspective, it's £57.14 A DAY on transport, activities, accommodation and food which lets be honest, doesn't sound possible. Carry on reading this article to see how we managed this.
When it comes to flights you have 2 options: fly direct and save time or take a lay-over flight and save money. Both are good choices, however if you're like us and want to save as much money as possible to spend on more vacations, then do what we did and book a lay-over flight. We live in Manchester, UK, so all of our flights are based from here, however most UK flights offer fairly competitive prices.
We flew from Manchester to Vienna, then Vienna to Abu-Dhabi and the same journey on the return flight, as well as driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. This took around 10 hours (including lay-over time) whereas a direct flight would take you around 7 hours 10 minutes from Manchester straight to Dubai.
Manchester to Vienna, £104
Vienna to Abu Dhabi, £176
Total cost of Flights: £280
You can book a direct flight from Manchester to Dubai for around £628 using this link: Manchester to Dubai.
When it comes to driving in Dubai, we would definitely recommend it. Dubai is roughly 4,000 square km and that's just one of the seven awesome Emirates of UAE, so as you can imagine it may take you a while to walk the distance of Dubai. Driving is very easy as long as you pay attention when driving and follow the rules - we made a short YouTube video on our channel for you all to check out, if you click on the photo of the car below then it will take you directly to that video.
To book our car we used a company called DiscoverCars. For the whole 3 weeks it cost us just £315 to hire the car from Abu Dhabi International Airport. This package included unlimited mileage, full-to-full fuel and collision waver damage. We also spent around £63 each on fuel.
Click on the image of the car to watch a short clip on our drive from Abu Dhabi Airport to Dubai!
During our time in Dubai, we wanted to try out a few different hotels and see which one we liked the most. We knew Atlantis the Palm was the number 1 hotel on our list, so we somehow had to budget for this in the £1.2k challenge and we did it! There are so many amazing hotels in Dubai, and some of them are fairly affordable if you shop around. Websites like Expedia or Booking.com are great websites to start looking on and comparing prices to find the best deal. Don't forget that Dubai is huge, with plenty of options. Our advice is to shop around first, check the location of the hotel and read the Hotel's amenities.
We stayed at 3 different hotels during our 3 weeks in Dubai:
Atlantis the Palm - £254 a night (for 2 days) £508
Aloft the Palm - £62 a night (for 3 days) £186
Premier Inn - £27 a night (for 15 days) £405
So that's a total spend of £1099 but there were 2 of us who travelled, so split that cost by 2 and get a total spend per person of £549.50 on accommodation.
£100 per person doesn't sound enough to keep you entertained in Dubai for 3 weeks, however we managed to squeeze into our budget some thrilling (and free) activities for the whole family! There are so many things which you can do in Dubai, some of which will cost you more than others. Activities such as Ferrari Land, Motiongate, IMG World of Adventure or XLine Dubai are great options, however they stretch the budget, so if you'd love to go to Dubai on a budget then check out what we decided to get up to. Below we have a ready made itinerary for the whole 3 weeks of your vacation, whilst in budget.
Jebel Hafeet, Free
Kite Beach, Free
Hatta City, Free
Palm West Beach, Free
Dubai CityWalk, Free
Dubai Frame, £14.72
Love Lakes, Free
Desert Safari, £24.45
The Dubai Mall, Free
The View at The Palm Observatory, £15.32
The Gold Souk Boat Trip, 0.30p
The Pointe, Free
Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park, Free with Accommodation
Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park, Free with Accommodation
The Lost Chambers Aquarium at the Atlantis The Palm, Free with Accommodation
Top Golf, £6
Dubai Safari Park, £16.82
CityLand Mall, Free
TOTAL SPEND: £102.96
A lot of people seem to have a perception of Dubai being extremely expensive for food and drinks, well they couldn't be more wrong. If you head to the 'mainstream' restaurants which are known for charging over the odds for a small plate of food, then yes, it's expensive. However if you head into Dubai where the local restaurants, food stalls and markets are then this is where you will find a real bargain. Bottled water costs on average just 0.20p which is extremely cheap.
Firstly, whilst staying at Aloft The Palm and the Premier Inn, we managed to get free breakfast included with both hotels: which managed to save us some money on breakfast for 19 days of the trip.
For Lunch we would usually go for snacks. There are many snacks available from the stalls and markets around Dubai, such as Indian Savories, Chinese Starters or Sandwiches. We typically spent around £1.50 on lunch per day each, which would get us around 3 snacks each, plus a Karak Chai (just 0.25p for the Chai.) So that works out around £31.50 per person for Lunch for the 3 weeks we were in Dubai.
For Dinner we had around £81.50 remaining in our budget. This was more than enough for the whole trip, if you spend wisely. We ate out for dinner every evening. We went to various fast food chains such as Wendys (£3 meals), Popeyes (£4 meals) and Al Baik (£1.50 meals.) We also went to some great classic restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory, Chillis and Biryanis & More. As well as this, we still managed to budget in a Gold Cappuccino at the Armani Lounge in The Burj Khalifa which we would definitely recommend.
We spent £117.20 in total which is just slightly over budget, but we can deal with that after our very happy stomachs!
WE DID IT! Even we were shocked that we managed to stay in budget and travel to Dubai for 3 weeks costing us £1.2k. Now is the fun part, now it's your time to book your next vacation and beat us. Do you think you could spend less than £1.2k on 3 weeks in Dubai? If you manage to do it then contact us on Instagram with your story and we will shout you out and give you the credit you deserve! We hope you all enjoyed this article, please follow us on Instagram and YouTube for even more updates.
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