That feeling when the weather is warm and the drinks are cold…
Plotting a trip to Dubai? If fun, sun, shopping and the utmost pampering are in order, there are few better places on earth.
Dubai is an oasis of sandy beaches, amazing desert excursions, five star hotels, dramatic skyscrapers and a level of luxury which will leave you spellbound. But with all the tempting expenses at every turn, saving a little bit on the trip can go a long way.
Here are a few simple, practical tips to keep money in your pocket before and after landing and get the most out of your Dubai trip…
This sounds like hassle, but it’s not. Abu Dhabi is a mere hour away, and as the Emirate attempts to gain the buzz found in nearby Dubai, flights are crazy cheap.
Anyone hoping to find great flight deals to Dubai can potentially save a fortune by searching for flights into Abu Dhabi (AUH) rather than Dubai (DXB) and then taking the hour (or less) drive straight into Dubai. And if you’re really smart, why not see both cities? Getting from JFK to New York City might take longer…
Max Out Groupon
Groupon may not be what it once was in some parts of the world, but in Dubai its “the thing”. One of the best ways to save in this eclectic city is by taking advantage of two for one, comp this, free that offers at top attractions, restaurants, hotels and more.
Do your research in advance by using the UAE Groupon website and be sure to check it again while you’re in the country before any major endeavors. Even if those endeavors are just a big meal out!
Alcohol is served in hotels and licensed establishments throughout the UAE but it’s far more limited than many countries – and therefore prices are extortionate. It’s true, sorry.
Passengers are however allowed to bring up to 4 liters of alcohol per person, or 28 cans of beer. That’s a great opportunity, for those clever enough to take it. Needless to say, stocking the suit case or spending a bit of time at duty free may be just the ticket for a buzz without the financial bite.
No promises about the next morning though…
Package Deal it
Thanks in part to its esteemed national airline, Dubai has grown at a fever pitch and now ranks in the top 10 for annual tourism visitors. With so much excitement around the city, countless mega luxury hotels have popped up, with lots of rooms to fill. Like, lots and lots.
By searching for flight and hotel deals, you can often score both for less than the price of flights alone. Check these package deal sites, or just look on your favorite airline website. We’ve seen British Airways offer flights from London + Five Star Hotel for under £350 per person.
Taxis in Dubai command royal prices. Though it won’t get you everywhere, the metro is a great way to zip through the center of town, airport, marina and Old Dubai at a fraction of the price.
Yes, you really can take it to or from the airport. It’s relatively new, very fast and extremely safe. Fares run about $2USD compared to roughly 10x that for a taxi. Side note: metros to the airport don’t run on Friday morning, so if you’re jetting out at this time – make alternate plans.
Make this a part of your journey, you’ll thank us.
Excursion Price Shop
Getting in touch with a hotel in advance of your stay has more potential benefits than you could possibly imagine. A simple phrase such as “first time in Dubai” can lead to upgrades or other welcome wagon gestures, sure to keep you coming back. But it’s also a great way to ensure you receive the best prices on your planned excursions.
Airbnb Experiences is also now a great option, with easy to sort through ideas.
Email the hotel and ask for the price of any desert tours or other excursions you were hoping to do. Once you have this list, you can cross reference prices with packages available online, ensuring you’re getting the best deal. You can always mention a price you’ve found online to see if the hotel would make an adjustment to win your business…
All You Can Eat
Brunch, fine dining and indulgence are in rare form in Dubai. On Fridays especially, join locals and savvy tourists at one of the famously opulent all you can eat and drink buffets.
At roughly $80 per person, these extra sensory food and drinking experiences are far from cheap, but if you play your cards right, you may just be full and tipsy for the rest of the day – and perhaps into the next. No judgement here!
Use Points For Hotels
Got any credit card or hotel points? Hotels in Dubai offer the highest standards found anywhere in the world, yet when it comes to using points they can quite often be extremely reasonable to book.
There are times when it may be cheaper to buy hotel points in a sale than to book the hotel using cash directly, and other times where you can score a room upgrade or free night for a relatively small amount of points. Before you shell out, be sure to at least check your options.
Side note, Marriott and Mastercard also have an offer where you can get your third, fourth, or fifth night free through this website, which is handy.
Much like any city in the world, the busiest areas will often yield the highest prices. Taking the metro over to Old Dubai is a chance to experience a more intimate, less tourist centric area of the city, which also features many great spots.
You’ll pay less for just about anything than you would in downtown and you’ll get a wider view of actual Dubai life as well.
Smart Palm Free Wifi
In addition to the Instagram worthy palm trees along the Marina and enumerable private beaches, Smart Palm’s line the streets of Dubai. These electronic, palm tree look alike stations provide free wifi, charging ports and other extremely handy assets for tourists and locals alike. You can save a fortune on keeping up to date with the outside world, not that you’ll really care while sitting at the beach…
One final tip: check the comments section below for some great tips from locals : )
What’s your favorite thing to do in Dubai?
Featured image courtesy of Sofitel Dubai.