Cost of living in Dubai


Category :

Would you like to know the budget needed for Dubai? The cost of living in Dubai?

I will try to answer your questions in this article! 😊 You will see how to optimize your budget in Dubai to enjoy the destination and the activities.

Dubai is of course synonymous with luxury, exuberance, dreams... it is an extremely attractive destination, but also one of the most expensive cities in the Middle East. It is therefore natural to want to learn more about the cost of living in Dubai, so as to adequately prepare the necessary budget for your stay.


Dubai is a luxurious city with an infrastructure that is absolutely unique in the world. At first sight, this destination might appear to be exclusively for a wealthy elite, but you will see that reality is quite different.

It is actually possible to plan a reasonable budget for a stay in Dubai, all while enjoying your trip to the fullest.

Dubai's currency is the United Arab Emirates Dirham, which is roughly equivalent to 27 cents.

One of the particularities of the city is the extreme income gap that can be seen among its inhabitants. Between the workers and the executives employed by the big companies, the income gap is very wide, especially since Dubai is a tax haven.

This disparity can be seen in everyday life. You will find that prices can become very high in Dubai, but that you can also find good quality services and products for affordable prices.

The cost of living in Dubai varies greatly depending on the activities and places you visit. Of course, if you don't have a very large budget, you'll want to avoid any high-end services.

Unsurprisingly, accommodation will be an important part of your budget. The average price of accommodation is higher than in USA, and this is reflected in the price of hotel rooms.

Concerning food, all the imported products that Westerners love (alcohol, cheese, fruit...) are expensive. On the other hand, local products are very accessible, and you will be able to find a way to eat without ruining yourself.

As far as activities and travels are concerned, prices in Dubai are surprisingly good.

The Dubai Metro is operational and affordable, and even car rentals in Dubai are competitively priced. In addition, it will allow you to access a wide range of activities locally without spending too much of your budget on them.


Dubai transport budget

For your plane ticket, by using the services of a low-cost airline, you will be able to find round-trip tickets starting at about 295$. Of course, prices will vary depending on the date of your departure, but also on the date at which you make your reservation: the closer to your chosen flight, the more expensive it will be.

During the high tourist season, first price tickets cost between $365 and $410 in economy class.

If you fly Emirates, you should expect to pay around €400, but the prices really depend on the dates of your stay and which season it is in D..

The necessary budget to fly to Dubai is therefore average. The price of the flight does not reach $1.000 but does not go down to $100 either.


cost of living in dubai

The price of accommodation in Dubai is not very cheap, but you can still manage to find a comfortable hotel in the city, for a price that remains reasonable. Depending on the location of your hotel, prices will vary quite a bit, and moving a bit away from the city center (but not too far, so you don't have to pay cab fares) will save you money.

The first prices for a comfortable room are around $51per night, and you will have to spend between $80 and $114 for a room well located and with all the necessary comfort.

Of course, for a more upscale service, such as a room with a view in a hotel by the sea, prices can quickly soar to over $227 per night. If you want to spend an unforgettable night and probably strike a fatal blow to your wallet, you can also take a room at the Burj Al Arab, for as little as $2.270 a night... (no comment!)

Prices also vary a lot  depending on the season. From November to March, they are higher and hotels are often full weeks in advance. During the low tourist season, on the contrary, the prices of the rooms are largely more affordable, but the outside temperatures are so high that personally, I do not recommend visiting Dubai during this period.


dubai price

If you want to eat on the run in the malls or on the streets of the city, you'll have no trouble finding small restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world, in which you can have a meal for less than $10. In the city's markets, especially in the Old Dubai area, you'll find takeaways and local products at very affordable prices. In Deira, you'll even find small traditional stores offering typical UAE dishes for just over a dollar.

If you want to go to a restaurant, you will have a harder time finding a cheap place, and you will have to spend at least $20 per person. Restaurant prices can be a bit high, but they sometimes offer other benefits. For example, the terraces near the Burj Khalifa will allow you to enjoy the spectacle of the Dubai fountain during your meal, though you will have to remember to reserve your place.

It is often in the big luxury hotels that you can find the most gastronomic restaurants. The InterContinental Dubai is home to Reflets, the restaurant of chef Pierre Gagnaire, which is ranked among the top 100 restaurants in the world. To enjoy a meal there, you should be prepared to spend at least $100 per person.


budget to travel

Once in Dubai, the best thing to do in my opinion is to rent a car. It will be even more useful if you plan to visit the surrounding areas of the city, or even to explore other places in the United Arab Emirates, such as the capital Abu Dhabi. For this, you'll need an international driving license.

The most economical cars are available for rent from around $13 per day. For a larger, more powerful SUV, you will need to pay at least $34 per day.

To get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai, it will take you approximately 1.5 hours.


If you plan to stay in Dubai, the public transportation network will allow you to get to many parts of the city relatively easily. The metro, buses and water buses will allow you to reach your destination more cheaply. The standard trip will usually cost you less than one dollar (3 AED) and only longer trips or those in first class will be a bit expensive.

The NOL Card is a reloadable card that allows you to move around the city as you wish, and can be used in all vehicles of the urban transport network. Since there is no such thing as an unlimited travel pass, you will have to use the credits on your NOL Card for each trip, but the overall cost of transportation in Dubai is very affordable.


Dubai budget

In Dubai, everything can be bought. If you are willing to pay the price for them, you can find a lot of activities, each more unusual than the other. However, many attractions are available at reasonable prices, such as helicopter flights or desert tours (on camels or in all-terrain vehicles). For example, you can try driving a buggy in the desert dunes for about $114.

The 4x4 safari from Dubai is one of the most popular activities. A complete package including a barbecue dinner is available for about $68. A number of other activities are also available at very affordable rates, such as a visit to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which can be purchased for around $34.

The Dubai Explorer Pass is a multiple entry ticket that can allow you to enjoy interesting discounts for your visits in Dubai. It allows you to choose between 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions from a list of over 40. This pass can save you almost 50% on certain activities and on visits to theme parks and museums.


In the end, by adding up all this information, you can see that with a minimum budget of about $2,840, you can organize a nice one-week trip to Dubai for a family of 2 adults and 2 children.

This amount will allow you to find tickets with low cost airlines, to stay in a budget hotel (about $57 per night in a room for 4), while keeping a sufficient budget for food and transportation in the city, and even to try some activities.

If you want to do more activities, go shopping in Dubai, go to great restaurants or stay in a more luxurious hotel, you will of course have to prepare a higher budget.

All in all, even though Dubai is a destination that evokes luxury, it is not an unattainable place, and you will be able to have a particularly pleasant stay without needing an excessive budget.


As you have seen above, it is possible to adapt your expenses according to your budget for Dubai. 

For example, I have already slept in hotels at about $57 a night in July in Dubai, in order to save as much as possible on my budget to do as many activities as possible.

The accommodation will be the most important expense of your stay, followed closely by the price of the activities. It's up to you to choose what interests you the most!

Click to rate this post!
 0 ratings (0/5)
auteurs blog dubaï
A first trip to Dubai 8 years ago – and a first love. I created this blog about Dubai to share with you my good deals and my recommendations about visiting this emirate. Ever since my first trip, I try to go back to Dubai at least twice a year, alone or with family!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


My tips and good deals

Subscribe and receive each month my tips and good deals to help you prepare your next trip to Dubai.