The desert city of glitz and glamour might not be best known for its budget options, but if you’re planning a holiday in Dubai there’s really no need to go bankrupt. Part of the fun in visiting such a 5-star city is digging out all the deals and discounts. So let’s see how you can save a dirham or two in Dubai!

Schedule in a ladies night

It’s all about the ladies on Tuesday nights in Dubai, when drinks are cheap and sometimes, free. For a bit of a boogie along with your booze, Rock Bottom, Double Decker and Longs Bar are faves, or for something a tad classier and less likely to make your faux-designer heels stick to the floor, ladies drink for half price on Tuesdays at Caramel . Al Bahou at The Gate in Ibn Battuta Mall offers five free drinks and hops specials (perfect after a shopping spree). Always check the web for details and updates.

Eat till you pop at a bargain Friday Brunch

Most places in Dubai have a Friday Brunch and these affairs range from lavish (think sushi served on ice sculptures) from 500 AED, to belly-busting budget feasts. The Malabar buffet (45 AED) at Coconut Grove is a favorite amongst Indian expats. Legends on the Creek gives you great views and a delicious spread for 95 AED. For just 65 AED at the infamous Waxy O’Conner’s you’ll get five alcoholic drinks, plus a breakfast buffet and carvery (and dancing on furniture), while a Western buffet brunch is yours for the scoffing at More Cafe for just 89 AED.

Budget for the Metro and shopping

A day pass for Dubai’s amazingly fast, modern Metro will cost you 14 AED for all zones, although you might need a taxi to reach some places. The best budget shopping in Dubai is in Karama, where ‘handbag shops’ will please those female magpie eyes and ‘watch’ shops will lure in the guys. Bargains can also be found in the gold and spice souks down by the Creek.

Head to Dubai’s parks and beaches

Most of the parks in Dubai are either free to enter or cost less than a dollar, so you’re hardly breaking the bank if you spend a day in the great outdoors. Safa Park in Jumeirah, or Creek Park, which runs along the Dubai Creek are both great for a game of footie or a quiet picnic in the shade with your mates.

If you feel like horse riding through the desert or forest, start from the Equestrian & Polo Club at Mushrif Park (90 mins, 300 AED) or hit the free running track and outdoor gym equipment at Al Barsha Pond Park. Don’t miss Zabeel Park, for some fun on the boating lake. For a cheap day at the beach, Jumeirah Beach Park and Al Mamzar Beach Park cost 5 AED to enter with drinks, toilets and ice-cream buying opportunities aplenty.

And something for free

Here’s a tip – if you’ve had a bit to drink at one of those brunches or ladies nights, always take a taxi. Taxis aren’t expensive in Dubai and you don’t want to be caught smelling of booze on a public transport system in the UAE.  

Do you have any tips on visiting Dubai on a budget? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks

Itchy-footed writer Becky has lived and worked in London, New York, Dubai, Sydney and Bali. She started freelancing in 2010 and has collaborated with top brands such as Microsoft, GQ, TripAdvisor, Hello!, Tiqets, HTC, PayPal, eBay, MTV... the list goes on and on! Traveling is a way of life, and Becky has it down to a fine art!
Becky Wicks