The city of luxury. Dubai is most known for its abundance in sports cars, yachts and premium hotels. But how much do things actually cost for normal people? And by normal, I mean those of us who can’t afford to stay at a $1,000/night suite…
In this post, I will deep-dive into the pricing of accommodation, dinning, transportation, etc. in Dubai. But before we get into it, it is important to note that things in Dubai can go as luxurious and expensive as you want them to… The better you want, the more you can end up spending!
Hotel prices very much depend on the time of the year that you visit. Christmas is peak season in Dubai and prices are three times higher than normal rates. But during regular season, you can find a double room in a 4-star hotel for 500-600 EUR for a full week, which I think is pretty reasonable for the level of comfort that you get!
In terms of long-term accommodation, you can find studios and one bedrooms for as cheap as 8000 EUR per year – But this is in areas further away from the action. If you want to live in prime locations like Marina or Downtown then you are looking at starting prices of 15000 EUR per year (without bills). However, these prices quickly start going up as soon as you add criteria like views, furnishing and other commodities!
Eating & Drinking
Like everything in this city, you can find very opulent restaurants around; but there are also some affordable places to eat out. While commercial chains will have meals for around 15 EUR, you will be able to also find cheap options around Dubai – Eating in local restaurants can cost you as little as 5 EUR!
However, drinking in Dubai is, in general, very expensive. Alcohol is only served in certain hotels at a very high price. A beer will cost you about 15 EUR, and a spirit will most likely start at 20 EUR. A lot of these bars usually do happy hour so you might be able to get these drinks for half of the price in certain occasions!
On the contrary, you will most likely find that doing grocery shopping is pricier than what you are used to, which is why there is such a big culture of eating out. This is mainly due to transportation costs, as a lot of the groceries supplies in UAE are imported from other countries. Prices of groceries really vary depending on what you buy – The more local products you get, the cheaper these will cost. Here are some examples:
• Pack of Pasta: 1 EUR
• Pesto Sauce: 4 EUR
• Mushrooms: 3 EUR
• Pack of salad: 4 UER
• Can of beans: 1 EUR
As you can see it’s not crazily expensive but definitely slightly more than what it would cost you in Europe – So when you add everything up and do a bulk shopping you can notice the difference significantly.
The Dubai metro is not fully developed yet and It only takes you to certain areas of Dubai – However, it is very cheap to take it and can be very convenient to get to some locations. Depending on how far you go it can cost you something between 1 and 3 EUR!
However, because gas is so cheap in UAE, so are taxis. A taxi ride to the airport will cost you about 25 EUR from Marina, which is about a fourth than it would cost you anywhere in Europe! It is very common for people to get around using taxis or driving themselves.
Probably the most popular activity in Dubai – Shopping! This is actually not a cheap thing to do. While Dubai offers a large range of malls and brands to buy from, prices are fairly similar to UK, which are generally much higher than in other European countries like Portugal or Spain. When we have gone shopping in Dubai, we have found the same products being sold here for about 10-20% more – This is, again, most likely attributed to importation costs.
However, because shopping is such a big thing in Dubai, there are sales happening very often – and in these times, deals are usually very good. I would recommend going shopping in Dubai during sale season… You are very likely to find a bargain!