THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DUBAI....ON A BUDGET!
Dubai is an enticing city. Known for its over the top extravagance and amazing shopping, I knew it was place I had to add to my list. Many people visit the city every year to marvel at the beauty of this desert surrounded gem that houses the world's tallest building. How could they not? This place is outrageous yet awesome. After my 3rd time visiting the city, I was able to compile this ultimate guide of things to do that won't break your piggy bank!
Take the Metro
The Dubai Metro system is one of the easiest and safest modes of transportation to get around the city. Ladies, guess what, we get our own part of the train. There are designated areas where only women and children are allowed to sit that are clearly marked in pink. This helps make Dubai one of the safest places for women to travel solo which is cool and comforting.
During the day, you can purchase a day pass for about $6 dollars that will allow you to see most of the city INDOORS. Yes, most stops do not even require you to step outside to get to your destinations. Well ventilated corridors take you straight into popular malls and places of interest. Most of this list of destinations are stops on the metro.
Visit Dubai Mall
Metro stop: burj khalifa/Dubai mall
Now I've been to amazing malls but this one right here, takes the cake. You could spend days here so I would schedule about 2-4 hours to get the real Dubai shopping experience. The mall has all of the popular fashion stores including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada (yes, I'm aware this is the budget guide but who doesn't love some good old window shopping)! Not only can you shop here, but you can see a movie, ice skate, visit the worlds tallest building, and send the kids to an indoor amusement park while you do it. Whoa slow down we are on a budget but hey, you deserve one of those activities. Treat yo self!
Also make sure to check out the waterfall, its a beautiful sight for photos!
On the first floor of the mall is the Dubai Aquarium. You will come across the giant fish tank full of colorful fish, sharks, and my favorite stingrays. Instead of paying $30 dollars to go inside, you can grab a bite to eat and watch them from the outside for free!
Follow the signs to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Near the ticket office is an exit to a promenade of restaurants and a view of the the skyscraper. At night, it's lit up and really a beauty to see and its free of course.
book a budget hotel via tripadvisor
This seems to be an obvious tip to saving in money in Dubai but most people are not sure where to look. Hotels near the Bur Dubai region are budget-friendly and some even have free shuttles to and from the beach. I stayed at the Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai which cost me about $43 dollars a night and included wifi and breakfast. I felt safe and welcome as a solo woman traveler and ran into no issues for the duration of my stay. Areas such as Jumeirah and Downtown are beautiful but will cost you a pretty penny. Use the map app from Trip Advisor to locate cheaper hotel options.
buy a package tour via viator
Budget or no budget, you simply cannot visit Dubai without taking a Desert Safari Tour. But why not add in a few more activities for a low price. Viator helps you find budget-friendly tours that are hand-picked and reviewed.You can find more travel resources in my post "Top 10 Must-Have Apps for Emerging Travelers". Now there a multitude of options to choose from. Be sure to pick a company that has lots of reviews. I purchased a package that included a Dhow Water Show and a Desert Safari Tour. I spent only $75 dollars for both! The Dhow Water Show was on a boat that included dinner, traditional Dubai dance, and views of the Dubai Marina.
Some safari tours include dune bashing, camel rides, and even sand boarding so be sure the tour has everything your looking for and be sure to pick a company that has lots of reviews. The Safari comes with a dinner and a show as well as a little bit of hookah also known as shisha. Check out my video to get a little sneak peak!
take your hotel shuttle to the beach
Most budget hotels provide shuttles to certain beaches. The hotel where I stayed dropped off in the morning and picked up in the early afternoon. While basking in the sun rays on Jumeirah's public beach, you can eye the world's only 7-star hotel, Burj Al Arab. The rooms go for about $3,000 dollars a night!
Take a stroll at the Gold and Spice Souk
A souk is simply a swap meet. It's a place where merchants are selling anything from souvenirs to solid gold. I loved strolling the streets looking for anything out of the ordinary. I was told that taking a cab from my hotel was only be about $5 dollars, so cab it was. Anytime you take a cab in Dubai, always make sure the meter is operable.
This particular city is not known for ripping off visitors but it always safe to be sure. Ladies, guess what, we come up again. There are some cabs that only pick up women and have women drivers. What does this city not have?
Some shops inside the souks have a smaller upstairs area with more merchandise. There is an elevator on the floor in a corner that looks like a big square that carries you and one other person to the top. The salesman said there were backpacks upstairs so I allowed him to show me. It was extremely uncomfortable being in that upstairs area as a solo woman traveler. He was insisting that I buy this backpack that I was not interested in and I immediately wanted to be taken back downstairs. However, I had no clue how to work the machinery. Eventually after he heard my tone turn aggressive, he took me back down. Be vigilant in any country you are traveling to, trust your gut.
have a snowball fight
Metro stop: Mall of emirates
Yes, you read correctly. Take a stop at the Mall of Emirates to see Ski Dubai! Mall of Emirates houses the world's largest indoor ski amusement park.
Instead of paying the hefty fee to get in, or your like me and despise the cold, have a snowball fight with the kids inside. Okay, I was kidding, you can't actually throw snowballs at them back but there are giant windows in front of the park where kids entertain themselves by throwing snow at the parks bystanders. Best part is, you never get hit.
HOPE YOU FOUND THIS GUIDE USEFUL! DID I MISS ANY PLACES? DROP A COMMENT BELOW! WHILE YOUR HERE CHECK OUT "THE GUIDE TO LOVING YOUR LAYOVER".