Dubai: where and what to save on? Life hacks from experienced travelers

The United Arab Emirates is a country of dizzying skyscrapers, the largest shopping malls, incredible amusement parks and gorgeous beaches. Holidays in Dubai can hardly be called cheap, but there are several ways to make it more affordable.

Conditions of entry to Dubai

Since October 3, the UAE is in the “green zone”, which means that upon returning to Ukraine, there is no need to self-isolate or take a PCR test for COVID-19. But to get to Dubai, you need a test, even two. So, travelers will need to do a test for departure to this country (validity period – up to 96 hours from the date of its carrying out), and a test upon arrival in Dubai. Yes, passengers arriving from Ukraine must pass an additional free test upon arrival at DXB airport.

To register at a location in the UAE, as well as to receive a repeat test result (usually within 6-12 hours), you need to download the COVID19 DXB Smart mobile application from the Apple App Store or from the Google Play Store.

Children under 12 years old and passengers with moderate to severe disabilities are not eligible for testing.

Transport in Dubai

Renting a car in Dubai or taking a taxi all the time is a rather expensive undertaking. One of the main ways to save money is to switch to public transport. In Dubai, it is possible to comfortably move around the city by metro, buses, trams and water buses. All of them are modern, air-conditioned and have regular routes.

For greater savings and comfort, it is worth buying a Nol Card – a card with which you can pay for travel in all types of transport and even save on it. There are several types of Nol Card, here are the most suitable for travelers:

Silver Card – allows you to use all types of transport and regularly replenish the number of passes. You can buy it at ticket kiosks, the cost is € 6.30.

Red Card is a card for one type of transport, you can replenish it for a maximum of 10 trips. A good option for those who do not plan a lot and often move around the city. The cost is € 0.50.

There is also a Gold Card and a Personal Card, with the terms of which, as well as the details of the system, you can get acquainted here.

The entertainer book

One of the top treasures that saves hundreds of dollars and is the first thing seasoned travelers buy before traveling to UAE, including in Dubai, – The Entertainer Book. This is a huge book of discount vouchers in more than 3000 (and this number is constantly growing) establishments throughout the country: water parks, amusement parks, museums, galleries, excursion programs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, SPA centers, shops, souvenir points – simply an indispensable item for active travelers.

Such a book weighs more than a kilogram, and it is simply unrealistic to use all the proposals. It costs from $ 100, but this amount “fights back” literally in the first two days, if, for example, you plan to take excursions or are going to visit the Wild Wadi or Sky Dubai parks with your family, for which discounts from 25-30% and higher are provided.

There are several types of books, some are focused on family outdoor activities, others are purely for visiting restaurants and cafes, and there are also for body care (SPA centers, gyms, etc.). You can pick up and purchase a book or promo codes that are easy to store in your smartphone hereas well as at Dubai airport.

Free excursions and entertainment

When you first get to a new city, you should get to know it well, which is greatly facilitated by sightseeing tours. In Dubai, with such tours, everything is in order: if you want – book a bus or water bus, order an individual car ride or think about a walking tour, they are not only cheaper, but even free.

So, you can get to:

  • free daily walking tour in the central part of the city. It is in English and lasts two hours.
  • free sightseeing tour through the historical sites of Dubai with fascinating stories about the history of the state. It takes place daily in English, duration – from 1.5 hours.
  • an inexpensive sightseeing tour with a Russian-speaking guide can be an alternative.

One of the most popular places in Dubai, and in general in the Emirates, is the huge Jumeirah Mosque. The only one where people of different faiths are allowed, and for them, free excursions lasting 75 minutes are held here every day (except Friday). The tour is in English and starts at 10 am.

Another place in Dubai that you can visit completely free of charge is the Pink Flamingo Sanctuary. An incredible place in the picturesque Dubai Bay, where, in addition to hundreds of beautiful birds, dozens of other species of birds live: cormorants, herons, ducks, etc. The entrance to the reserve is free, but by prior registration.

The most famous, popular and beautiful sight in Dubai is, of course, the fountain show at the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. It takes place every evening and gathers hundreds, if not thousands of spectators. The program begins at 18:00, small performances are held every 15 minutes. But they do not repeat, they are all different, so get ready to “get stuck” here for the whole evening. One of the most beautiful fountain shows in the world can be admired for free.

Dubai card

Like any big tourist city in the world, Dubai has a city traveler card – the Dubai Card. This is the same card that provides discounts on all the city’s attractions (and some of them have free admission), provides free travel in all types of city transport, and also offers sightseeing tours and interesting tourist routes.

There are many types of Dubai Card, they all differ in their validity period, as well as the number of persons who can use them at the same time. The price of the Dubai Card starts at $ 105, you can learn more about their types and privileges here

Free Wi-Fi in Dubai

Despite the fact that most hotels and public places around the world have long provided free Wi-Fi to their guests, sometimes you can find an exception to this rule, including in Dubai. But Smart Palms will always help you out. Smart palms in Dubai can be found on all beaches and parks in the city. These are modern electronic installations that distribute Wi-Fi signals for free within a radius of 100 meters.

The installation allows you to connect your gadgets to it for charging (phones, laptops, etc.), and the information panel on the “trunk” of the tree tells about sights, the latest news in the country and in the world, cool places in the city, the weather for the next watch and help you get directions to the desired point.

Low season holidays

The most comfortable months for a vacation in the UAE: October-November and March-April – not too hot, not too cold, you can swim and not suffer from the heat. At this time, prices for hotels and tours are the highest.

If you want to save money, come to Dubai in winter: the air temperature is comfortable + 24 ° C, but the water is cool – only + 20 ° C. Winter is ideal for sightseeing and shopping, and you can swim in the pool.

And finally, a few rules that you should know so as not to “get” a tidy sum in Dubai:

  • Handle garbage very carefully in public places, for an accidentally thrown piece of paper, even if you aimed at the bin, but missed, a fine of 500 dirhams (€ 125) shines.
  • never get into a taxi without a meter without first agreeing with the driver about the fare, otherwise the exit price can be very unpleasant to upset.
  • men should be careful when dealing with local Arab women, because sometimes even unintentional looks, words or gestures in this harsh religious country can be understood in two ways. For which, in the best case, they can be fined – from 5,000 (€ 1270) to 60,000 (€ 15,000) dirham, or they can be arrested.

Find out more tips on how to save money in the city of millionaires from Andrey Burenok’s video about Dubai.

You can find out where you can fly now and what travel restrictions are in effect in our new section “Restrictions”. There you can also subscribe to notifications about changes in the regime of entry into the country of interest or in all directions.


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