Lavish Lee takes Dubai the Thrifty Way
Who says that only the rich can afford a trip to Dubai?!? Well I went to Dubai April 2017 and I'm nowhere near rich!
Where did I purchase my trip to Dubai and for how much?
I bought a 7-day trip to Dubai on Groupon for $1,200! Yes, Groupon!
What was included in the Groupon for $1,200?
4 star hotel – Savoy Suites.
Straight flight to Dubai on Emirates leaving from and returning to D.C. (IAD) (FYI – Emirates is like the best airline – the flight was 14 hours and I ate 3 good meals and all the alcoholic beverages were included as well. YOU PAY FOR NOTHING!)
Roundtrip airport/hotel transfers
Daily buffet breakfasts at the hotel
Two tours: Buffet -Dinner boat cruise and half day tour of Dubai (I went to museums etc.)
Major Key Alert: Anything I purchase the benefit has to outweigh the cost. As you can see from above this is like the best deal to get to Dubai for so many days! So how can you get the price to come down even more? Ebates.
Additional tours purchased outside of Groupon prior to going on the trip:
Desert Safari – I purchased this on Expedia for $75. The desert safari included the following:
Guided off – road jeep tour in the desert
15 min ATV ride
Dinner and beverages (non – alcoholic)
Camel rides, shisha (aka hookah), henna
Live belly dancing, folk dancing, and music
Roundtrip transportation to and from my Dubai hotel
Full Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City from Dubai – I purchased this tour from Viator for $59. This tour included hotel pickup and drop-off as well. (FYI – Abu Dhabi is where the famous Etihad Towers from The Furious 7 movie are located, Ferrari World, Mosques, and the Presidential Palace is located)
Burj Khalifa “At the Top” – I purchased my ticket for the Burj Khalifa from Viator as well for #34.29. The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. I went all the way to the top and took pics! Also this building can be seen in many movies as well!
Major Key Alert: Shop around for the best prices on excursions for any trip! Viator seems to have a lot of deals though!
What about the exchange rate?
1 United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) equals .27 US Dollar.
So for instance I went to Global Village, a cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination, for 15 AED. So technically I paid $4.08 to get in.
Major key Alert: What I suggest is that when you visit any country where you are exchanging currency is to download a currency converter on your phone so that you know exactly how much you are paying for things in the US Dollar. Also at many places in Dubai, including Global Village, you can negotiate prices and they will go along with it!
When I wasn’t being a tourist, I was taking taxis to certain places like the mall, clubs, restaurants, etc. Taxi rides were fairly decent in price depending on where I wanted to go. On average they were between 20-25 AEDs.
Major Key Alert: GPS your trips before you leave so that you can ball park the price of your taxi rides.
Food was also decently priced and very rich might I add lol J. I’m a foodie lol – fat girl at heart! There’s expensive restaurants and cheap restaurants in Dubai, just like anywhere else you visit. This all depends on how much you are trying to spend. I probably had one expensive dinner while I was there at over 100 AEDs.
Drinks on average were 75 AEDs, so about $20. Were they worth it? I’ll let my snap chat followers be the judge of that lol j/k.
I’m sure you all have heard that Dubai is home of some of the best shopping. They have literally every store. I won’t go into detail about shopping as this post is strictly for the financial part of my trip.
Favor – It just is not fair!
Pacific Holidays, the travel agent for the trip, booked my flight for an extra day which I had not confirmed beforehand. Once I discovered the mistake, Pacific Holidays had to eat the hotel costs of letting me stay another night. I was too happy! Favor ain’t fair! God knows!
Oh so how much did I take as spending money on my trip?
I exchanged $1,080 for 3,909.82 AEDs. Yes, they will tax your money when you exchange it when you get to Dubai and there is like a $10 service charge. However, it is cheaper to exchange your money when you get there. Did I spend the whole $1,080? No, I did not. However, I had planned to take that much because I love to have a good time, and also my sister was turning 16 the next week so I spent some money trying to get ready for her party. Also, I spent a lot of money on taxi rides trying to get my phone back and I tipped the taxi driver that brought my phone back to me like 100 AEDs. (I’m generous). I brought back some of their currency as a souvenir as well, so I returned with almost $250.
Major Key Alert: YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE AS MUCH MONEY TO DUBAI AS I DID, even for that many days! Hopefully you won’t lose your phone, have a party to get ready for etc. lol. Also, I was celebrating a lot on this trip so every dollar I spent was worth it!