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Top ways to save and enjoy the luxury of Dubai

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Over the last 20 years, Dubai has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most glamorous holiday destinations.

Visitors flock to buy jewellery and perfumes from its souks and malls, sleep in Insta-worthy suites at luxurious hotels, and eat gourmet banquets created by household-name chefs. Crowds gather to sip champagne and slurp oysters at million-dollar sporting occasions among the spectacular landmarks which rise from the desert. It’s a playground for the rich and famous, where 14-lane highways are filled with supercars. But, to assume Dubai is only for the ultra-wealthy would be a mistake.

With just a little insider knowledge, this sparkling emirate can easily be enjoyed by holidaymakers on a budget. Here are our tips to help you experience Dubai for less.

Timing is everything

Dubai is a year-round destination, but prices can vary greatly depending on when you travel. Peak dates with the highest costs include October to November, Christmas to New Year, and Easter. Major sporting events like the Dubai Rugby Sevens and the Dubai World Cup also cause surges in rates. For flexible travellers, savings can be made by arriving in December and January outside of the festive season or in June and September, on either side of the UK school holidays. These are the coolest and hottest times of the year for Dubai breaks, but the temperatures are easily handled by wearing a jacket at night in winter or saving outdoor activities until sunset in summer. For parents, summer half-board deals often make July and August the most affordable times for family holidays.

Eat smart

One of Dubai’s major attractions is the food, and with some of the best restaurants positioned inside hotels, it’s easy to enjoy incredible dining without breaking the bank. Choose Dubai all-inclusive holidays at Sofitel Dubai The Palm or a selection of three JA Resorts to know every mouthful is covered before you arrive. If you travel in summer, free half-board offers are common across many hotels, including the Jumeirah resorts, whose Flavours package includes dine-around meals in over 30 restaurants. Another great way to have your money go further in Dubai is to make the most of breakfast. From Atlantis, The Palm to Burj Al Arab, most hotels in the UAE include an extensive buffet breakfast served until late morning. Add a room featuring access to the hotel’s club lounge for complimentary daytime snacks, plus evening cocktails and canapés, and you can graze at your convenience.

Choose the right location

Many of Dubai’s best hotels sit along the coast, on the outer crescent of the Palm, or in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa. These locations are desirable, but, of course, they come at a premium. Fortunately, you don’t have to stray far to enjoy significant savings. Grosvenor House at Dubai Marina offers five-star comfort in a prime position with full access to the private beach and facilities at its sister hotel, Le Royal Méridien. Hilton Dubai The Walk and JA Ocean View don’t have private beaches, but they have elevated pool decks and sit across the road from the public beach at JBR. The older areas of Deira and Bur Dubai provide easy access to Dubai Creek, the souks, and the Old Town with great value hotels, including the Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt. If guaranteed sun at the ocean’s edge is your main priority, neighbouring emirates such as Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah offer affordable luxury just an hour from Dubai. Alternatively, staying a few nights in a hotel on Yas Island in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi is a fantastic way to save while seeing two spectacular destinations on one trip.

Travel savvy

The most comfortable way to arrive in Dubai is on an Emirates A380 from London, Birmingham, Manchester, or Glasgow. With many of these Dubai flights operating at around £500 - or sometimes less - it’s also excellent value for an easy eight-hour journey. However, this isn’t the only way to get to Dubai, and there are several more options for budget-conscious travellers. If you’re someone who can sleep mid-air, choose overnight flights and save on hotel costs before arriving refreshed and ready to explore. Alternatively, indirect flights with Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways can offer great prices, or Etihad provides free bus connections for passengers flying into Abu Dhabi and staying in Dubai. Savings on transport don’t stop when you land either. The most common way to get around in the UAE is by taxi, but Dubai also has an excellent Metro system with full-day tickets costing less than £5.

Affordable attractions

Fees for some of the most glamorous attractions may stretch your budget, but you’ll still find plenty of reasonably priced things to do in Dubai. For a start, sightseeing is free. Look up at the world’s tallest tower as you wait for the nightly sound and light show at Dubai Fountain. Immerse yourself in local life as you stroll through the grand corridors of the city’s giant malls or the vibrant alleyways of its souks. Stroll along the promenade of The Walk at JBR before stepping onto the sand of the adjacent public beach. Wander or cycle around Dubai Marina at sunset as the stars and buildings are illuminated together. Other low-cost attractions include Dubai Global Village, an abra ride across Dubai Creek, or a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque.

Trust the experts

These first five tips are all great ways to save and enjoy the luxury of Dubai for less, but there’s a much simpler way to be sure you’re getting the best value for your budget - let us do it. Our Travel Specialists know Dubai inside out. They’ve visited, they’ve seen the hotels, they’ve experienced the attractions, and they know the offers. Let our experts understand your budget, priorities, and travel flexibility, and they’ll show you how to get more for less on any holiday to Dubai. Contact us today to begin planning your trip to the playground of the Middle East.

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