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Dubai, UAE: Dubai Travel Guide that WON’T Break the Bank

I managed to snag a £250 return ticket to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) recently so I couldn’t say no to spending a long weekend in the sunshine! I genuinely went with very few expectations because I’ve heard so many different opinions about Dubai.

Some love it and enjoy the financial freedom that comes with living in a virtually ‘tax-free’ nation. Others are appalled by the confirmed human rights violations and would rather just stay away.

It’s hard to compare the actions of a government with what the country is actually like, so it’s probably best for you to decide on your own.

In this blog post, there is info on:

  • A Brief Review of Dubai’s History & Cultural Expectations
  • A Free and Downloadable Google Guide to all the best places
  • Budget Overview
  • Accommodation Recommendations


Dubai is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai and it is one of the seven emirates that make up the country. It is a symbol of lavish and outlandish lifestyles as the world’s richest people flock to this tax haven to enjoy their wealth openly. There’s a real juxtaposition between the big city life and the magnificent desert just a few miles outside of the city. There’s something for everyone in Dubai.

However, it should also be recognized that there is also a dark history/present that shadows the UAE as well.  The United Nations reports,

“The UN has painted a grim picture of the human rights situation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), raising concern over the torture of prisoners, injustice against foreign workers and discrimination of women in the Gulf state.”

Every country has its own unique oddities and it’s important to realize that a country’s citizens are NOT always a reflection of their leaders or laws. Wonderful people live in troubling environments all the time. However:

It is important to recognize that if you are planning on visiting Dubai, it is CRITICAL that you observe the local customs and laws as you are a guest and will likely receive little support from your embassy if you’re found guilty of violating any of their laws.

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Advice for Foreigners:

It should be also noted that the “rules” for foreigners are different than the rules for locals. In all of the clubs and beach parties, there were LOADS of scantily clad women and openly gay men in the designated ‘Ex-Pat hubs.’ I literally saw women coming to the club in a fishnet bodysuit with just a thong leotard underneath.

At the Ex-pat beach parties, there were thong bikinis and casual canoodling as far as the eye could see. And there were openly gay men having a great time in the many restaurants we frequented without a problem.

Just be careful, be smart, and observe your surroundings. Also, keep the PDA to a minimum when outside of these Ex-pat hubs.

Downloadable Google Map Guide:

If you want to see the best that Dubai has to offer easily, download my Google Map guide today!

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Budget & Costs

Dubai is known for its ridiculous, lavish lifestyle so be prepared to spend some dolla dolla ya’ll. Think of it as a treat to yourself! You should expect to spend around the following:

  • Hotels – £120 per night
  • Food – £60+ per day (minimum)
  • Entertainment – £60-100 per day
  • Alcohol – £50+ per night

Of COURSE, you can do a few things cheaper than the above, but this is just my average daily budget during my time in Dubai. I don’t really like drinking that much, but even a few cocktails put me WELL within the £50 per night category. 

It’s worth mentioning that alcohol is taxed at 30% so you might want to save your pennies for this instead. Honestly, it would save you a lot of money to just be sober.

I would also suggest NOT getting a car whilst you’re in Dubai. Taxis are super cheap and there’s Uber in town. You would NEVER want to get caught drinking and driving in the UAE because you will end up in jail for an extended period. Don’t risk it.


There are always two sides to the very extreme spectrum that is Dubai. You can live in an absolute LUSH 5-star hotel OR you can be a baller on a budget and stay in reasonably priced accommodation.

I would be inclined to spend less on my accommodation as I prefer to spend my money whilst out and about in the town.

Luxury (££££)
The Atlantis


Mid-Range Luxury (£££)
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

*Note: There’s an incredible spa at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray that’s WELL worth the experience. They typically have Sunday promotions as Sunday is considered a normal work day in the Middle East. 


Mid-Range (££)
Manzil Downtown

**Note: This is where we stayed! It was the perfect central location for us to walk places and hangout by the pool without loads of tourists. 

Budget (££-£)


I hope this was helpful to you! Let me know in the comments section about what you ended up doing in Dubai!

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