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7 Days in the UAE Travel Cost – Our Budget Breakdown

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Get an in-depth look at our UAE travel cost during our trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, complete with tips on saving and splurging.

uae travel cost

Welcome to our detailed breakdown of the costs we encountered during our unforgettable trip to the United Arab Emirates. As a couple who has been traveling the world for over four years, we’ve experienced a wide range of destinations and cultures. This was our first time visiting the UAE, specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and we were intrigued to see how the costs would compare to our previous travels.

In this blog post, we’ll share our experiences, insights, and the actual costs we incurred during our journey. Whether you’re planning a trip to the UAE or just curious about travel costs in this region, we hope you find this information helpful.

We’ll cover UAE travel cost, best time to visit the UAE, and more!

As a quick note, we are not backpackers; we rarely stay in hostels and are very cautious with street food. We like to save money where possible, but we certainly spend it on what is important to us.

This is not representative of what you will spend in the UAE, even for the same period of time or season. This is merely an overview of what we spent and some of our tips and reasons for the amounts. Please use it as a guide to your future trip to the United Arab Emirates!

This post is all about our UAE travel cost (Dubai + Abu Dhabi).

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Best Time to Visit UAE

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7 day trip to dubai cost

The best time to visit the UAE is generally considered to be during the winter months, from November to March, when the weather is cooler and more manageable. We happened to visit in August, and we would not recommend this time of year due to the intense heat. The high temperatures made it challenging to enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing. Therefore, if you’re planning a trip to the UAE, it would be wise to consider the climate and aim for a time of year when the weather is more comfortable.

1 Week United Arab Emirates Itinerary

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dubai or abu dhabi

For a week-long itinerary in the United Arab Emirates, the plan is to spend 4 nights each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These two cities offer a mix of cultural, historical, and modern attractions. From the towering skyscrapers and luxurious shopping malls in Dubai to the rich cultural heritage and grand mosques in Abu Dhabi, there’s something for everyone. Remember to plan according to the weather, as the summer months can be extremely hot.

Dubai – 4 nights

Abu Dhabi – 4 nights

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UAE Travel Cost

Flights

Total: $495

We found reasonable deals on roundtrip flights from Tirana, where we’re currently based, landing in Abu Dhabi (AUH) on a budget airline. Most international flights land in Dubai (DXB), but more local and budget airlines fly into AUH, providing another cost-effective option. After arriving, we took advantage of the local bus service to travel to Dubai. The total cost of our flights was $495.

If you’re traveling from the U.S., you might want to consider checking out FareDrop for discounted roundtrip flights. Keep in mind that flight prices can fluctuate significantly based on the time of year and how far in advance you book.

Entry Fees

Total: $0

Our total expenses for entry fees during our trip to the United Arab Emirates were $0 because there are no entry requirements for US citizens. Despite this, we recommend that travelers double-check their requirements at iVisa to ensure they are up-to-date. Any changes or unexpected fees could potentially affect your travel budget.

Accommodations

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UAE Travel Cost

Total: $763

Average: $95 per night

Our stay was split between Dubai, where we stayed two nights at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and two nights at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, and Abu Dhabi, where we stayed four nights at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers.

We secured these accommodations at lower rates due to our Hilton Honors status and the off-peak season in August (aka extremely hot, and no one is there, for good reason). There’s no denying these were lovely accommodations and we’d stay again in a heart beat, but I’m not sure we’ll get so lucky next time with the rates.

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD IN...

Food & Drink

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is uae expensive

Total: $316

Average: $39.50 per day

Average: $19.75 per person per day

During our stay in the UAE, we mostly relied on street food, particularly enjoying the local shawarma. Due to so many immigrant workers, many options exist for affordable and delicious food in the UAE. So you’re getting delicious local Indian, Bangladesh, and Pakistani food.

Additionally, we were fortunate that our hotel package included breakfast, thanks to our status as Hilton Honors Diamond members. These factors contributed to a relatively low daily food and beverage cost.

Transportation

Total: $403

Average: $50 per day

Dubai Average: $57.25

Abu Dhabi Average: $43.40

Transportation in the UAE, specifically within Dubai and Abu Dhabi, can vary in cost. For travelers, options such as Uber are available, with rides typically costing between $10 to $20. 

We rented a car for half of our trip in Abu Dhabi since we wanted to visit a few places that didn’t have easy public transportation stops. Renting a car was cost-effective option at $26 per day, including insurance, with DiscoverCars. However, be aware of automated ticketing systems that can result in unexpected fines. We paid $45 for a parking ticket that we didn’t learn about until a few days later. We got lucky with the price since speeding tickets can go upwards of $1,500! 

Public bus services provide an affordable alternative, with a bus from Dubai city center to the Abu Dhabi airport costing $10 per person one-way. However, extreme heat during certain times of the year may encourage more use of private transportation for comfort.

Excursions

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uae trip cost

Total: $275

In the UAE, the cost of excursions can vary widely, depending on the activity. If you are on a budget, there are plenty of free activities to enjoy like admiring the amazing water show at the Burj Khalifa or strolling Corniche Beach in Abu Dhabi. There are even some incredibly unique experiences like indoor skiing or renting a private boat, that won’t break the bank! 

We scaled back a little on the excursions and only spent money on roller skating in Dubai and visiting Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi (both indoor activities). The total cost for these experiences during our trip was $275.

Top Activities in the uae

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Personal

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abu dhabi travel cost

Total: $132

Personal expenses in the UAE can vary widely, but shopping is a popular activity due to the presence of the world’s largest mall in Dubai. We ended up spending $132 on personal items, mainly due to spending a lot of time in malls to escape the heat. So, while you can find a wide variety of goods and luxury items, it’s important to budget for this if you plan on doing any shopping.

SIM Card

Total: $46

The cost of acquiring a SIM card in the UAE was $46. We used Airalo, an e-SIM service, to get data on our phones. While the service was a bit pricey, it offered reliable and excellent service without having to go through the hassle of finding a SIM provider. Plus you can keep your US SIM connected! 

Travel Insurance

Total: $20

Travel insurance is a crucial component of planning any trip, including to the UAE. During our trip, we spent a total of $20 on travel insurance, prorated from our monthly expense of $45 per person with SafetyWing, our recommended provider. SafetyWing’s insurance coverage typically includes medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, and other unexpected emergencies. It’s vital to have this safety net for unexpected situations, and the cost can vary depending on the provider and the coverage you choose.

For a weekend getaway or a long-term adventure, SafetyWing has you covered. They cover medical accidents, lost luggage, emergency response, and natural disasters. AND it’s affordable!

Total UAE Travel Cost - Dubai + Abu Dhabi

Total: $1,955

Average: $244 per day

Average: $122 per person per day

Total with Flights: $2,450

In summary, this blog post provides a detailed breakdown of our total costs for traveling in the UAE, specifically in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The total cost was quite significant, coming up to $1,955 without flights, and $2,450 with flights included. The average daily cost was around $244, or $122 per person per day. However, it’s worth noting that these costs could have been even higher if we had traveled during a more popular time of the year. Despite the expense, we were able to enjoy a wide range of experiences, from roller skating in Dubai to visiting Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. There are also many free activities and affordable street food options available which can help to save money. However, travelers should be prepared for the high costs associated with this destination.

uae travel cost - 8 days

Our Total:

$1,955 for 2 people

Daily Total:

$244 per day for 2 people; or

$122 per person per day

Value for Money:

This post was all about our UAE Travel cost from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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