Dubai has been put on the map by its sleek, modern architecture, designer shopping, and knack for making the seemingly impossible, possible. This is an ever evolving city, so we’ve put together a collection of Dubai travel tips to make your next trip a breeze.
This United Arab Emirates state brings together spas, international cuisine and Middle Eastern culture to create a unique metropolis ranging from mainstream luxury to serious opulence.
There are many great places to visit in Dubai, from the towering Burj Khalifa to the city’s creek. Whether you want to bag a designer buy or enjoy thrill seeking adventures, here are some Dubai travel tips for affordable luxury.
Affordable luxury travel tips for Dubai
1. Skip airport queues
Landing in a new country with the prospect of long queues at passport control will not get your break off to the right start. For just £22, you can skip the lines with personal escort service, Marhaba.
Services range from the straightforward bronze service to fast track you through immigration, to an elite level for business travellers and family transfers, which includes the assistance of a porter.
What’s more, you don’t even need to hang around for your baggage, it can be delivered direct to your hotel by Marhaba.
2. Travel in summer
Winter is peak tourist season, owing to milder average temperatures of 23°C while summer temperatures reach a decidedly steamy 41°C.
Travel between April and October is still feasible despite the hot weather. Most indoor attractions, restaurants and hotels have air conditioning, to make the temperature bearable. And with a vibrant nightlife, you can head out in early evening when it’s much milder to explore the city’s attractions.
As a rule mid-May to the end of July, and the last week of August to the end of September are the best times to find an affordable luxury hotel deal.
We compared a five night stay at the five-star Fairmont The Palm, and shaved 34% off the rate for dates in summer.
3. Use your Avios and shop around for summer flight deals
Collect points with Avios? Check for the latest deals to grab yourself a better flight. Until 7 August 2016, you can save 25% on flights to the Middle East with Avios and British Airways for flights until 11 December 2016.
Also in early summer, many airlines release their late deals on flights, for example Royal Brunei’s summer specials from London Heathrow to Dubai start at £322 return, so if you can hold out until early summer to book you can find savings of at least £200.
4. Champagne lunch
A lunch with unlimited champagne is one of our favourite Dubai travel tips. The four-hour marathon Friday brunch at Yalumba at Le Meridien combines a buffet and à la carte options for just £76.
The restaurant is closed for renovations until October 2016, but with a brand new look and a fabulous brunch offer, we think it will be worth the wait.
5. Check official tourism sites for discounts
Visit Dubai is a great resource for ideas of where to visit and discounts. Check the website before you travel to discover discounts on Dubai attractions, such as 25% off helicopter tours and a 2-for-1 offer on a dinner cruise aboard a Dhow.
The Entertainer is another good option, with a website and app tailored to find you deals on attractions and restaurants.
6. Download discounter apps
The Visit Dubai and the Dubai Calendar Apps are free offering travel guides and deals to make the most of your city break.
For unbiased reviews of Dubai’s fine dining scene, download the Foodiva App which includes food features and events during your visit.
Lime and Tonic is another great app to deliver you insider tips and unique city experiences, from brunches to special events and exclusive offers. For example, you can book a five-course tasting menu of signature Japanese cuisine at the world-renowned Nobu for just £78.
Think of it as a Groupon for Dubai, but also remember to update your Groupon app location to Dubai – the travel and lifestyle discounter also has offers available in the city.
7. Enjoy the views
Visit the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck on the 124th floor to enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf, and book a decadent afternoon tea at the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel to experience serious Dubai luxury.
Attraction Tickets Direct offer both experiences, plus pick up and drop off from your hotel for £192, compared to buying on the day which totals approximately £187, and that’s without the round trip transfers.
Even if you favour Burj Khalifa’s At the Top experience, it is best to book well in advance. Not only can the attraction be very busy, but tickets on the day are up to four times more expensive than if you book online ahead of your visit.
Alternatively, book a table at At.mosphere on the 122nd floor where you can have sundowner cocktails choose from a fine menu while soaking up the view away from the crowds.
8. Make shopping personal
Look no further than Dubai for luxury shopping experiences – only with a difference. Hiring a personal shopper is the way to go, and when you book at selected hotels in the city, it comes free with your stay.
Shopping is one of the top things to do in Dubai and there are always great deals to be had in the city’s malls, boutiques, souks and outlets.
Time your visit for just after Christmas for the Dubai Shopping Festival, held until 28 January 2017. During this time retailers offer incredible deals. Download the Dubai Shopping Festival App to grab further discounts.
In the city’s souks, haggling on price is expected so never accept the first price offered to you. For affordable jewellery head for the new gold souk in Bur Dubai, the city’s first and only wholesale jewellery souk to browse from the world’s very best jewellers.
9. Buy your alcohol before you leave the airport
Alcohol is notoriously expensive in Dubai, so make use of the airport’s duty-free on arrival. The limit is four litres of wine or spirits per adult or 48 cans of beer. With a fine selection of wines at up to 30% less than in the city, splurging on a special bottle makes even more sense.
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What’s your Dubai travel advice? Leave your top tips or recommendations of the best places to visit in Dubai in the comments below.