Dubai! It wasn’t planned or in my head until I received an email from TravelZoo alerting me that Emirates was having a sale! I flew direct from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Dubai (DXB) for $626. YES. You read that right. 626 USD round trip! I stayed at the Roda Al Murooj in Downtown Dubai for roughly $120 a night with taxes included. My hotel was right across the street from the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. It was an 8 minute walk or 2 minute taxi cab (for the lazy people out there like me). The Dubai Mall has an aquarium, movie theatre, crazy amount of restaurants at an affordable price, ranging from $10-20 a meal, and 1300 retail stores (both high-end and budget friendly). Now understand, Dubai is in the desert and it gets sizzling hot throughout the summer months. Off season to fly into DBX is from the end of April until November. I went in the beginning of May right before Ramadan. It was around 92 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. But no worries, because even in the outdoor malls, there are AC vents constantly blowing refreshingly cold air while walking through. It doesn’t feel like walking in Hell’s Kitchen!
For the women out there that are worried about going to Dubai because it’s a Muslim country, DON’T! I felt extremely safe in the vast majority of places I went to. Now, understand that you can wear jeans and a tank top and be fine. But I do recommend not wearing revealing cleavage or super tight bottoms (think short shorts and mini skirts). I went traveling with another woman and we both wore similar clothing styles.
What to do in Dubai?
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can go indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates or go dune bashing in the desert.
I went Dune bashing on a 4×4 and it was so exhilarating terrifying that I thought the car was going to flip over the huge sand dunes, yet miraculously everyone made it out alive. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY but with a neck brace on to keep my neck secure without feeling it snap. Afterwards, we went sand boarding, which is like snowboarding but on the sand. There were camel rides offered too! It was my first time on a camel and I didn’t realize how high you’re up there, until they go up from the “sitting” position. A buffet style dinner was served afterwards and it was delicious. The belly dancing show was a nice touch.
If you’re into hop on hop off buses, those are great to cover as much ground as possible in a one day time frame. Although I do recommend waking up early and getting on the buses as soon as they start because there are 4 different routes and there is so much to see and do, like the gold souk and the spice souk. Souks are traditional Arab marketplaces. Now word of advice for women in the old part of Dubai, you may feel uncomfortable as men will yell “shakira” (pretty lady) to you from every stall. It’s a bit of a dodgy atmosphere if you’re a solo western dressed woman, so either go with another person or go when its a busy time. Now, I was wearing loose fitted pants and a tank top but with a large scarf wrapped around my upper body, covering my arms, chest, and torso.
I went to Abu Dhabi for a day trip so that I could see at least 2 out of the 7 Emirates. A bus tour took a group of us to see various attractions such as Ferrari World, Heritage Village, and of course the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which was every bit of amazing as I could ever hope. Now, if you need mosque attire, the tour guide can provide one to you at about $3 USD.
Can’t forget about the Burj Khalifa! It is the tallest building in the world at 163 floors up, but there’s observation decks on floor 125th and 148th. The price difference is roughly $50 from the 125th floor to the 148th, depending if you buy the tickets directly there or if purchased online through a 3rd party retailer. I went to the 125th floor and it was freakishly high enough for me! It gave stunning 360 views of the city. It was definitely worth it to go up there. From the top, you can see all the construction that the city is going under.
How Much To Budget For in Dubai
- Hotel :120/night for 4 nights is $480
- Flight: $626 roundtrip
- Food: 3 meals/day at $12 each is $180
- I spent less by just buying coffee and a pastry for breakfast.
- You can spend less by just buying two big meals during the day and just snacking through out the day on granola bars and fruit.
- I also didn’t spend money on food the day I went dune bashing, so I only spent $160 including tip.
TOTAL SPENT : $1295
If you go solo and don’t split the hotel room, it would be $1535, but if you split the room, your 5 day trip in dubai comes out to $1295!