Cheapest Time to go to Dubai + Budgeting Tips
Dubai, a gleaming oasis in the heart of the United Arab Emirates is synonymous with luxury, grandeur, and opulence.
With its towering skyscrapers, expansive shopping malls, and world-class attractions, it’s a must-visit destination on many travellers’ lists. But this luxury usually comes with a hefty price tag.
However, since moving to Dubai in 2022, I’ve learnt all the hacks you need to save money when it comes to this desert paradise.
In this article, I’ll share with you the cheapest time to go to Dubai, plus exactly how to save even more money when you arrive!
Spoiler Alert: The good news is that just like many world destinations, there are certain times of the year when visiting Dubai is more pocket-friendly.
So, let’s explore the cheapest time to go to Dubai, with my insider tips. Timing seriously is everything – read on to discover the best periods to book, explore, and indulge! 🌆
Undoubtedly, the summer months of June to September are the cheapest time to go to Dubai.
However, to help you make an informed decision about whether this time of year is actually right for you, I’ve highlighted below the true costs and benefits of travelling to Dubai during summer.
Flights are particularly cheap in the summer due to the dip in travel throughout these months, meaning airlines usually provide promotional rates for flights to Dubai.
I moved to Dubai during the summer, and while it was exceptionally hot, this is a totally underrated time to visit. As well as being the cheapest time of year to fly to Dubai, you’ll also find countless deals on just about everything, including hotels, restaurants and activities, since this is the off-peak season.
For example, in August, we spent the entire day at the Ritz and had spa treatments, afternoon tea, and full use of its facilities for under $100! This felt like the deal of the century!
Lots of hotels offer significant discounts on their rooms during the summer months, sometimes even up to 50% off for tourists! If you’re a resident of the UAE or other parts of the Middle East looking for a short break, tons of hotels and resorts in Dubai offer staycation deals specifically tailored for the summer.
We also found that the majority of restaurants offer awesome deals, including 2FOR1 or 50% off during summer. The same situation tends to apply in relation to lots of tourist activities as well, such as visiting the observation deck of Burj Khalifa, which is probably the number one thing to do in Dubai! I’m so glad we did this during summer, as ordinarily it costs over $100 each!
Since the summer months see a surge in indoor entertainment, generally you will find that concerts, theatre shows, and other events will have promotions or bundled deals. With schools on vacation during the summer months, lots of attractions also offer special deals for kids or family packages.
One of the coolest things to do in Summer in Dubai is attend the annual Dubai Summer Surprises, which is a shopping and entertainment festival, typically running from June to August. It offers HUGE discounts in malls, daily surprise deals, and even raffle draws where you can win big prizes.
So, if you’re looking to visit Dubai on a tight budget, book a summer flight, as this is without question the cheapest time to go to Dubai – prices won’t get any lower than this time of year!
Another massive benefit of visiting Dubai during the summer months is that since there’s a mass exodus of people, you’ll see fewer crowds. If you prefer a less intense experience while shopping or visiting attractions, this is the time for you!
Although summer is the cheapest time to go to Dubai, this also means that airlines reduce the frequency of non-stop flight or routes during this time of year given the decreased demand. This can sometimes lead to less convenient travel options or longer layovers for tourists.
Probably the worst aspect of visiting Dubai during the summer months is the high temperatures. I won’t lie, summer in Dubai is intense! Daytime temperatures can reach up to 45 Degrees Celsius (113 Degrees Fahrenheit 🥵) and coastal areas can get particularly humid, making outdoor activities uncomfortable.
One of our first experiences of Dubai was hitting the beach… mid June…never again! We couldn’t even cool off in the water as the sea temperature felt like a warm bath!
However, I will say that everywhere you go in Dubai, from taxis to shopping malls, is air-conditioned. So, as long as you don’t do silly things like heading to the desert or an unshaded beach in the middle of summer 🙈, you’ll have an amazing trip!
What’s great about Dubai is that there are so many awesome activities you can do that don’t involve stepping foot outside. From swimming with sharks at the Dubai Mall to trying out trendy restaurants, to skiing at the Mall of the Emirates and more! So, I can confidently say that summer is not only the cheapest time to go to Dubai but also an incredibly enjoyable time of year.
PS. Save this post to discover the top 10 most amazing things to do in Dubai!
Ramadan is one of the cheapest times to go to Dubai (though not quite as cheap as the summer months).
In 2023, Ramadan begun on the evening of Wednesday, March 22nd and ended on Thursday, April 20th. However, exact Ramadan dates vary as it follows the lunar calendar.
Below, I’ve set out all the benefits, as well as some disbenefits of heading to Dubai during Ramadan.
Ramadan is a time of reflection and prayer for Muslims. Visiting Dubai during this time allows tourists to witness and even take part in lots of cultural activities. For example, during Ramadan, shopping gets a nocturnal twist! Many malls extend their hours late into the night, and there are special night markets and bazaars that offer an amazing range of goods, from crafts to clothes.
Additionally, if you’re looking for the cheapest time to go to Dubai, Ramadan is a great time to save money. Various sectors offer special deals and promotions to encourage tourism and local spending.
These are some popular Ramadan deals:
- Hotels: We’ve found that lots of luxury hotels and resorts offer significant discounts on their room rates during Ramadan. These often come with added perks like complimentary meals or room service.
- Shopping: Some Dubai malls and stores hold Ramadan sales. Given that Eid Al-Fitr, a significant festival marking the end of Ramadan, involves gift-giving, there are plenty of shopping deals to be found.
- Spa and Wellness Packages: Many of Dubai’s upscale spas offer Ramadan special packages or discounts on treatments. This can be a great time for tourists to indulge in some luxury pampering for less.
- Cruise and Dhow Deals: Traditional dhow boat cruises tend to offer special Ramadan-themed dinners or promotions, allowing tourists to experience the Dubai Creek or Marina in a festive setting.
- Travel and Tour Packages: Dubai tour operators usually offer special packages or reduced rates on city tours, desert safaris, and other popular Dubai activities.
So, as you can see, Ramadan is not only one of the cheapest times to go to Dubai, it is also one of the most interesting!
However, while Ramadan is one of the cheapest times to go to Dubai, it’s essential to be aware of the changed operating hours for many businesses and the cultural sensitivities during this time. It’s a period of reflection and devotion for Muslims, so always approach activities with respect and understanding.
Though Dubai is contemporary and forward-thinking compared to much of the Middle East, it’s still an Islamic country with distinct laws that differ from Western norms. Adherence to strict sharia principles is evident, so it’s crucial to show utmost respect. For example, eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours is not allowed during Ramadan, conservative clothing is also key, which might be difficult for some visitors to handle.
The most challenging aspects of visiting Dubai during Ramadan is that a lot of attractions alter their operating hours and some may even shut for the whole of Ramadan. For instance, nightclubs and bars are generally closed or have limited operations during this time. Also, most restaurants are closed during Ramadan’s daylight hours, and only resume operations from Iftar time (around 6:30pm – 7:20pm, but it varies).
So, as long as you don’t mind being culturally sensitive, Ramadan is one of the most wonderful and cheapest times to go to Dubai.
Shoulder seasons, which are transitional periods between peak and off-peak travel times, generally offer a combination of good weather and attractive deals.
Late April to early May and late September to October are the shoulder seasons in the UAE and one of the cheapest times to go to Dubai.
During the shoulder seasons, temperatures are far more bearable than peak summer and there’s fewer crowds. While this isn’t a “deal” in the monetary sense, one of the best advantages of traveling during the shoulder season is experiencing fewer crowds at major attractions, so you can have a more relaxed experience.
Although this time of year is not as cheap as summer, you’ll often find better deals than during the peak winter tourist season.
For example some of the best shoulder season deals include:
- Hotel Discounts: Dubai hotels often reduce their rates by around 20% in the shoulder seasons to attract guests during this quieter time of year.
- Flight Promotions: Airlines frequently offer promotional fares to Dubai, especially if there’s decreased demand following the high season.
- Attraction Packages: Tourist attractions usually bundle multiple experiences together at a discounted price. For example, a combined ticket for the Dubai Frame, Dubai Aquarium, and At The Top, Burj Khalifa is usually on offer during the shoulder seasons.
- Desert Safari Offers: Desert safaris are super popular in Dubai. During off-season periods, tour operators offer promotional packages that include dune bashing, camel rides, and traditional dinners. For me, this makes the shoulder seasons not only one of the cheapest times to go to Dubai but also one of the most awesome times to visit!
- Dining Deals: Restaurants usually offer special set menus, happy hour deals, or early bird specials to entice visitors.
- Humidity: Late September to October can be especially humid. This humidity can make temperatures feel hotter than they actually are, which at times can make outdoor activities uncomfortable. This also gives me a serious bad hair day!
- Limited Special Events: Dubai is known for its grand events, festivals, and shopping discounts during peak seasons. The shoulder season often don’t have as many of these special events, meaning you can miss out on some unique experiences.
- Less Vibrant Atmosphere: One of the charms of visiting Dubai during peak seasons is the vibrant atmosphere, with streets bustling with tourists and locals alike. The shoulder season, being less crowded, might feel a bit subdued in comparison. Or, depending on your preferences, you might actually love that it’s less intense!
- As hotels and attractions prepare to transition between peak and off-peak seasons, there may be temporary closures or renovations that could affect your experience. For example, when we stayed at a downtown Dubai hotel in September, the pool was shut, which is quite common for this time of year. If you’re just looking for the cheapest time to go to Dubai, and not too bothered about these little details, then the shoulder seasons offer the perfect compromise in terms of decent weather and some fantastic deals.
Dubai Money Saving Tips:
Knowing the cheapest time to go to Dubai is a great start, but read on to save even more money!
If you’re looking for the cheapest time to go to Dubai, my guess is that you’ll also want cheap flights.
To get the cheapest flights to Dubai my best advice is to:
- Book flight tickets as far in advance as humanly possible.
- Use a Virtual Private Network when checking flights (I personally use NordVPN). When you use a VPN, you hide your location and make it look as though you’re browsing from a different country, and by doing this you can often find cheaper tickets!
- Book the flights yourself on Kiwi.com, which is one of the best online flight booking platforms when searching for cheap airfares.
- For the lowest possible prices, mid-week flights can be cheaper than weekend ones.
- Consider flying to Abu Dhabi instead and getting a taxi to Dubai (around 45 minutes away), as we find flights here are usually cheaper than flying directly to Dubai international airport.
- During the shoulder season the savviest time to visit Dubai is September.
Obtaining global travel medical insurance is an absolute necessity when moving to or visiting Dubai. Getting appropriate insurance could end up saving you thousands of pounds and give you peace of mind. Nomad Insurance with SafetyWing is amazing, as it covers emergency medical evacuation and bedside visits, starting at just $42 per 4 weeks. While I hope you never need to use it, it’s there in case of emergencies and could even up saving you thousands of pounds.
Download the Entertainer App! If you’re looking for the cheapest time to go to Dubai you need this incredible app, which makes everyday the cheapest day to go to Dubai 🎉🤪! The Entertainer is basically a discount platform has loads of exclusive offers for restaurants and attractions in Dubai, and it also includes the ENTERTAINER Travel, which gives you the opportunity to stay at the world’s best hotels at a discounted rate! It’s saved me an absolute fortune over the past year 🤑
Consider buying a ‘Dubai Pass‘, which offers amazing discounts on attractions in Dubai. You can choose to visit specific sights and attractions at a discount.
We find decent grocery stores to be pretty expensive in Dubai. Believe it or not, it’s usually cheaper to order food on the Careem app than to buy a load of ingredients at Waitrose!
If you’re looking to save money, explore local eateries or food courts in malls, which are always going to be cheaper than high-end restaurants.
If you’ll be in Dubai for more than a month, stay at hotels that offer long stay discounts. Rove Hotels are a good example, offering discounts of between 20% – 50% when you stay there for a month or more. They also have washing machines and dryers you can use for around $5, which is ideal as hotel washing tends to be extortionate in Dubai. You can also arrange to have packages delivered to their mail box.
To get the best accommodation deals for your specific travel dates I highly recommend using Hotellook, where you can find and compare prices!
While Dubai is renowned for luxury, it’s still absolutely accessible to travellers on a budget (who know the cheapest times of year to go to Dubai). With some flexibility and my insider tips, experiencing the incredible Dubai life, without breaking the bank, is entirely possible!
If you have any further questions about the cheapest time to go to Dubai or any other UAE queries, feel free to ask me in the comments below! 💕
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