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Prices in Dubai - is it an expensive destination?

Prices in Dubai - how much do things really cost? Is the city as expensive as everyone says? Yes, and no. It's a destination where you can spend a lot of money - but that doesn't mean everything is expensive. You can travel to Dubai without going broke.

Prices in Dubai - how expensive is it?

In a city that attracts millionaires, billionaires, celebrities and jetsetters from all over the planet, there is of course the opportunity to spend as much money as you like.

You can stay in hotels that are more expensive than anywhere else, you can eat in incredibly expensive restaurants, and you can shop for international luxury brands that of course cost a fortune.

But you can also pay prices that, roughly speaking, correspond to what goods and services cost at home in Sweden. Sometimes it's actually much cheaper. Check here:

Prices in Dubai - some examples

  • Ride the metro: 5 SEK
  • Take a taxi boat (abra) across Dubai Creek: SEK 2.50
  • Take a taxi about 3 kilometres: 25 SEK
  • Simple lunch: 40-80 SEK
  • Simple dinner: 60-100 SEK
  • A large beer in a pub or restaurant: 70-90 SEK
  • A standard meal at McDonalds: 60 SEK
  • Cinema ticket: 100 SEK
  • Petrol, 1 litre: SEK 5.50

But - what is expensive in Dubai?

When you look at the examples above, Dubai may seem like an affordable, even cheap, destination. Except for the beer, that is. The point of the examples is to show that it is possible to get away cheaply in Dubai, but that requires you to seek out the cheaper options.

To stay in a hotel in Dubai is expensive, prices are among the highest in the world. If you also choose to eat most of your meals at the hotel, or at other hotels, then it gets expensive.

Often this is where you end up, as only hotel restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol.

If you're thinking of skipping the wine or beer with your meal, there are plenty of cheap restaurants in the city.

Often, Indian, Pakistani or Lebanese restaurants serve very good food at prices significantly lower than at home in Sweden. There you have a way to make Dubai less expensive.

Another way to save on travel funds is not to shop so much.

Dubai has a reputation as a great shopping destination, but it's all about the huge range of mainly luxury brands and expensive goods. It's never cheap. You'll shop for clothes at better prices when you're back home in Sweden.

Another thing that is actually expensive in Dubai - unfortunately - is experiences.

To visit Burj Khalifa, go on desert safari, take a dinner cruise or do any of the things that tourists in Dubai often want to do, it costs a penny. And it's hard to save up for, because you want to see and experience things on your trip.

The link to the dollar affects

One thing that very much affects how expensive it is for us Swedes in Dubai is, although it may sound strange, the Swedish krona's relationship to the US dollar.

The currency of the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, is called the Arab dirham and is abbreviated AED, sometimes also DHS.

The AED is pegged to the USD and follows the ups and downs of the dollar. So if the Swedish krona is weak against the dollar, then it is extra expensive in Dubai.

When the krona rises in value against the dollar, it becomes cheaper to holiday in Dubai.

Footnote. Price examples are based on the exchange rate in September 2018.

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