May 15

Is the United Arab Emirates an affordable destination?



The first time I became aware of the UAE and I looked up some pictures and descriptions I immediately got the impression it was something way out of most travelers leagues, including my own. The hotels looked so lavish, the restaurants so lofty and the one of a kind world class services offered made it seem like a theme park for the uber wealthy one percent of the one percent of society.



Don’t get me wrong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other rising Emirates are indeed the world’s epicenter for top jet-setters, but the United Arab Emirates is also an affordable luxury destination,


What to Expect:

The UAE is an ideal destination for travelers and tourists who like me want the most for their hard earned vacation. The ideal experience of the Emirates includes the place where you stay, the things you buy and the cuisine one will taste. The vast number of hotel chains, jaw dropping presentations of top luxury brands  and the diverse expatriate crowd working in Dubai brings a combination of food and cultural traditions that contribute to making these experiences so special.


Getting In and around:

It should be noted that flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi are well connected across the globe. The carriers Emirates and Etihad are certainly accomplished airlines whose signature services is amazing. There is a plethora of other airlines from which to choose. For deal seeking travelers who want to enjoy luxury at the same time, look for a summertime ticket. It is always my preferred time to fly. The weather can be hot, but 90% of your day is going to be indoors anyway in the beautifully air conditioned spaces of these booming cities.


Car Rental:

One of the most affordable ways to get around. First of gas is extremely cheap. Expect to fill a standard car with $20 USD. Roads are wide and plentiful, soon you will find yourself zipping along with the locals in the hour or so that it takes to move from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and beyond. Every hotel we’ve stayed at or even just visited offers complimentary valet service as well.



Depending on the time of year and with the overall level of service you can easily get hotels for hundreds of dollars less per night than what their counterparts would be in any other major world city. There are simply so many hotels to try for such great prices that it feels overwhelming. St. Regis, Raffles, Waldorf Astoria, JW Marriott, One and Only, the list goes on and on. Decor, room space and included services are abundant.



Malls are the essential social space in the Emirates. It is the marketplace of yesteryear only now set in skyscrapers and refreshing air conditioning. The prices here are wonderful. I often go looking for specific items I want. I always keep in mind prices from outlet malls in the U.S. or affordable shopping in Asia and it is here in the Emirates that I consistently find good prices on the highest quality luxury brands. Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall and dozens of others can have you entertained for weeks.



Hotels are host to some of the most eclectic concentrations of food around. In the same hotel one can find Lebanese, Korean, Mexican and more. What is more, these places again offer affordability without sacrificing any of the culinary talent of a New York or Tokyo. For instance my last visit featured a stop at The best Lebanese restaurant in the country (in Abu Dhabi) with a meal for two not breaking $80 USD. Here the world converges and you don’t have to have deep pockets to get in on the beautiful variety.




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