Yes yes, you deserve to be in Dubai, shaking your ass in thongs on a yacht. But do you know how to do it all on a budget? No? Well, we’re here for you with an estimate of how much the visa fees, ticket, accommodation and a bit of enjoyment costs for a Dubai trip.
In May 2022, I travelled to Dubai with a ₦600k budget to take care of hotels and flights, and $1000 (₦425,500) for the nine days of the trip. Ideally, the visa is the first thing to sort out, and it typically costs ₦70k. But due to the Nigerian factor and how much our compatriots have messed up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the government put out restrictions on Nigerian male travellers.
The policy basically states that travellers under 35 years of age require parental consent before visas are issued. That means you’d have to apply for a visa for you and a parent with a considerable age difference who bears the same surname. But 35-year-old married men are exempted. All you need to do is apply using a marriage certificate.
The people who don’t fit into either category, like me, pay ₦185k as visa fees. That’s more than a 100% increase from what it was in 2020. The visa was issued a week after, and I paid for my flight. Qatar Airways cost ₦336k for a direct flight.
I stayed at Studio M Al Barsha Hotel region for nine days. I chose it because it’s more residential, and it’s easier to access food from there. As opposed to more central areas like Bur Dubai or Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), it was more affordable. 1300 Dirhams (₦150,597) covered my hotel fees; the additional taxes rounded it up to 1500 Dirhams.
I spent a lot of time at the Dubai Mall shopping for clothes at Zara, American Eagle and Gold Shouk, a more traditional market in Al Dhagaya. Everything rounded up to $1000 (₦425,500), but my biggest splurge was on the gold jewellery for my family and a few friends at Deira market.
Deira market is also the place to buy Nigerian food. I got tired of eating biryani ( basically white rice with egg and chicken concoction) and Chinese in the morning, afternoon and night. I think the spot is called Enish. I can’t remember how much I spent, but it was a lot more than what the pounded yam and egusi would be in Nigeria. I’d say it’s worth it though.
After draining my pockets on clothes, gold and food. I went into the fun activities; everything from Ski Dubai to the Dhow Cruise, which cost about 300 Dirhams (₦34,753) each. But the thing I’d recommend to try first is visiting Aqua Park and dune bashing in the Safari — they’re so thrilling! The museum of the future is also a good spot for tourists. It felt out of this world being there. So, these activities came down to $1500 – $2000 (₦638,250 – ₦851,000).
If there was anything I wish I was more prepared for, beyond the money I spent on shopping alone, it would be speaking English in Dubai. English felt useless over there because most locals didn’t fully understand what I was saying. So it’s either you get a tour guide or speak broken English. For instance, rather than say, “Can you take the four of us to Dubai Mall”, you may want to say, “Dubai Mall, four people, you go?” Just random stuff to ease communication.
My whole trip was a little over $2000 (₦851,000). The visa cost ₦75k and that didn’t include the required travel insurance. But to avoid the hassle of getting it myself, I got an agent. The only thing I did was book my flight with Emirates which cost about ₦380k. I think the ticket was more expensive than normal because I bought it a week before my departure date.
For my accommodation, I was going on a girls’ trip to celebrate my sister’s birthday, so we really wanted to splurge. We stayed in the central business district. It was a prime area around the Dubai International Financial Centre and compared to locations downtown, the area costs a lot more. But we were splitting three ways, so it wasn’t bad. The room was $120 (₦51,060) per night for each of us, and we were there for eight days. So, if you’re alone and you want to be in the central area, you need to budget at least $300 – $500 (₦127,650 – ₦212,750) per night for the basic luxury rooms. Airbnb is the easiest platform to book a place.
We had a friend who got us Nigerian food from Deira market. I think I ate more Nigerian food in Dubai than any other type of food. We also visited Enish, a bar that served Nigerian food. But most of my money went into shopping and Uber fares.
I got most of the clothes I wanted for my kids from Deira market and did a bit of shopping in Dubai Mall — everything cost about $1000 (₦425,500). For cabs, I was spending between 30 – 100 Dirhams (₦3,475 – ₦11,584) depending on the distance.
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Also, read this if you’re thinking about moving to Dubai: “Living In Dubai Is Not Expensive If You Stay In Your Lane”- Abroad Life