7 tips for first-time travelers in Dubai

Estimated read time 9 min read

[vc_row el_class=”container section”][vc_column el_class=”row”][vc_row_inner el_class=”row”][vc_column_inner][expatmedia-landing-article title=”landing article”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner el_class=”col-md-8 “][vc_column_inner el_class=”col-md-8″][expatmedia-article-content body_text=”Tax-free commodities, a plethora of entertainment options and frequent sale seasons can be distracting to anyone who might want to save money in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE.

However, it is possible to live a financially fit life in the emirate, and save extra cash for your security. Here are top 15 tips:

15. Plan your yearly holidays so you can buy your airline tickets in advance. Airline tickets are usually cheaper when bought at least six months ahead of your travel date. Also, try booking online at around midnight when some airlines offer “midnight sale” on seats. You can also subscribe to airlines’ email alerts so you’ll always be the first to know of any promotions.

14. When sending a considerable sum of money home, don’t go with the flow. Exchange rates are usually high at mid-month or end of the month because this is when people receive their salaries and are likely to remit money. If possible, wait when the exchange rate dips (which means you get more peso for your dirham) before you send money to the Philippines.

13. Prefer to buy quality, used items that you need. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new furniture, unless you want to. There’s plenty advertised on online classifieds, or in second-hand stores in Dubai. Another Filipino favourite is the bi-monthly flea market in Safa Park.

12. If you don’t have accommodation or transportation paid for by your company, rent a place that is closer to your workplace. You can save time and money if you are spared a long commute.

11. Plan your trips using public buses or the Dubai Metro. The fares are a fraction of what you would spend compared to riding a taxi. If you must have a car, it is more economical to buy one in good condition (to spare you from maintenance woes) than lease one. However, make sure you have free parking space, and factor in yearly costs like vehicle registration renewal, vehicle insurance and toll fees.

10. Look for free entertainment. Beaches or parks are great places to unwind and entertain yourself with friends or family. You can also check out free shows and events at the malls, particularly during the shopping festivals.

9. If you are living alone or renting a shared apartment, it might be a good idea to buy cooked food in small portions from supermarkets and hypermarkets like Carrefour, Spinneys or New WestZone. You can ask for servings within your budget. This way you are saving time and effort from preparing your food.

8. If you must cook, include more vegetables on the menu. They’re cheaper, quicker to prepare and healthier, too.

7. Regularly check supermarkets and hypermarkets for special offers or deeply discounted prices on stocks for clearance. Most Filipinos head to Baqer Mohebi for discounted prices on boxes of chocolates to ship home, while New WestZone or Al Maya Lals are the go-to places for cheaper Philippine food items. For other commodities, check out three of the biggest hypermarkets in the country: Carrefour, Lulu and Geant.

6. Shop, dine or get service from establishments that offer loyalty points or rewards. Also check out offers on deal websites. There is usually a buy one get one offer on leisure trips, restaurant meals and other deals.

5. Get a pre-paid internet subscription on your smartphone that will allow you to use software like WhatsApp, Skype or Viber so you can call or message folks back home for free anytime, or when you are feeling homesick.

4. Try not to eat out frequently, but when you do, don’t be embarrassed to have your leftover food packed so you can eat it at home later.

3. If you can’t wait to do your shopping during sale season, shop at outlet stores instead (ask the store staff for the location). A more popular destination is the Outlet Mall, which houses all the outlet stores in one mall.

2. Don’t use a credit card, unless you can pay what you owe in full before interest accrues at the end of the month. But remember: It is always better to spend only what you have.

1. Save a portion of your salary. Always. The money you save now is not just for your retirement, but it can also be a much-needed fund for emergencies.” byline=”Ma. Faith Destacamento” caption=”A view of the Dubai skyline.” credits=”ARCHIVE”]

7 tips for first-time travelers in Dubai

Dubai, the dazzling gem of the Middle East, invites wanderers from all corners of the world to experience its modern wonders and rich cultural heritage.

Before embarking on your journey to this amazing city, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the customs and etiquette that form the heart of its unique charm. Embracing these traditions will not only ensure a seamless adventure but also showcase your respect for the local culture and traditions.

1. Keep public displays of affection in check:

While holding hands is generally acceptable, public displays of affection beyond that might be frowned upon. Show restraint and respect for the local norms.

2. Know the photography dos and don’ts:

While it is generally okay to take pictures or film in public places in the country, always ask permission if you are taking photographs of other people, especially of women and families. The UAE law makes it clear that taking a person’s picture without their consent or in legally permitted circumstances shall be considered an invasion of that person’s privacy. Violators face confiscation of their camera, plus a fine and possible jail time. Be careful not to take photos of videos of restricted areas, such as military camps, palaces, courts, embassies and government buildings. Offenders can be jailed and fined up to Dh5,000.

3. Tipping:

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated in Dubai. A small tip for good service at restaurants or hotels will be well-received.

4. Mind what you say:

Avoid making loud or offensive comments about local customs or culture in public. Insulting or defaming people are serious crimes with penalties that include jail time and a fine of up to Dh500,000.

5. Respect religious sites:

When visiting mosques or other religious places, dress appropriately and follow any rules and guidelines in place. Also make sure to respect religious symbols and avoid inciting hatred by insulting religions, otherwise you could land in jail.

6. Don’t throw your garbage anywhere:

In Dubai, littering and spitting in public, including tourist spots and nature reserves, are considered an offence and residents caught tossing their garbage will be given a fine ranging from Dh500 to Dh1,000. Eagle-eyed inspectors will be around to fine violators. For motorists caught tossing their trash out on the street, the fine is Dh1,000 and six black points in their traffic file.

7. Learn basic Arabic phrases:

While English is widely spoken, locals appreciate the effort of foreigners speaking a few Arabic phrases like marhaba (hello) and shukran (thank you).

By following these tips, you will not only have a wonderful time exploring the marvels of Dubai but also leave a positive impression on the welcoming locals. Let the city’s magic sweep you off your feet as you immerse yourself in its captivating culture and embrace the essence of Dubai’s hospitality. MFD/Expat Media


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