USD 100 Per Day : How to Plan Your Dubai Trip Smart

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What would a USD 100 per day Dubai trip look like? Well, you can do a lot more than expected. Don’t be disillusioned by the luxury hotel, car, or lifestyle show in the commercial.

Dubai travel is not expensive and fun. As little as a USD 100 budget per day in Dubai can bring you a variety of experiences and joys.

There is a lot to do in Dubai on a budget and I will list on top choices for you to DIY your Dubai itinerary. Each day requires less than USD 100 per day.

General cost in Dubai

Despite the reputation of being the top luxurious place in the world, the general cost in Dubai can be surprisingly low. You can have a very good meal at a local restaurant for less than 5 USD. The public transport is very well developed there and a single short journey is only around 2 AED ( ~ 0.6 USD). While there are a lot of 5-star or even 7-star hotels, you can also find a hostel offering ~ 10 USD per day in the old Dubai City area.

In that, you can easily have a Dubai budget per day for lower than 100 USD, while having a lot of joyful experiences.  I spent 6 days in Dubai (the optimal days to spend there), I spent less than 600 USD, and had a lot of fun. USD 100 per day Dubai trip is totally possible and does not feel like budget travel at all. To some extent, it is even cheaper than South Asia trip like Thailand and Vietnam.

You may find my DIY budget 6-day itinerary for Dubai below.

Day 1:  Exploring Old Dubai & Dubai Mall (Virtually Free)

When visiting Dubai, it’s important to experience both the city’s historical roots and its modern, ultra-luxurious developments. In that, the first on our list would be exploring Old Dubai City which includes landmarks such as the AI Fahidi Historic District, Gold Souk, and Spice Souk.

Starting from AI Ghubaiba Metro station or AI Ghuaiba Marine Transport station, you will enter the AI Fahid Historic District. There you will find a lot of ancient alleyways, traditional wind towers, art galleries, and other cultural centers for Emirati heritage.

You can plot your way to Dubai Gold Souk passing by Spice Souk from there. On your way, you will find the most traditional environment of Dubai. Once you enter the areas of the Souks, you will find various souvenir shops nearby. Additionally, in the Gold Souk, you can find many jewelry shops; some even have the legendary gold iPhone for sale.

All these landmarks are within 40 minutes walk. On top of that, the area also has a lot of economical traditional cafes or restaurants making it the best place for your experience at a good price. For example, I took a hearty choral chicken meal with traditional sides for only 15 AED (~4 USD).

There is virtually no cost for exploring the Dubai Old City, yet you will get a lot of good experiences and photos from there.

At night you can explore the famous Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping and entertainment complexes. The scale of this place is truly jaw-dropping – it houses over 1,200 retail outlets, an aquarium, an ice rink, and even a 22-screen movie theater.

While there are a lot of charged options in the mall, there are also a lot of free items to explore. For example, instead of going into the aquarium, you can view the large tank from the 2nd floor of the mall without paying a penny. In fact, some may even say the view is better there.

There is also a free fountain performance each day for every 30 minutes starting from 6 pm to 11 pm. The best view was said to be from the Apple shop where you can watch the show via the windows with air conditioning. Other than that you can also take a look at the candy-making factory at Candylicious World for free.

For dinner, there are plenty of options at the food court, not to mention the whole mall has free wifi for your usage.

 Jumeirah Mosque Visit & Dubai Beaches  (around 10 USD)

On the second day, you can visit the most famous mosque in Dubai – the Jumeirah Mosque. It is one of only a few in the UAE open to non-Muslims, it provides an invaluable opportunity to learn about Islamic architecture and culture.

Located in the upscale Jumeirah neighborhood, the mosque is an absolute architectural masterpiece. Constructed entirely from stone, it features classic Islamic design elements like ornate domes, minarets, and intricate carvings. The main prayer hall is particularly striking, with its towering central dome and ornate mihrab (the niche indicating the direction of Mecca). The attention to detail, from the geometric patterns on the floors to the stained glass windows, is simply breathtaking.

Two daily visit programs are starting at 10 am or 2 pm except for Friday. No pre-booking is required and the registration starts 30 minutes before the program inception. During the program, the mosque guide will explain in detail the mosque’s history, details, and traditional Muslim practices. Furthermore, there will be unlimited Arabic tea, coffee, and refreshments provided. The program cost is 40 AED(~ 10 USD). You can check the official website for details.

After the mosque visit, I would suggest you visit both Jumeirah Open Beach and Umm Suqeim Beach. Both are public and free.  

The longest public beach in Dubai is Jumeirah Open Beach. It runs from the Dubai Marine Beach Resort to the Four Seasons. A bustling boulevard packed with skaters, joggers, and cyclists runs along the strand. This beach offers showers and toilets, and chaises and parasols are available for rent. Beach kiosks sell drinks, snacks, and ice creams.

Meanwhile, Umm Suqeim (aka Sunset Beach) is the best spot in Dubai to watch the pale pink sun sink behind the billowing ‘sail’ of the landmark Burj Al Arab Hotel. In terms of facilities, the contrast between the world’s only ‘7-star hotel’ and the public beach next to it is enormous. There you can take the best IG photos for the sunset/night with the 7-star hotels.

Day Tour For Sunset Quad Bike at Desert Safari (~63 USD)

On day 3, we will explore the Dubai desert via a day tour. There are plenty of affordable options on different online travel agency platforms. Most of them include activities in the desert, transports from and back to your hotel, a live show, a camel ride, and a buffet dinner.

For example, I use this one from Viator that includes 30-minute quad bikes at Red Dunes Desert, camel ride, sand boarding, Henna tattoos workshop, live show, free Shisha, and a dinner buffet with unlimited water and soft drinks.  

Dubai Sunset Quad Bike Safari With Camels, Live Show, Dinner 2024 (

The desert adventure is quite impressive. First, the ATV is faster than I expected. The desert view is great for photos. The other activities including the buffet are situated in campsites with different tents. The free camel ride (despite it being around 3 minutes and in total 2 camels) is not a bad experience. The buffet is sufficient with good meat and vegetables. You can enjoy the free drinks and shisha while watching the local performances.

It would help if you chose the tour package with sufficient good reviews to ensure a pleasant experience. Most of the tours start after 2 pm, so you should have a good lunch before the inception of the tour.

Day 4: Day Trip Dubai to Abu Dhabi (~35+ USD)

By the fourth day, you shall appreciate the efficiency of Dubai’s transportation system. Its convenience even can take you to Abu Dhabi.

One common question for planning a Dubai trip is how many days to spend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In general, I would say 5 or 6 days for Dubai and 1 to 2 days for Abu Dabi.

Three buses are available daily from Dubai to Abu Dhabi (E100, E101, and E102) with a single trip fare of AED 25 ( ~ USD 6.5). You may refer to more details in the below blog post.

Travel From Abu Dhabi To Dubai via Buses: Prices, Timings & More (

I would recommend you to take E101 which has rides to Abu Dhabi in the morning starting from 5 am, allowing you more time in Abu Dhabi. Each bus ride takes around 85 minutes. The fare can only be paid by Nol Card (the same one you use for Dubai Metro).

There is a lot to see in Abu Dhabi including Sheikh Grand Mosque, Qasr AI Watan, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Heritage Village, Ferrari World, and so on. It is impossible to go visit all in one day.

I chose to visit Sheikh Grand Mosque and Qasr AI Watan during my visit for their uniqueness.

For Sheikh Grand Mosque, it is one of the largest mosques in the world with exquisite marble work and 82 domes. It demonstrates the luxury and economic power of the Country. For visitors like us, it is a great landmark for photo taking and there is no entrance fee.

Additionally, it is open daily with a free tour guide. For more details, you may check the official website.  

Qasr Al Watan is a captivating presidential palace and knowledge center located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Opened to the public in 2019, this impressive landmark has quickly become a must-visit destination for travelers to the region.

The palace serves as the official reception venue for visiting heads of state and government, hosting diplomatic meetings and state ceremonies. Blending traditional Arabic and modern architectural styles, Qasr Al Watan features beautifully decorated halls, libraries, and lush gardens that dazzle visitors.

So you can imagine the feeling of luxury in the place. The toilets inside are even gold-coated and there is even a night show at the public park at night.  It costs 65 AED (~ 18 USD) for the entrance. For more details, you may visit their public website here.

If time allows, you could also visit other landmarks. Remember Nol card does not work in Abu Dhabi, you will need to buy another transportation card called Hafilat Smart Card at 10 AED (~3 USD).

Day 5: Water Adventure at Atlantis Aquaventure (~87 USD)

If you are a little bit fed up with the heat in Dubai, then you should consider doing a water adventure.  Located within the iconic Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah, Aquaventure Waterpark is an immersive experience not to be missed in Dubai. Stretching over 17 acres with access to the azure waves of the Arabian Gulf, Aquaventure is one of the largest waterparks in the region.

I love the water park and I highly recommend it to you. There are multiple exciting slides including The Leap of Faith and Poseidon Revenge. You can find all the recommended slides on the map. Other than that there is a huge beach there, marine life experience, and floating on a large circular raft on the lazy river ride

While it may be a bit over budget given the ticket itself is already 87 USD. However, we shall have saved enough surplus in the previous days. You can check ticket availability at a different travel agency. I used the one on Viator for my visit.

Day 6: Dubai Gold Frame & Ibn Battuta Mall  (Virtually Free)

On the last day in Dubai, you should do some final shopping. There are some budget wholesale souvenir shops located near Dubai Gold Frame. So you can have a visit to this unique and eye-catching architecture and do some shopping.

Designed by renowned architect Fernando Donis, the Dubai Gold Frame is a 150-meter-tall frame made entirely of 24-karat gold-plated steel. Visitors can ascend to the top of the frame via an elevator and step out onto an observation deck but an entrance fee (and queuing would be required). Instead of getting inside, I would recommend you take a photo new the public park of the frame. By doing so you can have yourself and the frame inside the same picture.

The souvenir shops I mentioned are just across the street at the entrance of the Dubai Gold Frame Park .

If time allows, I would recommend you to also visit Ibn Battuta Mall. It is a mall famous for its unique, country-themed sections that transport visitors on a global journey. As you wander through the mall, you’ll find distinct areas inspired by Persia, India, China, Tunisia, Egypt, and Andalusia, each with its own architectural style and cultural touches.

Other than that, it also has the world’s most beautiful Starbucks there. So it is a great place to chill out.


So you should know now, that Dubai is cheap to travel to. A less than USD 100 per day budget can take you to the cultural old city, wide desert, a day trip to Abu Dabi, and even a day in a waterpark adventure. There are limitless to do in Dubai on a budget and it is a place worth visiting.

Regulus K

A budget travel blogger passionate about exploring different destinations worldwide, while balancing a regular 9-to-5 job.

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