Dubai is special to me, and I’ll tell you why in a moment. Before I get into it, I should disclose that this post is probably going to be a long read – so bear with me while I try and get you through my thoughts.
At the end of 2014, Angela and I had figured out that we wanted to start a blog, and we knew we were planning to do it together. Up on the list of the things we knew we needed was cameras, and it so happened that we were planning a trip to Dubai. We stacked up our shillings, and saved up to make sure we had enough money to buy twin cameras, and when we finally made it to the shopping malls, we spoke to one of the shop attendants, and they talked us through the specs and what the different cameras could do. We ended up settling for two Canon 1200D cameras. It will soon be three years later, and we haven’t needed to replace them. Dubai was also one of our first blog posts, and looking back at it, I can’t help but reflect on the growth of the blog. To say the least, I’m sentimental about this city.
Now, bearing in mind the fact that we’ve spoken about it on the blog before, I challenged myself this time round to think of things to talk about, that you haven’t read about on here before, and I came up with a hacked list. My thinking with this is that I’d like for you – if you’ve never been to Dubai, or if you have been and wasted a ton of money and time, to know what to look out for to save up on both your time and money. Here goes:
November is sales month. That’s a biggie! Everything in the malls and in town is dropped down in price to between 40 and 60 percent. Black Friday (or White Friday as they call it) also falls in November. My advice to you is to save up on your shopping money, and use it for experiences. Whatever you buy will eventually get old and thrown out, but your memories will not. November is also winter in Dubai meaning you can walk around outside without getting scorched by 45 to 50 degrees centigrade sun. This means you can go to the beach, walk through the streets and do a whole lot more than you would in the hotter months.
Take the metro:
By day two, we realized that we were spending somewhere between AED 200 to 300 per day whizzing through the city in cabs, and we needed to do something about it. The Dubai metro is quite easy. Walk into any metro station, look for the information desk, and find out about your options. By taking the metro, we sat down and saw the town, learnt how to get around, and got a better, more authentic feel of the city. Here is a fun fact. Dubai’s metro is divided into two sections. One for men, and one for women and children. If you are a man and you end up in the women and children section, you get fined AED 100.
Buy drinks in duty free:
I obviously do not mean sodas and juice. Wine, whiskey, you name it is affordable and accessible in duty free, so stock up on it and keep it in your hotel room mini fridge. After that, to get a drink, you’ll need to go to a hotel that has a license to sell alcohol to get drinks. You’ll also find drinks at the stalls in the dessert safari, but needless to say, both of those options are expensive and should only happen if you are treating yourself. Obviously you can’t walk into a supermarket and get drinks, unless you know someone who has their own license – and those are not easy to come by.
This is one thing you’ll most probably do if you end up in Dubai. However, I want to prep you for what no one really tells you before you go. Navigating and riding the sand dunes is rough. Its like being on a roller coaster ride, but being acutely aware that at any moment your car could roll over and you might die. The difference between a roller coaster and the desert safari, is that one is automated, and one is being driven by a human being (meaning one is more likely to have an error). As soon as your ride is done and you step into the desert, it’s hot as hell. (This does not apply if you travel in November). The checkered scarves, horse rides, camel rides, and quad bikes come at a cost and they range from AED 10 to 50. The dinner they serve in the desert is nothing to write home about so you might want to eat before you get going. You’ll have entertainers like belly dancers, and fire breathers, and you just might run into randomly good company too.
Have you been to Dubai? Do you know of any hacks I may not have mentioned? Please leave them in the comments section below.