A Week Solo in Dubai on a Budget

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Advisor - Sara Nixon
Curated By

Sara Nixon

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Dubai

  • City Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Nightlife

  • Entertainment

Advisor - A Week Solo in Dubai on a Budget
Curator’s statement

I was between jobs and wanted to travel. It was also the tail end of the pandemic, and many of my friends were not ready to travel. I found myself researching the best options for solo ladies travel and learned came across Dubai. Of course, when I told my mother I was traveling to the Middle East solo, she freaked out so I had to educate her. Did you know that the UAE is one of the top ten safest countries in the world for women traveling alone?

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Day 1: Arrive at Dubai International Airport

A highway in Dubai surrounded by skyscrapers.

Arrive in Dubai, get to your hotel and get some rest! Luxury transfers are available (of course, it’s Dubai!) but this was more of a mid-range budget trip, so I just called an uber. Wait to sleep until Dubai evening hours to adjust to the time zone; this will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

Day 2: Explore the Old City

A Week Solo in Dubai on a Budget - Day 2: Explore the Old City

A guided walking tour of the old city is a great way to begin your stay in Dubai. I enjoyed learning about Muslim culture and Dubai city history. We explored the spice and gold souks; I loved the fresh, cool, hibiscus tea. The tour lasted about three hours and it was fabulous. This is three hours of being on foot, so it may not be the best option for those with injury or walking limitations.

Day 3: Dubai Mall, Aquarium, and the Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline at sunrise.

The Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world; it’s absolutely insane. I visited twice and got lost both times! If you enjoy shopping and have the budget to spend, you can probably spend an entire day at the mall. The Dubai Aquarium is located inside the mall, so it’s easy to add this to your itinerary. Admission was approximately $35, but I think they are getting close to $50 now, so still budget-friendly. Not surprisingly, this is one of the largest aquariums in the world and home to thousands of aquatic animals.

There are plenty of restaurants at this location (inside and outside the mall), that are very affordable. My lunch was about $30.

The entrance to the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, is also located inside the Dubai Mall. There are various packages to choose from (VIP with champagne, for example); I selected the basic option and that was enough and very enjoyable for me. My ticket for 2022 was approximately $60. Stop by the gift shop on your way out. I usually don’t purchase many items from gift shops, but I found their chocolate-covered dates stuffed with almonds irresistible. I bought four boxes as gifts!

Day 4: Beach Club Day

Sara at Dubai Beach Club

Any trip to Dubai would not be complete without seeing the world’s only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab. If your budget allows you to stay here, do it! This was not in my budget, but I did splurge on a day pass at the Sal Beach Club located on site at this marvel of luxury. A day pass was around $250, but you can use 50% of that as a food and beverage credit. This pass buys you a personal lounger with sunshade, a few bottles of cold water and a button for all-day food and beverage service. It was a day of luxury, without blowing my entire trip budget.

Day 5: Explore the Dubai Marina

View of boats passing under bridge with buildings in the background in Dubai

The Dubai Marina is simply breathtaking. It’s the largest human-made marina in the world (shocking!)

Brunch, especially Sunday brunch, is big in Dubai. I decided on Asia Asia, a lovely restaurant overlooking the Marina. My multi-course brunch with champagne was about $70; it was an amazing experience!

I highly recommend exploring the Marina via boat; I did a day/sunset and evening dinner cruise and both were fantastic! If you have a finer taste for food, you may be disappointed with the food offered on the dinner cruises, so book the sunset cruise and have dinner elsewhere.

Day 6: Desert Safari or Day Trip to Abu Dhabi

Mosque in Abu Dhabi at sunset.

Spend a day or half a day on a desert safari cruising sand dunes on an ATV, sandboarding, BBQ and even camel riding! Some tours also offer henna painting for ladies.

If dunes aren’t your thing, take a day trip to Abu Dhabi. Explore the Emirates Palace, the Grand Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Ferrari World.

Day 7: Departure

View from Plane window

On the final day, make your way to Dubai International Airport to return home.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Joanna Nathan's guide, Local's Guide to Abu Dhabi.

Advisor - Sara Nixon

Travel Advisor

Sara Nixon

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This is part of our ongoing series on travel to Dubai, and our longer series on travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).