For a while now, Dubai has been ‘The place to visit’. People dream of seeing the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, experiencing the Middle Eastern luxury, eating shawarmas and enjoying camel rides in the desert. I have been fortunate enough to experience a short trip to Dubai in April 2013 while I was studying abroad in Finland.
Now I know that many people will think that 3 to 4 days in dubai is not enough and it might really not be but I found ways to make the most out of my short trip and I think that it is definitely something that is possible if you plan wisely. If you were wondering, I am not a millionaire, I don’t get money from my backyard tree and I didn’t work back then. I was a simple student, hungry to see the world after the travel bug decided to bite. I just had a cash that was given (yes given!!!) to me by my university before my trip. $2000 as a support for students going on exchange programs and $1200 for being a Canadian citizen (If this wasn’t great news!!!). So this was the cash I had at my disposal to travel around. Since I was already kinda of an immigrant in Montreal despite my Canadian passport (I left the caribbean where I lived to go study) my parents were already paying for things like an apartment and food, which meant they didn’t mind paying for them abroad since they were basically the same expenses. So I luckily found myself with this free money in hands! Now, if you know a little about all of the countries I have visited in Europe (8) + A trip from Spain to Morocco , you must wonder why and how I decided to jump on a plane and travel to Dubai for just 3 days.
1- I found a relatively cheap ticket
Remember it is all about making sacrifices. As my friend who was studying in Singapore at that time wanted us to meet somewhere, we started looking at ticket prices. $500 for a round trip ticket to Dubai! BUT with a 30 hours layover in Turkey!! EEEK. Not so fun. But it was the only way of getting a ticket for that price. If you pay too much, a short stay won’t be worth it but I knew that compared to the price I would pay from America, $500 was a good deal.
2- We let the hotel take care of the visa
Since I needed a visa to go I started searching for the quickest options. Turned out, you could get a tourist visa from your hotel! I never dealt with such methods before so at first I was kind of sceptical but it all turned out to be fine. If you plan on just staying for a few days, going through a long and difficult visa application will do nothing but discourage you. Ask your hotel if they offer the visa, pay and let them handle it.
3- Make sure you have a list of all the ‘not to miss’ spots
Jumeira beach next to the Burj Al Arab
The Dubai mall
The water show (day & night)
A day trip to Abu Dhabi
Yes it is possible to do all of this in just a few days so plan wisely.
4- Stick to your budget
People think that you need a fortune to go there but truth is, everything is possible with some discipline. We booked a cheap hotel, ate a lot of shawarmas instead of fancy diners, went to Abu Dhabi by bus and we didn’t shop!
Never forget that, yes you need money to travel, but that with some compromise and determination, you can make your dreams come true. Hopefully these 4 simple tips will inspire you and motivate you to save some cash and go see these places you always wanted to see.