Home Lifestyle Travel Dubai travel on a budget: It’s not just luxury hotels and malls

Dubai travel on a budget: It’s not just luxury hotels and malls

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Three decades ago, Dubai was little more than just desert.

But an oil boom in the United Arab Emirates produced unprecedented wealth for the small Gulf nation. Dubai’s rulers have taken that wealth and turned it into a bustling city with things designed to be the biggest and most extravagant of the world — the tallest building, the second-biggest mall, the most luxurious hotel, and so on.

Nicknamed the “city of gold,” Dubai has increasingly become known as a home for the world’s rich.

Last year, around 5,000 millionaires moved to the United Arab Emirates — a figure higher than the number of millionaires moving to Switzerland or Singapore, traditional places for the world’s millionaires and billionaires to park their money. There are now 88,700 millionaires total in the UAE.

With those figures and the Lamborghini and Dom Perignon-bedecked “Rich Kids of Dubai” in mind, one would think visiting Dubai as a budget traveler wouldn’t work out particularly well.

I (Harrison, here!) spent a week in the city in November, along with my travel partner and Business Insider contributor Annie. Our fears were unfounded.

Though Dubai’s tourism board may emphasize high-end shopping boutiques and swanky resorts to would-be travelers, the city’s real attraction is its melting pot of Arabic, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures.




Add in efficient public transportation, a thriving art scene, and an oversupply of five-star hotels giving away rooms at discount prices, and you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.

Here’s what it was like to visit Dubai:

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