People have often asked me if I’m secretly a trust fund baby since I seem to travel in luxury the majority of the time but I have a regular job just like everyone else. So for the first time ever, I’m sharing all of my secrets for how I manage to travel in luxury while still travelling on a budget!
A lot of these tips are applicable generally to travel, no matter where you are based or where you plan to travel to!
Make sure to check out some of my other helpful articles about Dubai after this one:
6 incredible destinations that are easy to fly to from Dubai
17 hotels with stunning views of the Burj Khalifa
12 fantastic restaurants with views of the Burj Khalifa to take your guests
16 hidden gems in the Middle East to visit
How to save money on Emirates flights
So one of my first personal “hacks” for the region is to book flights from my home country rather than from Dubai. I usually fly with Emirates and my flights can be up to 50% cheaper by booking them this way round. Since Emirates frequently do offers from the UK to encourage holiday makers to Dubai!
So how does this work? Well, I usually travel back home twice a year. So I book my outgoing flight for the summer and my return for Christmas. Then when it gets to about 6 weeks before my outgoing flight, I book my return from Christmas and plan the next flight back out again. Usually May or August.
Insider tip – Why 6 weeks before? For flights, the cheapest time to book is usually 6 to 12 weeks before your flight date. Also it’s best to book on a Tuesday or mid week as often airlines will hike prices up on the weekend when they know most people will look.
Why not check the price of a return right now with Emirates from your home country to Dubai and see how much you’ll save?
How to save money on Business Class flights
If you’re wanting to travel business class then one of the most affordable for the region is Qatar Airways who frequently do special offers for their business class options. Yes you’ll have a quick stop in Doha but if you keep an eye out for deals I’ve seen business class flights offers starting from $999 USD (3670 AED)
You can have a look at Qatar Airways stunning Qsuite here
Though one thing to remember, third parties are able to offer lower flights prices than booking direct. However if there is an issue with your flight, you will need to deal with the 3rd party not the airline. Making it more difficult to change or cancel.
Sadly these cheaper third parties may not have the best customer service and refunds can take much longer even if the airline cancels the flight.
Outside of Covid this was rarely an issue but now with many travel plans changing or even airlines cancelling flights regularly. It’s best to book direct. As typically you only save around 250 AED (£50-60) on an international flight. So for peace of mind, I tend to use Skyscanner at the start of my search, comparing dates and airlines but then book direct. Typically how much it will be direct is on Skyscanner, so you can just click that link instead of the cheapest.
I commonly use this website myself to find the best rental deals for my destination. I find it’s typically cheaper the more in advance you book a car. Rentalcars.com compares the prices from all the big providers so you know you’re getting the best price!
Insider tip – I recommend to book at least 1 week in advance as prices typically increase the closer you get to the date you need your car.
Hotels & Accommodation
What I love most about Marriott is they have a wide range of hotels and even their affordable options such as Aloft do not forgo many of the little luxuries you enjoy in a premium hotel. Such as having a modern well equipped gym with a nice view and a roof top swimming pool. They also tend to be super modern and have nice little touches such as universal plug sockets & built in USB sockets in case you forgot your adapter!
Marriott includes brands such as Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, W Hotels, St Regis, Westin, Le Meridien, Renaissance, The Edition, Autograph Collection, Fairfield & Moxy.
PLUS! When you book direct, you get 1 night free for every 4 nights you book (so 5 nights for the price of 4). Check out what hotel options are available for your next destination with Marriott here
Want a luxury hotel but on a budget? This website has select luxury hotels where you can save up to 70% off normal rates. They also have a price guarantee. There’s not many websites focused on finding holiday deals for those who live in the Middle East. However this one is tailored for those in this region, just select UAE, KSA or Qatar.
Also if you’re struggling to know what to buy someone, they have gift cards available and can choose from a multitude of luxury hotels.
So my favourite hack for Booking.com is to order the hotels as “Best reviewed & lowest price” which orders the hotels on value. Often if you do the cheapest option it means having to scroll through pages and pages before you reach the kind of hotels you want. This options saves you money and makes it so much easier to find the best hotels at the best price!
So these are some of the travel hacks I use to help save money when I’m travelling and how I save myself some money in a region that’s typically pretty expensive! Have you got some awesome travel hacks you use to save money? Tell us in the comments below!
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