Living in Dubai: Understand the Cost and Lifestyle before you move

Photo of Dubai, at JBR, showing the high rises at the back, and a camel at the beach at the front of the photo

Ah, Dubai! The glittering and glamorous city that has become a magnet for expats worldwide. It's an exhilarating step to move to such a bustling hub, but what exactly are you getting into? Well, hold on tight, because we have got you covered with this guide to expat life in Dubai.

In this post, we will answer some common questions about life in Dubai from the perspective of an expat. From the lifestyle and cost of living to interesting facts and unexpected aspects of the city, let's dive into what you can expect from moving to Dubai.

Lifestyle: How is life in Dubai?

Nestled in the heart of the desert, Dubai beckons with a lifestyle that's both unique and dynamic, tailored to suit diverse interests and preferences.

It’s not just luxury
The city boasts of luxurious amenities, modern infrastructure, and a vibrant social scene, ensuring expats can savor a cosmopolitan lifestyle with world-class restaurants, high-end shopping malls, and a bustling nightlife. But that’s not all there is. The city boasts of pristine beaches, stunning architecture, and a plethora of recreational activities, including desert safaris, water sports, and golfing.

People from all around the world
Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, creating a rich and diverse environment. Expats can revel in the opportunity to mingle with people from across the globe, experiencing a tapestry of cuisines, traditions, and festivals. One of my favourite things about Dubai is that many cultures co-exist peacefully, and no matter where you are from, the city welcomes you with open arms.

A very family-friendly city
Dubai is a safe and secure environment with low crime rates, making it an ideal place for families to settle down. The city is filled with world-class healthcare facilities, top-notch schools, and an array of family-friendly activities and attractions. In fact, many of the expats who move to Dubai relocate with families, so you can expect to find plenty of family-oriented neighbourhoods and activities available to you.

Yes, it gets very hot
One of the very few downsides of living in Dubai is that it gets really hot during the summer months. We’re talking about a constant 40ºC heat. However, the city is very well equiped to deal with it. There’s aircon absolutely everywhere, and a really large range of indoor activities to do during the summer months. Tennis, clubbing, swimming - You name it! I mean, they even have an indoor ski site… It’s called Ski Duba - You can google it!

Photo of a family holding hands in Dubai

Cost: How much do I need per month to live in Dubai?

One of the common questions that expats have when considering a move to Dubai is the cost of living. While Dubai can be an expensive city, it offers a range of options to suit different budgets. Accommodation, transportation, and dining out can be significant expenses, especially in prime locations. However, there are also more affordable areas and options available.

It's important to note that the cost of living in Dubai can vary depending on individual preferences and lifestyle choices. While some expats opt for luxurious accommodations and dining experiences, others choose more budget-friendly options.

To give you an idea, you can rent a room for as little as AED 3,000 or a bed space for less than AED 1,000. But you could also find that a luxury one-bedroom can ask for AED 10,000 per month.

Equally, you can get to work by public transport for as little as AED 5, or ride a taxi for AED 60, of course, prices will vary depending on the distance.

So, when assessing how much you need per month in Dubai, you’ll need to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of property do I need?
  • Where do I want to live? (The more demanded the area, the more expensive)
  • What will be my primary mode of transportation?
  • Will I cook my meals or will I eat out most days? (Food ordering is huge in Dubai)
  • Do I need to send my kids to school? If so, what kind of school do I want to send them to?
  • What do I want to do for leisure?

Once you have answered each of these questions, you can look up the average prices and understand how much you’ll need to earn to live comfortably in Dubai. You can also use our Dubai Cost of Living Calculator to calculate your monthly expenses in Dubai in just a few clicks.

Drawing of two people operating a huge calculator to calculate living expenses

Try the Cost of Living Calculator for Dubai

Interesting Facts

  • Dubai is a city of contrasts, where modern skyscrapers stand alongside traditional souks and desert landscapes.
  • Arabic is the official language of Dubai, but English is widely spoken and understood.
  • Despite being located in a desert, Dubai has a thriving beach culture. The city is home to some of the world's most luxurious beach resorts - A very popular weekend activity is to go to a Beach Club!
  • Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. The crime rate is very low, and it is common to see people leaving their cars unlocked and their belongings unattended.
  • Dubai is known for its extravagant shopping malls, which offer a wide range of high-end brands and luxury goods. In fact, it’s home to the biggest shopping mall in the world -The Dubai Mall.
  • The city is also home to some of the world's most iconic buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the Burj Al Arab, the world's most luxurious hotel.
  • Dubai has a rich cultural heritage, which is celebrated through various festivals and events throughout the year.
Photo of Dubai at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Sure, moving to a new city can be a bit of a challenge, but hey, fortune favors the bold, right? So, if you're up for some wild times, let Dubai be your playground! The land of glitz, glamour, and a big mix of cultures. Whether you're all about the high life or looking for a cultural adventure, Dubai has got you sorted. Get ready to soak up the sun, meet people from all around the world, and create memories that'll last a lifetime.

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