When your flight to Dubai arrives, you’ll find yourself in the second-largest emirate in the seven United Arab Emirates. Dubai has significantly grown from its modest beginnings as a seaport city to one of the world’s biggest financial centers and high-trafficked luxury beach resorts. Dubai offers visitors a little sass and sophistication in Southeast Asia, while at the same time holding firm to its Muslim roots.
Once an unassuming port town content on pearl diving as its main form of financing, Dubai has grown into one of the glitziest tourist destinations on the planet. Today’s travelers book flights to Dubai for a little excessiveness in the lap of luxury. From world-class boat races to breathtaking air shows, Dubai continues to attract millions of visitors every year. But the seasoned traveler booking trips to Dubai knows a thing or two about doing it right; a cheap flight to Dubai means a lot of extra money to spend in this first-rate shopping destination. Everything in Dubai is duty-free, and for many travelers this translates into guilt-free.
Often nicknamed the “Vegas of the Middle East”, Dubai is much more than a town filled with hotels and flashing lights, however. Admittedly, everything here is larger than life and it’s true that some of its shopping malls verge on being ostentatious. But if you look beyond its shiny exterior you’ll discover a tiny emirate that has everything you could ask for in a vacation. Miles of white sandy beaches provide great spots for a barbeque or for simply relaxing beneath a palm tree, while adrenaline-seekers can go para-sailing or jet skiing instead. And since many travelers take cheap flights to Dubai because it acts as a hub to stopover on route to Asia, why not stay a few days – or a week – and explore all that this desert city has to offer.
Dubai’s shopping malls and souks surmount any in the region and are usually the first stop for travelers. The Mall of the Emirates is the largest and has an indoor ski slope, the first of its kind in the Middle East; while Deira’s Gold Souq has an extensive selection of Indian and Arabian gold.
Considering its size, towering skyscrapers like the world famous Burj Khalifa, and glitzy ambiance, it’s incredible to think that Dubai was little more than a sleepy fishing village just a few brief decades ago. The city has experienced some incredible boom times and tourists flock there for premium entertainment and excitement. If you are looking to escape the winter for more hot weather, a cheap flight to Dubai is all you need. Here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy the smoothest possible trip to this remarkable city.
Dubai is scorching hot and sunny, as you would expect from the desert. Summer days’ average eleven hours of sunshine per day with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. On the hottest days, the temperature can reach 120 degrees! Evening temperatures drop to the 70’s and low 80’s, but the humidity rises to an uncomfortable level. Between December and March (winter), daytime temperatures average from the upper 60’s to the low 70’s, with cooler evenings. Even the spring and fall remain quite hot, with temps averaging between the 70’s and low 90’s. Rainfall is limited, but the accumulation Dubai receives falls mostly from December to March, with February being the rainiest month.
Sunseekers needing some vitamin D should book cheap flights to Dubai for a short break or stopover en route to their final destination. In terms of beach weather, this desert city has two seasons, hot and hotter. Blue skies and sunshine abide all year round, and the temperatures average in the mid-60’s and 70’s in the peak tourist season of November/December to March (winter). Expect to bump elbows however, as Dubai’s cooler (yet still quite warm) weather during this period attracts visitors from all over the world for a little retreat to one of the island’s luxury beach resorts. The Christmas holiday period and the short time after it are when prices are at their highest. Flights to Dubai are easy to come by though since this is the hub for the airline Emirates, which has flight routes all over the world, and is a popular stopover for Kiwis travelling to Europe. Book flight tickets and accommodations well in advance and keep an eye out for Emirates flight sales.
June through September, especially July and August, are uncomfortably hot and humid in Dubai, as one would expect from the desert. If you don’t mind hanging out in air conditioned hotels you’re most likely to find the cheapest flights to Dubai during these summer months, and you’ll escape the large crowds. The weather isn’t optimal for sightseeing unless you go outside very early in the morning or at dusk however. Be sure to wear lots of sunscreen and drink lots of water, regardless.
Also, Ramadan is a Muslim month of fasting and is strictly adhered to throughout the United Arab Emirates. During this time, it is illegal to eat, drink, or smoke in public from sunrise to sunset. The dates of the holy fasting month of Ramadan change each year, so it pays to note the dates. It’s easy to find cheap flights to Dubai and discounted hotel accommodations during this time.
Book your flights with the temperature in mind. Dubai’s climate is consistently hot throughout the year, so if heat isn’t your thing it would be better to look for flights between October and April, when it is a bit cooler than the other months of the year. However, this is also peak season when flight ticket prices rise. For the cheapest flights to Dubai look at booking six months in advance with low-cost airlines that fly indirect routes.
You may also want to choose a time of year to book your flight based on the cultural events going on in Dubai. For example, the Dubai Shopping Festival, a shopaholic’s idea of paradise, takes place between January and February. It’s not only famous for its large shopping discounts, but its music concerts, fashion shows and children’s events also attract tourists from all over the world every year. The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is a world class golfing event that has proudly hosted the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, so it’s no surprise that golf fans seek out cheap flights to Dubai in February to be part of the event at the famous Emirates Golf Club. Finally, the Dubai Jazz Festival plays host to a fantastic lineup of artists and aims to spread the city’s love for jazz to all of its visitors.
Dubai International Airport has plenty of direct flights to and from major cities around the world. Expect flight times of about twelve hours from New York, just over thirteen hours from Chicago and about sixteen hours from Los Angeles.
You can fly directly from the United States to Dubai with Emirates, as Dubai International Airport serves as one of its hubs. Delta and United Airlines are also options. If you’re taking a trip to Dubai from somewhere international, check flight options with carriers such as Air France, British Airways, etc.
Dubai has two types of weather – hot and very hot, so pack light clothing that lets your skin breathe, such as cottons and linens. It’s important to remember that in many parts of Dubai, conservative clothing isn’t just the norm, it’s required. Unless you’re at the pool or the beach, always wear long pants instead of shorts, and choose a top that doesn’t show much skin.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the primary airport serving the city of Dubai and is the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic. Dubai International Airport (DXB) is located about 2.5 miles southeast of Dubai city center, and a little over 8 miles from the main downtown area where the Burj Khalifa is located. Because of its location, getting from the airport to central Dubai is very easy.
The airport has good public transport connections. Outside terminal 1, there is a bus stop across the road to the right as you exit customs; at terminal 3, there is a bus stop on the second level of the terminal. It’s important to note that you cannot pay in cash on the bus from the airport (or in the city, for that matter), so you will need to buy a NOL card, which is an electronic payment card that works by touch-and-go technology. NOL cards come in four different colors, each with different access to modes and frequency of transport: silver, blue, gold and red. The silver card is the best option for those who want to travel regularly between different points in the city.
In addition, two lines of the Dubai Metro travel between the airport and the city center. Taxis and limousine services are a popular alternative, albeit more expensive, while many hotels offer free shuttle transport from the airport, but, in many cases, you will need to arrange this in advance. All major brands of car rentals are available at the airport as well, with pickup and drop off locations in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
Once you’ve settled in to your hotel and are ready to explore, you’ll find that tourists usually choose to make their way through Dubai by taxi. The privately owned taxis are the only ones allowed at the airport and are not metered, so you will have to agree on a fare before departing. Metered taxis can be found everywhere else and will be beige-colored with uniformed drivers. You can also get around by bus; buses crisscross the city and routes are easy to decipher. Routes are printed in both Arabic and English and discounted tickets offer unlimited travel on one or both sides of Dubai Creek. The Dubai Metro is also available as a public transportation option, and is very clean and easy to navigate as well. With an NOL card, you can use it to travel around the city with ease. Walking is the best way to see the older parts of Dubai, where you can visit the souks and museums. If you need to cross the creek, abras (water taxis) are convenient and provide a nice view of the waterfront. Pay your fare once you’re afloat. Many people also rent cars to get around the city. Please note that you drive on the right side of the road in the UAE.
The architecture in Dubai is stunning, and there may not be a more impressive example than the Burj Khalifa. Standing over 2,700 feet high, it’s the world’s tallest structure, and also holds many other interesting records; for instance, it offers the tallest mosque in the world. Its observation decks are the perfect places to see the city; the view is phenomenal and you can plan out the rest of your explorations. To get the best deal, reserve your tickets for the observation deck ahead of time, because it’s much less expensive than buying them at the skyscraper.
See the natural beauty of the surrounding desert by visiting the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The desert is home to wild gazelle and oryx, so you can get some great shots for your scrapbook. Just make sure you bring bug spray to keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay. If you’ve ever dreamed of riding a camel, this is the place you can do it. Visit the city from November to March and you can watch camel races every Thursday and Friday night at the Dubai Camel Race Course.
Religion is a significant part of Dubai, and while mosques typically don’t allow non-Muslims, the Jumeirah Mosque has tours open to the public. Tours start Saturday through Thursday at 10 AM and include an assortment of tasty snacks, including dates and pastries. Make sure you dress modestly to respect Muslim customs, or you can borrow traditional attire while you’re there.
The temperatures in Dubai are ideal for visits to the water park, and the city has three options with Atlantis, WildWadi and Yas Waterworld. They all feature rides, waves pools and super-high water slides, so you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose.
If you want to continue your trip after Dubai, Cheapflights can get you the best deals wherever you want to go. Emirates Airlines can take you back to the United States, or you can catch a flight to more international destinations. Visit https://www.cheapflights.co.uk for the top flight deals for routes out of Dubai.
You can get to Dubai International Airport on a taxi or bus, but the ultra-modern Dubai Metro provides the nicest ride. The airport is one of the busiest in the world, so it’s smart to get there early.
Once you choose a destination, be sure to check out our Dubai airport guides for more detailed travel information and helpful tips.