Cost of Living in Dubai: Housing, Transportation and Food (UPDATED for 2018)

Cost of Living in Dubai: Housing, Transportation and Food (UPDATED for 2018)

Cost of Living in Dubai: Housing, Transportation and Food

If you plan to live and work in the UAE, one of your priorities will be to ask yourself what is the cost of living in Dubai and which salary you will have to earn to live well in Dubai.

This information is critical even before looking for a job. Unlike many countries, there is no minimum wage in Dubai. What you will earn as a salary in Dubai depends largely on your negotiation skills.

The estimate of your salary will be one of the questions your interviewer will ask you. Make sure you  give an average amount in dirhams (AED), and determine under what salary it isn’t worth coming to live in Dubai. This will avoid many disappointments!

While the amount needed involves a lot of other factors, such as if you are alone or with family or if you like eating out and going to the numerous Dubai brunches, the cost of living in Dubai depends mostly on three things: housing costs, transportation costs and food and beverages spendings.

If you have kids, don’t forget to factor in school fees. These can be taken care of by your employer and it’s strongly advised to negotiate them in your salary package as school fees can be extremely expensive in Dubai.

Where is Dubai?

What to consider in the cost of living in Dubai

The cost of living in Dubai will depend on three main factors.

1. Rent in Dubai

This may be the biggest expense that you need to consider. The market of real estate fluctuates a lot in Dubai, and rents are very expensive. As Dubai growth has been exponential the last few years, rent prices have been increased significantly as well.

Here are the estimated costs in August 2016:

  • 1 Bedroom apartment in JLT: between AED 70,000 and AED 100,000
  • Studio in Marina: between AED 60,000 and AED 80,000
  • 2 Bedroom apartment in Downtown Dubai: between AED 130,000 and AED 160,000
  • The villa has 3 bedrooms Jumeirah 3: Between AED 200,000 and AED 300,000

Dubizzle  and PropertyFinder are examples of popular site used to find an apartment in Dubai. In addition, using AirBnB when you first arrive is a great way to find some cheaper options while you settle in. 

Dubai Currency

2. Transportation in Dubai

You have many options to choose from as to your mode of transport in Dubai (apart  from walking!)

Transportation in Dubai: Getting a car

First, determine if you need a car. Unless you need one for work purpose or live far away from your workplace, try and wait for a couple months until you are settled to buy your first car in Dubai.

If you have a family or if the car is required for your job, you can rent a car for the first few months to adapt to Dubai roads and driving habits.

Note that if you need a car as part of your work, it will normally be provided by your employer, so don’t hesitate to include it in your package if you need to attend a lot of meetings for example.

Petrol prices in Dubai are pretty cheap in Dubai: count AED1.73 for Super 98 and AED 1.76 for Diesel as of August 1st 2016.


Transportation in Dubai: Dubai taxi

Taxis are widespread in Dubai and cheap. They are available 24/7 and present everywhere.

You can call or simply hail them on the street.

The taxi fares in Dubai are cheap. As from August 14th, 2016, 5 miles will set you back 26.09 AED, and as an example going to Dubai airport from Dubai Marina will cost you about AED100 .


Transportation in Dubai: Metro / Bus / Tram

There is a metro card / tram / bus called NOL Card, rechargeable, allowing you to take public transportation for cheap.

A metro area will cost AED 3, and you can cover a large distance in a zone.

Complete Guide to Drinking in Dubai

3. Cost of Food in Dubai

You food spending in Dubai can fluctuate greatly depending on your needs. If you cook and eat at home most of the time, the food budget will be way lower than if you decide to eat out and go for drinks on the weekend.

But be careful if you buy pork (not available in Carrefour or Géant!), cheese, alcohol or other imported goods which are rather expensive (AED 30 for 12 strips of bacon!).

To buy food in Dubai,  you will find French chains (Carrefour, Géant) and English (Waitrose, Spinneys, Marks and Spencer) and loads of small local grocery shops in residential buildings which is very convenient.

You can also order food from the grocery shop at pretty much any time and for anything, even a pack of water and a bag of ice!

Pretty much all restaurants and fast food joints deliver all over Dubai and you can order food sometimes 24/7.

However, eating out is another story. Restaurants in Dubai are known to be of quality, but also quite expensive.

There are two types of restaurants: local restaurants, situated more towards Old Dubai, which are cheap and plentiful and don’t serve alcohol, and the licensed restaurants situated inside of 5 stars hotels in Downtown and Dubai Marina, which can be much more expensive.


Here are the parameters to take into account when you make your budget to live comfortably in Dubai. Remember to take in account a few extras (going out, shopping etc) and you get an estimate of what salary you need to live in Dubai.

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Cost of Living in Dubai: Housing, Transportation and Food


  1. Anna Lemes says:

    Hi my name is Anna, i´m brazilian and I received a job offer to work in Dubai. But I have no idea if what they are willing to pay will be enought. Can I send some email about living cost and live experiance for you?


  2. MB rajendraprasad says:

    Hello sir recently i got new job in Dubai.this is fist time to go to i don’t know what type of cost of living in Dubai .So kindly please suggest best way …

    • Hi, that is a very hard question to answer without knowing anything about where you work, live or the lifestyle you live. Luckily, in Dubai there are people living and working comfortably on all spectrums. Good luck!

  3. Mike says:

    It very strange to see that if one lady asked you that what is the cost of living you hasp said that plz mail and you will be happy to reply but when a man asked you showed the cold shoulder horrible. I fact man needs to have more trouble.


    • Are you kidding me Mike? Do you know how many comments we get and how hard we try to answer each and every one, across all of our social platforms? The idea that you think we are intentionally being sexist against men is absurd. If you have a question, please feel free to ask it and I will go out of my way to make sure it is answered.

  4. Princess says:

    Hello sir
    Am princess by name,a nurse from Nigeria.
    I’ve gotten an offer as an assistant nurse with the salary of 3000aed and accomdation. Please, will that amount be enough for me to survive and save pending when I will get UAE nursing license which will qualify me for better pay.


  5. Hello 

              It’s my pleasure to mail you for more enlighten on live and work in Dubai. I received an offer letter from a sponsor as a private driver and the agreement was to pay 1400dirham as monthly salary accommodation and feeding will be provided by the employer but all this was not stated in the offer letter. My concern is that does the 1400dirham monthly salary enough for me to live in Dubai and hope no implications since those provision was not stated by the sponsor in the offer letter. Though the offer letter has been signed by me and scan back to him because I was given limit time to read, sign and scan back to him for further process…. 

    Thanks and hope to hear back from you soon

  6. patrick says:

    hai iam patrick i would like to visit dubai for one week and do not have idea what type of currency have carry and how much.If i use travellers card is it worth or exchange aud to aed in uae airport.can you give good ideas ,thank you.

  7. Rey says:

    Hello! My cousin told me that 700aed is enough for me to live in Dubai per month, is it true? Housing will be provided by the company. I haven’t accepted their offer yet, still need to research everything just to make sure. They offered me 4300aed starting salary. Thanks!

  8. Ajit Kumar Srivastava says:

    Hi Ajit here from India got offer from dubai (associate manager position ) for job and they offer me 6800 AED per month with accommodation in DIP 2 AREA , Please suggest me how much expense in food and transportation and how much i save monthly ,This salary is ok for me please suggest and guide me

  9. Ajit Kumar Srivastava says:

    Hi Ajit here from new delhi india and got job offer in DIP 2 Dubai for associate production manager in food industry and they have offer me 6800 AED per month with sharing accommodation with one person , this salary is how is ?how much i spend there and how much i save for family please let me know .
    and plz let me know this package is ok ???

  10. Ajit Kumar Srivastava says:

    Ajit here from new delhi india got job offer in DIP 2 Dubai for the post of associate production manager in food industry and they offer me 6800 AED with sharing accommodation with one person in this salary how much spend for food ,transport and phone and how much i save for family
    this salary is ok as per my post please let me know and suggest shall i accept this offer ????

  11. Jitendra Jain says:

    Hi, I m jitendra and I get an offer of 12000 aed only.

    Is it enough to spend a good lifestyle in please suggest me is this salary enough with saving in dubai

  12. Marco says:

    Ciao, my name is Marco fm Italy and I am offered a job in Dubai. We did not talk in details but they advised they are thinking something around 100/120.000 usd yearly, which is around 360/420.000 aed. First year I will not take my family with me but wonder if this amount is enough for accomodation, school and residing in Dubai. Thanks for your reply and assistance.

  13. Pragya says:

    Hello pragya this side
    I am getting an offer of 5500 AED without accommodation.
    Although i didn’t clear this accomodation thing, i wll be soon talking to them but most probab its without..i am a single girl and can get adjusted with average kinda lifestyle in start but wanna know if 5500 is okay without accommodation and CAN i save within this amount..
    Are there existence of like single room pgs instead of 1bhk etc…and will be living there poorly in this amount..?
    Hope to get reply soon, i need to negotiate wid company
    Thanks 🙂

  14. fraz says:


    Hope fine and really very informative all above. what is the living cost after VAT. means the average persons whose salary would 4000-5000 AED.

  15. PA says:

    hi There.. I am getting an offer of 40k AED/Month to work in Dubai as IT specialist. I have travelled whole world for work but I do not have any exp of this side of the world. is this enough?


  16. Tee Aich says:

    Hi, i got the offer letter for 16000AED without accommodation. We are a family of 4 i.e. Me, Wife and 2 kids (both school going). My lifestyle is normal. Please suggest me is this enough and can we save within this?

  17. UD says:

    Is 14000 aed per month a good salary for a bachelor in Dubai. Planning to live near Dubai Marina Area (or u can suggest any good area). And also what is the cost of food per month in Dubai. My lifestyle is very simple. How much can I expect per month cost?
    Thank u in advance

  18. Ahmad Anas says:

    Hi there, great day to you, it is pleasure to see that you have been replying many email with regards to the topic, hope your kindness will be repaid back. Just wondering, I’m getting about 20k AED as a professional coming from oil and gas background with single status, what do you think about this offer, would I able to have comfortable living there? Ie. renting an apartment with at least 2 rooms and eating outside most of the time. Above all, I just wanted to be out experience working in Dubai and make a lot of saving for my retirement….

  19. Manish Kumar says:

    i am single and I got offer with 10k AED in Deira Dubai. Is it enough to live middle class life in Deira Dubai and how much money i can save?

    Thanks in Aadvance…..

  20. William Munro says:

    Hi I’ve been offered a job in Dubai the basic is 15k per month plus medical. I do enjoy going to restaurants a couple of times per week. Would this 15k be enough to cover my living costs as well as being able to go to restaurants a few times each week? Also what would be the average monthly living cost for one person who lives on their own please?

  21. Amazing post.I have been to Dubai many times.It is wonderful place for traveling.Some place are magnificent in Dubai.Thanks for sharing tips regarding Dubai.It will be useful for us.Thanks for the post.Keep sharing.

  22. Daz says:

    I got an offer for 37,000 AED per month, is this enough to support my wife and I and also be able to save some money?
    Thanks a lot!

  23. Sandeep says:

    I am planning to find a job in Dubai, I am married and having 1 kid, want to know how much salary is sufficient to live in Dubai with 3 member and with little saving and what should cover in salary package while accepting job offer
    My life style is normal and belongs to middle class family.

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