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How much will it cost to live in Dubai 2024?

Dubai is an exciting global destination offering a high standard of living, tax-free salaries, and a multicultural environment. However, the cost of living in Dubai can vary greatly depending on your lifestyle choices. This article provides an in-depth look at average costs for housing, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and other basic necessities to help you budget and plan for living in Dubai in 2024.

How much will it cost to live in Dubai 2024?

Housing Expenses

Housing costs typically make up the largest portion of a budget in Dubai, especially if you want to live centrally or in popular neighborhood’s.

  • A studio apartment outside the city Centre starts from 10,000 AED per year
  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city Centre starts from 45,000 AED per year
  • A three-bedroom apartment in a family-friendly area starts from 130,000 AED per year
  • Renting a villa starts from 200,000 AED per year

There may also be additional housing fees such as 5% of annual rent for a housing fee paid to the Land Department. Maintenance and chiller fees are usually also payable.

So in summary, budget from 130,000 AED per year for decent family accommodation in Dubai in 2024.

Transportation Costs

How much you spend on getting around Dubai depends greatly on your transportation method:

Public Transport

  • NOL cards: Fares start from 2 AED per single journey
  • Monthly NOL card: 100 AED, offering savings of up to 15%
  • Taxi journeys start from 5 AED (flagfall) plus 1.82 AED per km
  • Careem and Uber average cost per 4 km: 30 AED

So using public transport is very reasonable, while frequent taxi journeys add costs. Having a car carries additional expenses.

Private Car

  • Compact car purchase: 55,000+ AED
  • Compact car annual registration: 800+ AED
  • Compact car insurance: 2,000+ AED
  • Compact car maintenance: 2,500+ AED
  • Petrol per litre: 2.20 AED

In summary, budget from 5,500 AED per year for transportation costs if using your own car in Dubai beyond purchase costs.

Healthcare Costs

  • Mandatory health insurance premiums through DHA plans start from 500 AED annually for basic coverage up to 5,000 AED for premium coverage.
  • Doctor visit fees range widely from 200-500 AED per consultation.
  • Prescription medications have some government subsidies making costs reasonable.

So basic healthcare in Dubai has become very affordable due to regulation, with budgets from 2,000 AED per person sufficient for everyday healthcare needs. More may be needed for complex cases.

Food and Household Shopping

Supermarkets and restaurants range drastically in Dubai from budget options to extreme luxury. Here is a breakdown of typical costs for everyday food and household items:


  • Milk 1L: 5 AED
  • Bread – white 700g: 3.50 AED
  • Eggs – dozen: 12 AED
  • Chicken – whole: 15 AED per kg
  • Apples – per kg: 10 AED
  • Nappies – 32 pack: 40 AED

Eating out adds much more to food budgets:


  • McDonalds meal: 30 AED
  • Mid-range restaurant main: 70 AED
  • Upscale restaurant main: 150-200+ AED

So for a family, budget 15,000-25,000 AED per year for supermarket shops and occasional eating out. Higher for frequent restaurant dining.

Education Costs

Education in Dubai brings substantial annual fees, though teaching standards are typically very high.

  • Low-cost Indian curriculum schools: 4,000 – 10,000 AED
  • Mid-range schools: 15,000 – 35,000 AED
  • High-end schools: 50,000 – 100,000+ AED

There are limited public school options for expats. Expect intensive admission processes at preferred schools.

In summary, budget from 20,000 AED per child annually for decent mid-range private schools.

Entertainment and Leisure

  • Cinema ticket: 30-65 AED
  • Theatre show: 150-800 AED
  • Theme park entry: 250-350 AED
  • Event tickets like to Dubai Rugby Sevens: 300+ AED
  • Hotel pool/beach passes: 100-200 AED day passes
  • Gym membership: 1,500 AED annually (~125/month)
  • Yoga classes: 600 AED for 10 sessions
  • Eating brunch: 450+ AED weekends

Entertainment can fit various budgets in Dubai. But with abundant dining, events, attractions and activities – costs add up!

Allocate 10,000+ AED entertainment spending depending on your chosen lifestyle.

Salary and Income Needed for Comfortable Dubai Lifestyle

Based on average modern lifestyle costs:

  • Housing: 150,000 AED
  • Transport: 5,500 AED
  • Healthcare: 4,000 AED
  • Food and household: 20,000 AED
  • Schooling per child: 20,000 AED
  • Entertainment and leisure: 10,000 AED

A single expat should therefore budget around 200,000 AED annually for a comfortable lifestyle.

For expat families, add schooling and other costs per child – budget around 350,000 AED annually.

High earning positions like tech, finance and medicine enable more disposable income. But you can also live on more modest Dubai budgets depending on your lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • Housing grabs the biggest Dubai budget share, especially for family accommodation in desired areas
  • Mid-range private schools cost 20,000+ AED per child annually
  • Having a car increases annual costs much more than using public transport
  • Entertainment, dining out, high-end groceries quickly increase expenses
  • Budget 200,000+ AED per year for a comfortable modern Dubai lifestyle
  • Add 100,000 AED annually for schooling and expenses per child


The Dubai lifestyle you choose governs your cost of living – extravagant through to more modest. Location, housing, schools and transport make up the largest regular costs. But with sound budgeting and planning, plus income streams well-suited to Dubai expenses, you can build an excellent life here.

Hopefully these Dubai cost of living insights help you plan your move or manage budgets!

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Is Dubai an affordable place to live?
    Dubai offers high standards of living but has varying costs of living. It is affordable if you secure an income well-suited to your lifestyle expenses here.
  2. Is owning a car necessary in Dubai?
    No car is required as public transport infrastructure is very good. Taxis are affordable too. But having your own car offers convenience.
  3. Which parts of Dubai are most affordable for housing?
    Generally areas like International City, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Village, and Dubailand areas offer cheaper rents than central areas.
  4. What documents do I need for housing, bank accounts etc in Dubai?
    Visa, passport, Emirates ID, tenancy contract and salary certificates / proofs will be needed for setting up banking, bills, mobile contracts etc.
  5. How much is a typical food and grocery budget per month?
    For a couple – around 1,500-2,000 AED per month will cover home groceries and some eating out. Larger families and premium food will cost more.
  6. Do I need health insurance in Dubai?
    Yes, mandatory DHA health insurance in Dubai ensures private policies covering emergencies, pregnancies etc. Even tourists must have appropriate cover.
  7. How do taxes work in Dubai?
    There is no personal income tax scheme in Dubai or the UAE. However, VAT sales taxes apply – 5% on most goods and services. Companies in Dubai remit various taxes also.
  8. What documents are needed for school admission in Dubai?
    Requirements vary across schools but usually birth certificate, vaccination records and previous school reports etc need submitting during admissions process.
  9. Which are the best schools in Dubai?
    Schools like GEMS Wellington International, GEMS Dubai American Academy, Horizon English School Dubai, Jumeirah English Speaking School, and many more have excellent reputations.
  10. Can expats access public healthcare?
    Yes there are options like Dubai Hospital and Latifah Hospital that provide quality subsidized healthcare including to expats, especially emergencies.
  11. How long can I stay on a tourist visa in Dubai?
    Tourist visas allow 30-90 day stays depending on your nationality. Some countries receive 90 day visas on arrival into Dubai.
  12. How easy is it to find employment in Dubai?
    Dubai’s thriving economy always demands skilled talent. But tight regulations require employee sponsorship for residency so finding jobs takes preparation and networking.
  13. What documents are required to work in Dubai?
    Passport copy, educational/professional certificates, experience letters, passport photographs, CV, cover letter etc need preparing to apply for jobs. A work permit and visa approval follows a job offer. An Emirates ID and labour card are then arranged.
  14. Can I sponsor family in Dubai on my visa?
    Yes many residence visas allow sponsoring spouses and children under 18 years old. Family sponsorship also allows housing renting, opening bank accounts, schooling enrolment etc. Other relatives have tighter sponsorship rules.
  15. What benefits are available living in Dubai?
    High tax-free salaries, warm weather, safety, exciting lifestyle all attract people to Dubai. Plus world-class leisure facilities, shopping, dining, business environments and infrastructure in a tolerant multicultural hub.
  16. What languages are spoken in Dubai?
    While Arabic is the official language, English is the commercial and socially dominant language used by expats and locals. Many other languages like Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Filipino/Tagalog are widely used also.
  17. What is the electricity voltage in Dubai?
    Dubai operates on a 220-240 voltage electricity system at 50 cycles per second, with British style square 3 pin sockets required for appliances. Adaptors allow most equipment with alternate plugs.
  18. What are best mobile networks in Dubai?
    Service provider du and Etisalat are the UAE’s premium networks. Both offer strong coverage, 5G service, fast speeds and prepaid/postpaid plans. Packages range from discount options to unlimited data/calling.
  19. Is the tap water safe to drink in Dubai?
    Yes tap water in Dubai is treated to international safety standards so drinking from any Dubai municipality source is fine. Filtered water in bottles is widely available also.

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