UAE: an introduction
The UAE is filled with contrasts. On one hand you have skyscraper hotels and world-famous restaurants. On the other this Islamic state has an enduring Bedouin tradition. It means that your day can start with designer shopping in a Western-style mall and end with a visit to the open-air markets and local cafés. And no visit to the UAE is complete without a trip to the vast desert sands.
The UAE isn’t known for budget travel, but it is out there. Dubai has a few hostels and you can eat well at local restaurants.
Daily spend: £50
Cheaper hotels in Dubai are available and taxis don’t cost much either. Stick to the local cafés and bars to avoid the premium price you’ll pay in Western-style nightclubs.
Daily spend: £100
The home of 7-star hotels doesn’t disappoint when it comes to glamorous holidays. Some of the best restaurants in the world are here and the nightlife attracts the jet-set crowd. Your daily spend could be limitless.
Daily spend: £500-2,000
Prices are approximate and subject to change.
Money saving tips for the United Arab Emirates
- Avoid the hotel cars. They cost much more than local taxis and also have to pay road tolls.
- Hit the beach. For such an expensive city, one of its biggest tourist attractions is completely free.
- Shop at markets not malls. The Western-style shopping centres bump up their prices and don’t have as good an atmosphere
The UAE’s currency – the basics
The currency of the UAE is the UAE dirham. See today’s exchange rate. Seven counties make up the UAE and use the Dirham, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaima, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain.
- Coins use Eastern Arabic numbers so it’s worth learning numbers 0-9 before you go.
- Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.
- One dirham is subdivided into 100 fils.
- The exchange rate is around 6:1 against the pound.
- The name of the currency, ‘dirham’, is derived from the Greek currency drachma.
The smart way to travel
Keep track of your holiday spending and instantly convert local prices into pounds with our free smartphone apps. There are three handy apps to download for iOS and Android, including Travel Essentials, Travel Money Card Plus & Currency Converter. You can also download an instant currency converter for your Apple Watch.
Get your UAE currency from us
We make it easy to get UAE dirham before your trip:
- Order online for a better rate on foreign currency – minimum order value of £400 applies online
- 0% commission, competitive rates on up to 70 foreign currencies
- Delivered to your front door or pick up from one of 11,500 local Post Office branches. Search for your nearest branch here
- Free delivery for branch collection and online orders over £400 for home delivery Monday – Friday
- Orders placed before 3pm, on a working day, can generally be delivered to your home the next working day. Where an order is placed on a Friday and delivery is required on a Saturday, there will be a charge of £1.50
Get a great rate by ordering your UAE dirham from us