Cost of Living in Dubai: Accommodation, Transportation, and Food

If you’re planning to work and live in Dubai, that’s one of the basic questions you need to ask and find the answer to. It’s the fundamental information you need to know before you actually go hunting for a job. Unlike in some countries, there are no minimum wage rates or standardized salaries in Dubai. What you would receive as compensation is largely dependent on how well you negotiate. Salary expectation is a basic question employers ask of applicants. It’s best to report to an interview with one specific figure, expressed in AED, in mind – the lowest monthly salary package you are willing to accept for any job you’re applying for.

Although this economic concept might involve a combination of many other factors, the quality of life you would have in Dubai is largely a factor of three things: your cost of living, lifestyle and your purchasing power. Since purchasing power is anchored on future earnings, it’s important to know what to expect in cost of living to give you a base figure for salary negotiations.

Factors in Dubai’s Cost of Living

In Dubai, cost of living revolves around three basic factors. Let’s examine each in the context of living in Dubai.


This is perhaps the largest single expense you would need to seriously take into consideration. Real estate is a thriving industry in Dubai as it becomes even more New York-like. Competing with commercial development, costs of residential buildings have gone up considerably in recent years. With the surge of businesses, the influx of foreign workers in Dubai has raised the demand for living spaces. Flats, villas and living quarters have become a scarce resource in Dubai because of the surge in demand. Therefore, rent is a huge consideration.


Although Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority or RTA runs a very smooth operation, the number of passengers Dubai buses serve daily is just too much. The vehicle volume in Dubai’s main thoroughfares, particularly along Sheikh Zayed Road is overflowing at peak hours. Traffic is usually heavy, making it even more difficult for buses and taxis to turnaround quickly. Transportation is an issue in Dubai because many of Dubai’s business centers are located nowhere near residential areas.


This is probably the least of your concerns. Despite the inflation and the state of the world’s economy, food has remained affordable in Dubai across all salary levels. Eating out is another story. But that’s an experience even laborers at construction sites in the Industrial Areas in Al Quoz can afford from time to time.

So, what are your options if you want to live in Dubai? How much should you make? That’s a question you need to answer yourself. Salaries in Dubai vary within a wide range depending on what you are selling (your qualifications) and how you are selling it (negotiation skills). It’s not unusual in Dubai to find an executive secretary making more than a sales representative in the same company. Even two secretaries working the same jobs can have different compensation packages.

Let’s take a look at your cost of living factors with respect to your options.

Your Options in Dubai


Depending on location, there are studio-type flats in Dubai that rent for under AED 3,500 a month. You’d find these in Deira or at Bur Dubai and in similar places. The high-end living options available at places like the Dubai Marina or Jumeirah start at AED 8,000 a month. Some people decide to share living space and split the cost. Other high-end compensation packages normally have company-provided villas or flats.


Dubai bus fare is AED 2 per ride. Taxi fares start at AED 3. In Dubai, however, aving your own car is the cheapest, fastest and the easiest mode of transport. People with international driving licenses have a definite edge as jobseekers. But all drivers are required to obtain a UAE driving license in due time. If you have neither a car nor a valid driving license, you have another option besides taxis and Dubai bus: car lifts. People who have their own cars usually ferry friends and officemates to and from work.


Food is a wonderful, cultural experience in Dubai. Since the world is represented in this small community, you’d find all sorts of exotic and delectable options. Chances are, you’d even find your favorite dish, whether that’s Indian Beryani or Italian pasta. Cost is not an issue. People in Dubai are blessed in that respect. Everyone can afford to eat anything they fancy. Whether you feel better cooking your own meals or you prefer ordering it from Dubai’s vast selection of restaurants, you’d find what you like here.

A Hint for Dubai Jobhunters

A key housing point to remember in interviews is to ask your employer if they provide their staff with free accommodation. There are companies in Dubai that offer free accommodation in staff houses even to their rank-and-file employees. Especially for job hunters that would fall in the low-income range, it is always good to join companies that provide free accommodation because the housing always comes with food allowances and transport service. As part of salary packages, cost of living allowances given in the form of free accommodation and transport service is a better option. It frees you from making these necessary arrangements yourself.

Join us. Boost your Dubai career!


  1. Dear Nash,
    i have 4 years exp in dataware housing field. how much minimum amount stay in dubai. how much money i expected dubai. can any consultancy or job sites suggest me

  2. Hi

    I have been offered USD 5000 per month plus medial and return air ticket in Dubai. I want to know whether it is a good offer because there is no separate home allowance. If I rent out a 1 bedroom apartment in Dubai city, would that be a good option?

    Looking forward to hear from you soon


  3. Hi,

    My name is Ravi Sharma, I am from India. I got job offer from dubai IT company in ERP sales. They are going to pay me 8000 AED per/mth

    I have to manage my accomdation, food & transport from home to office.

    Please help me as a bachelor how much I can save approx & I should accept this offer or not.

    Please Reply.

    Ravi Sharma

  4. Hi,

    Looking out for jobs in UAE. Experienced in service marketing as well as sales coordination. Trying the various jobsites eg., etc, but no response. What am I doing wrong?
    Should I go to UAE to search a job? What is the best possible solution?


  5. Dear Nash,

    I am working at dubai for past 5 years as a software programmer. wish to change my job. Can you suggest me any good consultant or any recruitment company. I am and gulf talent for online searching.

    Thanks in advance

  6. Dear Nash,

    I am working at dubai for past 5 years as a software programmer. wish to change my job. Can you suggest me any good consultant or any recruitment company. I am using and gulf talent for online searching.

    Thanks in advance

  7. Dear Nash,

    I am working at dubai for past 5 years as a software programmer. wish to change my job. Can you suggest me any good consultant or any recruitment company. I am using and gulf talent for online searching.

    Thanks in advance

  8. Dear Sir,

    My husband has got offer for AED13,000 per month with Gulf Commercial Group, Dubai as Assistant Manager-Service without accomodation. He is earning Rs.6,25,000/- per annum in India. I want to know about the company and career growth. Can he accept the offer?

  9. Hi,

    My name is Ravi Sharma, I am from India. I got job offer from dubai IT company in ERP sales. They are going to pay me 8000 AED per/mth

    I have to manage my accomdation, food & transport from home to office.

    Please help me as a bachelor how much I can save approx & I should accept this offer or not.

    Please Reply.

    Ravi Sharma

  10. RAKESH BISHT says:

    Hi Nash,

    Another THING I am concerning about is job position.Is in Dubai for a candidate what position is offered.As offered me as Technician.They told me that in Dubai some zones are there in wha of Duty Engineer so they offered a visa of techncian. He also gives me a examle of him that he is working as a Director there but his VISA issued is of a Manager.
    Nash what do u think Is it VALIDATE.??
    Plz reply my queries..asap

  11. Dear,

    I have got a job offer of AED 30.000 PM, company office is in Internet city. I have to kids. Please can you let me know if this is a good offer.

    I will be getting free medical, bonus and family tickets on top of my salary.

    I will appreciate if you can let me know cost of living in dubai.


  12. Dear my husaband has been offered AED 12000 PM and job in UAE. v r 3 members in,my husband,2 yr old son.wid no accomodation but company car wid driver for smtimes.they hav recomeded to tk hm in sharjah jst suggest is it ok to consider d offer.


  13. dear all,

    Dear my husaband has been offered AED 12000 PM and job in UAE. v r 3 members in,my husband,2 yr old son.wid no accomodation but company car wid driver for smtimes.they hav recomeded to tk hm in sharjah jst suggest is it ok to consider d offer.

    also i wud lyk to knw hw much tym it wil tk to get gcc driving licence also d expenses.v r husband current salary in india is inr 900000 per annum.kindly suggest should v consider dis offer.


  14. Hi,

    I have been reading this website as it has so much useful info on it!

    I currently work in credit control and have been told by an agency in London that I need to find out what I would expect to earn in London and apply that to what I would want in Dubai. The average seems to be £21k a year which works out at 122,988 AEC per year or 10,249.05 per month. If I could get a position with accomodation paid for along with some other allowances as mentioned in some of the other posts (travel allowance, flights home etc) do you think this would be a good wage? The plan is for me to go out first and then my partner come out a couple of months later.

    Sorry to bother you, you just seem to have a wealth of knowledge which is proving very useful at the minute!!

    Kind Regards,


  15. kamlesh says:

    Dear nash,
    plz help me out.. i am getting 21580 dihrem per month in toto without accomodation facility.. how can i save there if i would like to live comfortabely.. expecting to bring my family coming months.. plz help me..

  16. Sandeep Singh says:

    Hi Nash,

    I got job in dubai with 8000 AED, I have to manage accomdation, food, transport from home to office. I am single, presently work in india.

    Plz suggest me should I accept this offer…….

    Sandeep Singh

  17. Sandeep Singh says:

    Hi Nash,

    I got job in dubai with 8000 AED, I have to manage accomdation, food, transport from home to office. I am single, presently work in india.

    Plz suggest me should I accept this offer or not…….

    Sandeep Singh

  18. hiii i am offered a job in dubai @ 3000 deahram (excluding fooding,leaving)as a sales executive post(field job)no travelling expenses are given by company.i recentaly complited my MBA ….pls suggest me can i go for this job with this salary this salary….thank you

  19. Danish Araquei says:

    Hi Nash

    Currently i am having 7 years of IT experience and my current package is 7.35 Lac yearly in India. I got an offer of 12000 AED per month (Benefits: Apart from Tax free salary you can enjoy other benefits like Medical + yearly once 1 month paid vacation + air ticket for you).I’m married please suggest still its worth to come to dubai.


  20. Hi all

    I just got offered a job opportunity in dubai for a 1 year contract for waitering or barman. I would like to know how much do these types of jobs make in the UAE on average and if it will be worth for me to go?

    Kind regards

  21. HELLO



  22. k kumaran says:

    I Got an offer for 6000/- diharam. I Have to take care of the food and accomodation on my own. Please suggest can I take the offer

  23. Nandini says:

    Dear Nash!

    I am currently located in new delhi and i work as a Sr. fashion merchandiser in an american garment buying house. My company is into garment import business with its headoffice in Los angelos.I work in their liason office in India.

    I am trying to find a good job in dubai as a garment merchandiser, Can you please advise me some reputed garment company references in Dubai, whom i can apply for this post and who is keen in hiring overseas employees.

    I am married and my husband is also working as a garment merchandiser in an export company in Delhi.

    We are currently trying to relocate in Dubai for a better career oppurtunity.

    We have registered ourselves with UAE recruitment agencies and applied few jobs online but no respense yet.

    Please help.

  24. Suresh Babu.K says:

    Could you please give me some guidence, recently I selected for one job for Dubai, my salary is 8000 AD + 2500AD for accomadation+ children education allowence+ yearly 4 tickets. Presently I am working in KSA saving almost 4500AD.I am asking you is good salaries to stay comfortable with my family and saving atleast 5000AD/ month.

    Looking forward for your early replay


  25. ankur gupta says:

    hi to all

    I am ankur, i am fresher just pass out i am getting an offer of 1800 dhr/month,as an network engineer is this good offer? should i say yes . can i survive in this much income?

  26. Awais khan says:

    Its a nice website for information about anything in dubai

  27. R Raashid says:

    Dear sir,
    i m hoping to get a job in UAE, Cuurently i m working with a leading mobile operaator in my country.
    my job role is giving technical support to our cx’s.Which are ranging from configuring smartphones, Blackberries and PC/laptop to use our product and services.
    is there any possiblity to get a suitable job in dubai which is similar to the post that i had worked in my country?
    and what are the job agencies which are dealing with leading mobile operators like etisalat and du mobile?

  28. Surajit says:

    Hi, I am an Indian national. Working as Oracle APPS SCM Functional Consultant in Kolkata for last 4 year. Want to change my job and wish to have a job i Dubai. How much salary should I expect to stay there with my family ? I got a job offer fro Indian company of CTC 7.5 lac in INR. Will it ok in Dubai

  29. Maayavi says:

    Hello Nash,

    First of all thanks for doing this…

    I works with leading company in India in Medical insurance (BPO). I am planning to move to Dubai with my family. Pls suggest me jobs in medical claims and what was the pay out.

  30. Prashant says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am a Engineering graduate having 9 years of experience. Recently i have been interviewed with UES , Oman. I don’t know how much living cost of Oman. Request you to suggest me good salary package in Oman.

  31. sajida shaik says:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I am having a 10 years of experience in Travel and toursim ,i want to search a job
    in dubai and expecting a salary of more than 12000 aed,i dont know that whether I will
    be paid so much salary and how will be the standard of living in dubai,whether companies
    pay so much salary or not can you please give me the updated information for this.

  32. hello,

    I have a BEng in electrical electronics engineering from Nigeria, I will be moving to dubai for my masters this september. Is there any chance of schooling and working in dubai to earn extra cash?

    Keep up the good work. Nice advice.


  33. Salaam,

    Firstly, MashAllah, this is an amazing website and so useful, thank you.

    Could you please advise me on the following: I a 26 year old British Male. I am a college graduate with 2 A levels and have a City and Guild level 2 and level 3 in computer aided design. I want to work in the construction industry as a CAD technician. Is this possible? Could you please give me some name of some construction companies that would possibly take me on?

    Kindest Regards


  34. AMIT SAINI says:

    Dear Sir

    HI !!

    I am amit saini from India, & i have a offer of Rs. 7000 AED from Dubai City. Can u tell me how manage in 7000 AED per month as below:

    How Much Room Rent (Single Room Set)
    & other informatin.

    I am waiting your kind reply.

    Amit Saini
    +91 7489880141

  35. i had an offer of 5000aed to work as a graphic designer in uae.accomodation, transportation and food allowance are not included..would it be enough?please advice.thanks

  36. Hello,
    I want to start silver jewellery business in dubai, I have contactes for visa. Only I am little worried about tax and licence for do business. What should I do for silver jewellery lincene. Please give me best advice.

    Your faithful,


  37. Hi,

    I got offer offer of 8000 AED in UAE, I have to manage accomdation, transport & medical. I am single please suggest should I accept this offer or not.



  38. Hi ,

    I’m working as a SAP sd consultant( 7 yrs exp) in INDIA. I’m looking to work in UAE.
    I got married and having two kids..please can you tell me how is the market for SAP is UAE? what is the expected salary for my profile?
    Also guide me what are the best recruting agency which I can contact?

  39. Hi i am Anis, its my first time here. I have done my MBA in agri business from a very
    reputed university presently working with an mnc in stream being veternary medicine
    marketing. I am regional manager and earn aroung 68000/month. can someone plz provide info
    about the same kind of companies. Thank you so much.

  40. Hello Nash,

    I am an Indian working in the in house legal department of an IT company in US. I have 7-8 years of experience in the legal field. I am looking for some good oppurtunities in Dubai or UAE.

    Can you please advise on how to get some good job opportunities in the legal field in Dubai?

  41. Dear Sir
    I rajesh
    having 10 years of manufacturing experience in india
    I got an offer to work in sharjah in one of the Indian company which is there in sharjah.
    And my position will be there as asst manager.
    Company offered me 6000dhm salary per month
    and free sharing accommodation
    transportation facility
    30 days paid holiday/Annam
    medical etc etc..
    My question to you is pl give me the suggestion that
    shall except the offer
    is 6000dhm is good offer
    how much cost of leaving in sharjah
    how much i can save/month
    Pl can you give me the jenuine reply

  42. Ankit Mehta says:

    well i am indian national and i have finished my MBA from USA and have postgraduate degree from london university, plus i have one year experience in banking sector as i have already worked 6 months in RAK Bank before my postgraduate ,but i right now seek opportunity in marketing or international marketing where it is required travelling outside and planning out sales strategies also, so is there any possibilites i can get back in dubai , as i am planning to come to dubai around end of aug for hunting jobs ,so is it possible that you can guide me in someway ,for eg: whre are the vacancies , where can i look for online ? ,or shall i come to dubai and search give interview , i am really confused .Please let me know what i can do as well as per my exp i have mentioned above am i capable of getting salary above 7000 AED. For me i dont mind going to any field ,it should involve marketing and more money .

  43. Hi,
    I’m just looking for some advice please. I have a offer for a teaching post inDubai and i’m not sure if the pay package is sufficient to live comfortably. I am bringing my husband and two children 3 and 1 and the school have offered me a 3 bed apartment in Dubai Silicon Oasis – any thoughts? The salary is 10,700 AED mth, they will pay for my flight and my medical insurance and 1 dependent, they will also off a consession for school fee’s. Utilities are not included – i have been told they will be roughly 500AED a month. Can anyone offer their opinion on whether this is a good contract offer and enough for my family to live comfortably on? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  44. Kesavan says:

    Hi dude,

    i have just finished my B.E printing in Anna University chennai, i got job offer of 2000AED from dubai company….. wil u give me idea tat is it worth picking it up this as a fresher……?

  45. hey guys…i m neha from india… i m an interior designer by profession… looking out for jobs openings in dubai..can ne1 plz help me in dis …

    • Ankit Mehta says:

      hi , neha , where about india are you from, and what is your qualification ,as per my knowledge ,jobs vary here , as there is demand for interior designers , but they go through doing internships 1st.

  46. hello friends, i am samir from india. i am MBA in marketing with 1.5 year experience as a sales manager. plz suggest a good job in dubai.

  47. hi Nash,
    im new here, but thoroughly enjoyed the website.
    I have looking to move to dubai or abu dhabi for a while now- but chance never arose., until now.
    how are the retail sector faring?
    I was looking to get a job as a retail manager, or Assistant manager to begin with.
    I have over 6 years retail management experiance.
    I live in the UK, and am a British citizen. my current salary is 30,000 pounds a year.
    if I came over with my wife and 2 kids (3 & 2), how much should I be looking to get from potential employers, that will cover everything, i.e. accommodation,education, etc…and be able to enjoy and save some.


  48. Dear Sir,

    I have been selected in an company in Dubai as an IT-Cum Sales profile.P.O.Box 8611, SAIF Zone
    Sharjah, UAE. I am 12th passed. I got a offer of 2250 AED per month with there accomodation and 1 time lunch. i have 3 yrs experience in IT-Executive field in india. and after 1 month of training in dubai they would be shifting me to P.O.Box 4946, Jeddah 21411. so i want to know is this a good salary for me. and if i would be able to save something from this salary and what wud be the expenses for dinner and morning meal for 1 month in dubai and also jeddah. and how is jeddah. and any other things which u can guide me as i am coming for the first time.

  49. Monica Lakdawala says:


    I m currently drawing Rs 16,00,000 in India working as Project Manager ans in discussion with a bank in Dubai for same role. What salary should I expect there?

    Can you pls advise.


  50. Hello , I am Dr Bharat BDS frim India , I have 4 years of clinical experience , how can i find a job in Dubai or gulf