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. Hi All,

    I got an offer from India company to work in Dubai for 2 year,

    They will pay on site perks: AED 4500 per month + Accommodation + Travel free
    and also they will pay India salary of AED 7500/month.

    Presently in India I’m getting around AED 7500/month as take home ( after deducting taxs).


    1) Is this the good offer? since I’ve my wife and one kid of 6 months old.
    2) Is it enough AED 4500/month to take care of food, clothes and medical for 3 people.
    3) How is climate/Weather and Life style? is it safe?
    4) How is economy doing in Dubai?

    Is it good offer to move to dubai, compared to India (presently working).

    Please guide me to decide.


  2. Hi Nash…hope you doing good :)

    Ahhh I am an indian national…Post Graduate from UK ..having 4-5 years of experience in Sales and Marketing and Public relations..and i am back in india and working for Event Company since one year…i want to relocate to dubai actually and i need your kind advise…could you advise me in brief about Job consultancy and visa things,please.

    Awaiting For Your Reply.

    Irfan Pathan.

  3. Hi,

    Can anyone help me whether i can accept this offer.I got an offer from dubai for AED 7500 all included.Accomodation,transport nothing will be provided.Iam working in polaris currently with a package of 4 lakhs per annum.Iam having 4.5 years experience as a software engineer in banking domain.I got this offer through a consultancy and i had to work for citi bank,dubai.THis was a long term offer for me.THe company will be providing me dubai free zone visa for 2 years.Also company will provide me medical,return airfare annualy and 30 days paid leave.So some one please help me is it a good offer and can i accept it.please respond.


  4. Dear Nash,

    I am getting offer of AED7240 per month + Housing AED4370 and transport alowances around AED500 mothly total add up around AED12k monthly, will be working in the airport is it good enough to survive and save in DUBAI???

    S S

  5. i got a job of 3700 AED in a month
    they will provide me the accommodation & Food
    is it enough survive

  6. sir,
    i am mca fresher can i get a suitable job in uae

  7. Mohammed Kaleem says:

    I’m Mohammed Kale em from India.
    I completed MBA in Finance Stream with 1 year of experience as a Financial Analysist.
    I’m looking a job in Dubai with company accomadation(Job visa)
    please give me a suitable suggestion & how much I expect th salary with companies Information.
    Thanking U…!

  8. Hello

    I’m British and been offered a role in the UAE and I’m now in the middle of salary negotiation. I’ve done my research re cost of living in UAE etc. – and your website was of great help. I’ve asked for 35K AED per month but I need your opinion on two points please:

    1. what is the average salary of IT Business Analyst
    2. should I accept a counter offer? (as counter offers have a way of showing the potential employer how they value your experience)

    many thanks

  9. Hi everyone…
    I got a job offer in hotel industry. My basic salary will be AED 1750 + AED 500 on average service charge + food + transportation + accommodation. Is this offer worth to come to Dubai. Will i be able to save money ? Can anyone please advise ?

    • This is not a good offer. If all ur expenses are taken care by the employer, yet a saving of around AED 2000 equalent to around Rs. 26000 is not worth travelling to a distant country away from your family.

  10. Karan Lal says:


    I am a hospitality proffesional who has been offered a job in Dubai at 3500AED + incentives. The organisation is taking care of my accomidation and transfers to and from the Hotel to the reseidence.
    Please advise if it is a viable offer.
    warm regards

  11. i have an exp of 6 years in IT . i got a offer of 10K in dubai is this good enough.

  12. Amirouche says:

    Dear Sir

    I am an aviation logistic supervisor in an oil company, I would like to try new challenges in UAE, can anyone help me by providing contact details for oil companies or recruitment agencies in UAE.

    I would like to thank you for the big efforts you are doing to help people hunting jobs in Dubai.

  13. Hi Nash,
    My husband has just been offered a contract 13,000 AED a month and an addition of 30,000 AED a year accomodation allowance. there are no other perks. I was wondering is it normal and expected that we should negotiate the first contract. Is this normal or considered bad manners.
    And with that wage, can we survive. We are a family, Husband, Wife and young son. (3 years old).
    Please any information would be good. God Bless.

  14. I am having 12 years of experience and working in a big FMCG company in INDIA with a salary of 3500K INR/year (with savings of 1800K INR/year) . I have got an opportunity in Abudhabi (Al Ain) with 370000 AED/year. I have 5 years old child and my spouse in family. Please suggest.
    1.Is it a good opportunity?
    2.What will be tentative cost for good lifestyle?

  15. Dear Sir,

    I am Rajeev Monga from India and have an experience of 2.7 years in sales and marketing with Pharma Industry and recently, i have completed SAP SD Module and want to make my career in SAP as a fresher.So, I am looking for a job in SAP as fresher in gulf region especially,in Dubai.Is there any opportunity for me?
    Please guide me.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Rajeev Monga,

  16. vikas kumar says:

    I am vikas kumar age 25 M.B.A PASSED 2011 I want to join a good company who provide living and food
    my minimum requirement only 6000 AED FULL time job in company. I have no visa for working Dubai so plz sent visa any work accepted for company or office thanks

  17. im living in trinidad and i want to travel to dubai and rent e apartment to star to look for a job ,,, how much money in us i will need to survive 4 maybe 3 months in dubai,,

  18. hi there ,
    its great to see your reply to every person looking out for a problem.I too have few doubts .I am a dentist with 10 yrs experience . i am looking out for a job in dubai? is there any vacancy . how much will the salary be ? suggest me a good offer

  19. Hallo!

    I am from Bulgaria, and I have worked for 6 years in Logistics area – import and export departments.
    Could you please advice me whether there are companies in Dubai, which are looking for such a specialists? Are there are any sites, where I can send my CV?
    Thank you.

  20. i get job in Dubai and salary is 1540 AED and food and accomodation in company side can it sufficient for me

  21. hello,
    my name is remigus…i’m studing computer engineering in university of cordilleras philippins.
    so i’m planing to change my school to dubai..
    my question now is, can i get a job that can sustain my cost of living in dubai???

  22. Gainesville apartment says:

    just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new posts.

  23. Hi
    I’m looking for job in telecommunication company. I have 14 years experience in communications and 8 years as lead engineer in one of the divisions of the largest cellular operator in Russia. Can I find work and what salary can i expect?

  24. hi dear sir
    I got the job opportunity in dubai for the scale – 5895 dhms basic , and 2260 for house allowance and free transport, i have 6 years experience in aerospace as technician. my doubt is the salary package is enough for 1 couple (i and my wife). is it tight living or normal. can you advice me.
    thank you sir

  25. hello,
    I’m undergraduate, studding computer engineering. please can i find a work that can sustain the cost my living in Dubai?

  26. Hi Nash,

    Thanks for the helpful post. I’m moving to Dubai in 2 weeks.
    My company’s office is located in Dubai Media city or Al Barsha Area I think.
    I’m just wondering if it’s too far/impractical to live in Discovery Gardens – compared to say the Greens or Al Sufouh. I can stretch my budget to 4500 AED a month for rent. Note that I will be taking taxis/ public transport.
    Where do you suggest I live? or if you had a choice, where would you live in Dubai?

    Appreciate your response. Thank You.

    Best Regards,

  27. Hi my name is nicholas and im in dubai loooking for a commercial diver job.
    i just finished my commercial diver course so i dont have any experience.
    i wonder if you know how the diving industrie is in dubai/uae.
    do you know any recruitment agency that provide this kind of job.
    if i do get a job what shuld i expect in salarie.

    best regards

  28. my name is Vinod,

    I hve received an offer of work in eletronics shop for work of accounting cum telemarketing. the salary told is 2000Dhms/month. And he told me that 600-750 will go for accomdation/food/travelis that true. I am simple middle class man i can stay in averagely.
    Tell me the exact position of salary for my job i should get

  29. Rony Dasgupta says:

    I have been offered a gross salary of 3000AED per month as Senior Sales Associate at APPAREL Store.I am 26 year female(Single). Please advice me, will the salary be enough to live in dubai.

  30. hi guys! i have a job offer as a autocad operator in dubai, the employer offers me 3000 AED/mo.
    and food allowans of 150 AED/day. please suggest me if it is a good offer? your comments & suggestions will highly appreciated. thanks

    • Hi Joseph,

      First thing is if accomodation is provided by the company then it was a ok offer.How many yeara of expereince you have?

  31. iam a graduate in electronics and communications besides that i got profound knowledge in economics,geography,american public administration,science and technology and recent political changes in every country and geo-political significance.if i have to be hired which can be best company and how much salary i should expect.please get me the recruiting companies.

    thank you,

  32. Abu Ertadad says:

    I next month will be in Dubai for 20-25 days.At the same time I have a plan to find out a suitable job for myself. But I am not sure that how far is that possible. If you have any idea please let me know. It will be a great help to me.

    I am having 13 years of banking and wealth management experience.Presently I am working at DBS Bank Ltd.


    Abu ertadad

  33. Rupesh Kadam says:

    Hello Dear

    I am an Indian and selected for one of the bank in Dubai. My salary stands at AED 5000 a month. Please let me know how much I have to pay for accommodation if I will settle for my work at Dubai.



    • Hi Rupesh,

      Please let me know what is your experience? nd which field you work in india? If it is a sales thenit was fine offer.Accomodation you can get for min 700-1000 AED its a bed pace.If you are single its a good offer .You can caome and work around here.

  34. hi,

    I am a MBA graduate with 7 years of expereince.

    I got an offer in Dubai 6250 AED/Month.This is the split up.

    Basic Salary-2500 AED
    Housing Allowance-1250 AED
    Special Allowance-1000 AED
    Utility Allowance-1000 AED
    Transportation-500 AED

    Kindly advise me regarding the expensive for my Accomodation and Food? How much i can able to save after all these.

    Awaiting for your reply

    Thanking you


  35. dear sir
    I have more than 15 years experience in fertilizer plant, I graduate University, chemical engineer.
    what’s the salary if I join the new project as Senior Project Engineer.
    Thank you
    Best Regards

  36. 7345+accomodation per month is good offer?for security officer

  37. Dear.nash

    Im a fitness trainer from thailand i would like to ask you about salary of this job in dubai

    How much can fitness trainer earn for this job or how much is the best salary…

    thank you so much

  38. jagannathan says:

    I would like to know whether for my experience i could get job in gulf.i have completed BE(CHEM) and got experience in telecom(electrical tower works) for almost 7years(running own business) and what kind of openings should i have to apply.

  39. I m working in largest public sector bank in India with 5.5 yr experience. My main job area is retail assest ie retail advances like housing car etc. Wat are the probabilities of getting job in dubai and wat package sud i survive with family with some savings

  40. Good day,

    I have received a job offer in Dubai as a Design Engineer, I have 6 years experience.

    The job offer makes provision for the following:

    – Base Salary: 17000 AED per month
    – Housing Allowance: 3400 AED per month
    – Car Allowance: 1750 AED per month
    – Medical Aid & Life insurance
    – 22 Paid leave days per year
    – 1 x Economy return ticket to place of origin.

    Can someone please advise on the following questions:

    1) Is the above mentioned job offer good?
    2) What can I get for the above mentioned housing allowance?
    3) What can I get for the above mentioned car allowance?
    4) What is the typical conservative crocery expenditure for 1 person on average?
    5) What is the typical conservative expenditure for TV, Internet, land line etc?

  41. Hello
    I am Georgian citizen, I live and work in Georgia at the moment.
    I am qualified Radiologist and registered vascular and general sonographer . I am working at One of the central Hospitals in vascular department and doing peripheral,abdominal, extracranial vascular triplex sonography . Examing patients with DVT, diabetic foot,varicose veins. et. cet.
    my question is: how can i find suitable job as a doctor radilogist or sonographer in Dubai and how much salary would I expect ?
    Thank you in advance

  42. Dear Nash,
    Currently iam in riyadh iam planning to move to dubai because of not getting a good job in accounts because in accounts arabic is mandatory here can you please tell me getting a job in dubai in accounts field is arabic mandatory there and i have experience of saudi arabia is that experience count in dubai or they will consider as fresher.

  43. I am an F&B Consultant, Maître d’hôtel, Chef de cuisine, Sushi chef & Mixologist, academically qualified with 7 diplomas in Food & Beverages Courses. I have been working in a Food and Hospitality environment for the past 16 years. i want to go dubai and rent a small studio… look for job’s that the company will sponcer for the work permit,, its this that way its work,, how much us to survive per month?

  44. johnathon says:


    I have just been offered a job in dubai but I am struggling to find any suitable accomadation in around Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Are there any soecific websites for that area or local agents that you could point me in the direction of?

    Thanks in advance

  45. Dear Sir,

    I have 4 years experience on HR department with well known companies, and I have good experience on recruitment, visa , payroll , and other things that relate to HR.
    I am looking for job on HR department on any fields, do you know any contact that can help me on this?

    Best Regards

  46. Hi. I have offer of AED 13000. Have one school going baby from International academic city., dubai. No housing option. Is this a good offer? I m intersted 2 live around silicon oasis? Plz comment. Thank in advance.

  47. Dear Nesh,

    I am working with world’s leading tour operator in india and recently got a job offer in Dubai. He has fixed my salary AED 2000/- for 3 months and AED 2700/- per month after 3 months. I have 8 months experience with reputed tour operator. considering my offer is it wise to start job in Dubai?? I am single but thinking to marry my GF so i will have take her along with me after sometime. please tell me what is exact figure of salary to live alone comfortably and what is the figure to leave with spouse.


  48. Dear sir,
    My sister issued me a visit visa and i want to take that chance to work in Dubai undergraduate in computer science, i have a lot experience in work mostly on sales.How should i look job opportunities?it can be easy to find a work like me in Dubai?can u please give me a suggestion what i’m going to do to find a job?thank you

    I COMPLETED MBA,AFTERWards iam working as a accounts executive 2+ experience in construction company.iam seeking for new job in dubai.iam intrested to work in dubai.plz give me the information regarding job.


  50. Namaste !

    I am Rajeev and have over 20 years of experience in the tourism industry. I am well versed with India & Sub-continent as holiday destination along with Far East (Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore). I am looking for a change and wish to know if there is any oppurtunity to work in UAE.

    I have my CV in monster / naukri / dubizzle etc and I haven’t got any response yet from agency.

    Can you suggest some ways to get the attention of the prospective employer in UAE ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Be well,