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. i want some guidelines to find networking jobs in dubai

  2. Aassalaam..

    Dear Sir, I am having 11 yrs exp in Financial Service domain and got an offer in dubai. The salary package offered is 7000 AED. How much will it cost now for a family? What are things we need to consider during negotiation?? what are the expected break-up for a salary? Please advise..

    • ITs not a good offer.Please ignore based on ur experience atleast u should get minimum 20-25k also with family its tough to survive here as the room rents are high and child education is costly.

  3. Hi,

    I am looking for BPO jobs in Dubai.
    I have 3+yrs of experince in credit card collections with international bpo.
    Please suggest what are the possibilites of getting a job in dubai in this industry and how difficult is it to find a job from india?

    At the same time what is the approximate salary package offered there at this work exp.

    please suggest.

    Thanks in advance

  4. I wanted to ask whether an offer of AED 6,700 is good enough for me in dubai.I have two years of experience as a business teacher in London colleges. I am MBA from UK.

    • No its not a good offer according to ur experience and education. Please ignore it and try for a package of atleast 20-25k or u can get a more good job in uk itself…

  5. Hi This is Rajiv

    I have recently been offered a packaged of AED 5000 lumpsum + Car to work as a Manager Sales in a logistics firm in Dubai. Which according to me is very less. When brought to the knowledge of the CEO, he said he is paying 30000 Aed for a year as his accomodation. Hence the offer is quire good. He said max he can do is give a profit share of the business generated by me. But that is subject to performance and I will be very knew to dubai market. Please advice if I can accept this offer or reject it. I will be coming with my wife and my small kid.

    If offer is not good, can u suggest me some good companies and/or some good website thru which I can find a decent job ??


  6. hi,i m richesh kothari i will complete my mechanical in jan 2012 , after that i looking 2 come 2 dubai so what is good for me for further job or mba ? and shall i work with study ? which state will good for me as a work or to live ?

  7. hi,

    i’m Malaysian and i was offered 5000USD (all inclusive-transport,accommodation,ticket flight,visa on my own)
    with that payment, is it enough to survive at dubai? and is it save for female working and stay alone?

    pls advice.

  8. Hi Cha,

    Can you please explain what is ur experience and which role you work.Also tell me about the offer u got and the package u mentioned is monthly? right? IF its monthly means its a good offer

    • I;m working in with telecommunication vendor. the 5kUSD monthly basis..,
      And what is the price range for house rent, food, transport?

  9. How much salary can a Team Leader at Cupola TeleSERVICES expect?
    I have a team leader experience of 4 years with international BPO process (non-voice)CTC INR 4.6 LACs.
    I have overall BPO experience of 6.5 years and non-BPO 2 years in India.
    Can I expect round AED 13K.

  10. Hi All,

    i have more than 5 years of experience in IT services/operations field. I’m based out of India. few days back i have been offered a position of IT manager in Dubai. I’ve been offered a Monthly Sal of 13000 AED. I will not be provided any accommodation by the company.I’ve noticed that for good 1bhk accommodation, it would cost me close 60000 AED per year…

    do you think it is a good offer for me to start with in Dubai?

    Looking forward to your views on this….

    • Hi Hemin,

      Looking at the 3 points…1)Position – IT Manager, 2) Salary – AED 13000 & 3) No Accomodation..
      I sincerly feel the overall compensation is not worth the position. But again, if currently you do not have a managerial designation, this is a good offer. The worst thing is that they are not providing you accomodation which is expensive around AED 4000. What I would suggest you is to negotiate for company accomodation. If you get a company accomodation, this would be the best opportunity. Even if u are capable of bargaining and bring an increase of AED 500 atleast on accomodation grounds, I sincerly feel you should go for it.

  11. Dear Nash,

    Firstly, let me thank you for the wonderful job you have doing in guiding is much appreciated..I have been following the forum for quite sometime though this is the first time I am actually posting…for sometime I have been contemplating moving to Dubai and have recently started applying for jobs (1 week back).
    To provide a snapshot of my background..I am a new Zealander with over 13 yrs experience in accounting, finance and consulting in India, Singapore and NZ and am in a management position with a leading airline in NZ from last 5 years. I am a Chartered Accountant, CPA and MBA. I will be looking to relocate with my wife and two children and have been a bit confused about certain aspects—viz.
     In negotiating with potential employer is including education allowance for international schools a norm or does it depend on case-to-case basis also dependent on individual’s negotiation skills.
     Since my wife and kids are dependent on me and I will be sponsoring them what are the formalities involved.. would I need to apply for their sponsorship documents or is that part of company’s responsibility when they sponsor my visa.
     Salary levels – since I have heard many conflicting opinions about the decent level of salary necessary to support a family of 4 with not too extravagant a lifestyle but a modest one what in your opinion should be negotiated for?
    I would really appreciate a response..and knowing your track record of helping people I would appreciate if you could guide me as to whether contacting recruitment agencies is a good idea or contacting the companies directly is better?


  12. kunal bhootra says:

    my name is kunal bhootra. i m from india. i m looking for job in dubai pls help me out for good reliable consultancies in dubai with their contact details

  13. mrs s chandra says:


    i am mrs chandra Tamilian from hyderabad having 14 years of experience in Recruitment, HR, admninistration, PRO, business development in good corporate companies in chennai and hyderabad. I am a mother of two daughters, now i want to come to dubai and work alone, with my expereicne can you suggest me what would be my salary they offer and can i get any opening in any industry in anywhere in middle east bu i am more interested in dubai. i am ready to work under a consulting company also. i have to reach dubai before ths year end is it possible. i have to finalise for my daughter school in the coming next academic year before i leave for the job in dubai – pls suggest me accordingly

  14. hi,
    i am an indian from india. im wrking in a hdfc (bpo) for the last 4 years. im a graduate. im frm a marketing back ground. pls cud u suggest me some sites or consultancies who are hiring for dubai.

  15. hi, i am chemical there a job in dubai for me with 15000 p/m.

  16. Dear Nash,
    I have seen all your comments/reply and i find it quite helpful. I need your help. Actually, i want to relocate to Dubai. I am an Indian national and currently working in Algeria in M/s.Sonatrach. I have done my B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering and I have over 7 years of experiance in executing construction jobs in Refineries, LNG, pipeline.Now please guide me with this work experiance is there any company which can provide me 6000+ US dollar as salary with free accommodation and am i eligible for that. Also please guide me the right path as i have registered so many placement agencies but failed to get any call so far. please help me out.

  17. I got an offer with 96000 AED P.A. Please let me know whether I can take my family there with this salary. (Spouse+2 kids)and can able to manager their schooling also.Food and accomodation has to be borne by myself

  18. I am looking for the position of a Service Engineer OR Calibration Engineer in Test & Measurement Equipments in UAE. Presently I am in Canada and would like to relocate to UAE

  19. Hi Nash and friends,

    Hope my query would be answered.

    I’m a masters graduate in Electrical and Computers from USA and have approx 5 years of experience in IT of which 4 years of work experience in USA with world’s no.2 bank. I have 2 options, either to apply for System analyst position or Electrial engineer position. Can you please tell me what is best keeping market in view and how much can i expect in terms of salary for each of the profiles. Thanks for the efforts and i look for your advice. Thanks again !

  20. Hi,
    I am offered a Job in dubai.basic salary given by them is 4000AED + HRA 0f 1000AED , housing and tansport provided by company suggest me can it be fesible for me to survive there. Please give me
    your best advice waiting for your posotive reply..

    Thanks in Advance

    rahul chaudry

  21. Dear Concern

    I Have got a job offer in Dubai for Citi Bank As sales Executive for 2 years Contract they are offering me 4500 AED per month

    My Question is that oky For mathcing the living expenses in dubai i am in sales job they are not providing anything else apart of that

    Please Reply

    With Regards

  22. Hi Nash,
    I am from India. I have experience of 2 years as Medical sales representative and I am getting currently 2500 EAD/month. So I want to ask almost how much can I get in Dubai in same job.

  23. i just got a job in middle east with a pay of 2500 AED, and other expenses like accomodation,car, driver,water & electric bill and medical bills are taken by the company. can you tell it is a good option or not.

  24. Good Evening
    My name is Anahita and i am currently residing in Pakistan i have a Masters Degree in Anthropology plus i am affiliated with media/radio Broadcasting as Presenter/Dj since 2002, my current job is as KG Directress, there are many jobs where i can opt for what i dont understand is how to incorporate all these talents in one CV, or if i am applying for media job should i write my expertise reagarding that alone or write about other things for reference? I also am a bit confused as to which area of jobs i should be applying for
    my key areas of strength are:
    Excellent communication and written skills in both English and Urdu
    Confidant and Active
    Make educating or training children/elders fun and easy
    Full of creative ideas
    With an A category in Broadcasting i have a vast experience of audio/commercial recordings.
    What job areas would you suggest i should opt for?
    Thanks and Regards

  25. Hi,

    I have been offered a job in Dubai with total AED 8700 / month for Sr. Sales Executive position by a paint company.

    Break up is as follows:
    Basic: 3000, HRA 3200, Allowance : 2500,
    Medical : 4500/anum
    Car, fuel & mobile will be provided by the company. (No Accomodation frm company)
    Return ticket every two years to India.

    Currently I am earning Rs 400000 / anum in India. I have total experience of 4 years in the same field here. And I would like to come there with my wife.

    Is this offer good enough worth accepting? Can I expect any savings?

    Expecting your early reply.

  26. Hi Nash,
    I m From India and i just completed my MBA from here and just got placed in dubai with pay of 2500AED and other expenses like accomodation, car,driver, medical bills, water & electric bills is afford by the company…. can you give your sincere advice whether it is a good option or not. i m single and non smoker , non alcoholic also.

  27. Hi Nash

    Greetings for the day!

    I’am an MBA in Marketing & Finance and have an experience of 2.8 yrs in banking, BPO and food industry.

    Well I’am looking for a job in banking industry as I’am currently working with HSBC INDIA as an assistant sales manager.

    I need your assistance for the opportunities & the compensation that i can look forward in dubai & how to take it further .

    Awaiting for your response.

    Thanks in Advance.

    +91 7829450555

  28. Hi!
    I am a fresher just completed my MBA in Finance and am interested to working in gulf in a reputed bank as a financial analysis/pertaining to the finance area job as such.
    I am female, single and willing to join immediately. I am an Indian nationality.
    Can anyone help with the following:
    1. Job offers for MBA finance currently in Dubai or Saudi Arabia.
    2. Salary expectation?

    Thank you & looking forward for a response!

  29. Hello!

    thank you for all helpful info that I found on your site. But still I need some

    I am considering moving to Dubai (Im Croatian) and just exploring how much would it be paid job that Im interested in. I have Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Management and searching for a job as Reservation/Sales/Events Manager. I have 5 years experience and have worked in Italy and US as well… Can anyone tell me something about this field of industry.

    Kind regards,

  30. Hi Nash,

    Thanks for your cooperation!!

    I’m IT Administrator having 9 year experience in windows server, exchange, sccm and vmware with storage concept. can i get job in uae ( incl sharja, oman, muscat, doha, baharain)… and how much i get it to fulfil my needs and saving maximum to send my family, also how much gold we can carry when going out of uae?

    Thanks :)

  31. gopal krishan sharma mobile- 9501732042 punjab india says:

    hi i gopal krishan sharma work-electrical$mobile reapir

  32. Hi Nash,

    thanks for the site, its is bery useful to get a correct idea.. i have offered 5000AED per month including all wages.the work place is in hamriyah free zone can i get cheap sharing accommodation near of that?..if possible what is the average cost..also tell me the food & net connection cost…..

  33. Hi, I am thinking about going to dubai after I am done my schooling. I will be a Journeyman Sheet Metal Mechanic. Is there high demand for this? And how much money per money could I earn? Thank you

  34. Piyush Chokshi says:


    its is excellent site for getting best tips

    my self piyush chokshi i m website designer currently i m India

    i m looking a job for website designer in Dubai i have more than 4 years experience IT Field

    plz. guide me i can what to do for job in Dubai?

    piyush chokshi

  35. hi,m earning 5000aed in ahotel as a night auditor,im planning to bring my wife and son,is money sufficient?pls advise

    • also i want to bring thm by the end of january ,i just jined in november,i want to bring them to abu dhabi as soon as possible as soon as possible as my wife and son are alone in india…will i able to support them with my salary of 5000aed salary …i work as a night auditor in a hotel …pls help

  36. hi

    the info. provided above or else on this site is very use full in looking a job of u r choice but i m a little bit confused how to start this process can any one help me out in the same …

    himanshu chatrath

  37. Vladimira Calic says:

    Dear Nash

    I hope you can help me.
    I am from Australia and would love to move to Dubai early next year. I have 5 years experience in Property industry, Property Management position to be exact. I would like to find a job in Property or some sort of a Personal Assistant position Could you suggest any job agencies or companies I should contact? I have been applying on and many other websites however I have not heard back from anyone yet 
    Also what kind of salary can I expect?

    Thank you in advance


  38. Hi

    I am married & have a kid aged around 1 year. I have a offer with an IT company of 15000 AED per month. Accomodation + food + transport would on me it is enough ??? Or should i negotiate more..

    Please suggest…

  39. Hello,

    I am an MBA graduate with Engg. I have an exp of more than 2 years in sales & marketing. Recently I am getting an offer of 3000 AED/month+transport for the first 6 months in a software distribution company as a business development executive. Is that salary enough to survive there? How much should I expect atleast?

  40. Assalamu Alaykom

    I am a US born US citizen. 18 years old and high school educated. I want to move to and spend the rest of my days in Dubai. Its literally my dream and goal. But Im so scared I have no idea where to start. Can you help?

  41. Hi friends
    I am an accountant and having 3 years of experience
    kindly try to adjust me at any suitable job in dubai
    i will be very thankful to you

    best regards

    Irfan ahmad

  42. RAKESH KANDARI says:

    Dear Nash,

    I am rakesh form India,seeking opportunity in dubai.

    I did Master in Maths and PGDBM in HR & Marketing,got 2 yeras experience in the filed of marketing,looking forward to see a job in the field of education.can you pease guide me for the same,i want to apporach any good school in dubai,please help me can i reach out to the concerned people.

  43. Hi,
    I am looking for job as an Occupational therapist in Dubai. Where could I find agencies which recruit for the same?
    Thank you.

  44. Dear Bloggers!!

    Am applying for graduate jobs in Dubai for the position of an Hr administrator/ HR officer, I recently graduated with a Msc Business Mgt with HR degree from the Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland and i have 2-3 yrs supervisory/junior management level work experience in the service sector but not in HR department, now a few places i have applied they have responded asking me my salary expectations, i was wondering if any one of you could help me figure this one out asap!!

    Kind Regards to all

  45. Hi Nash
    This is Ashutosh from India 28 year old I am loking todo job in Dubai in Automobile Industries or Delership I have complited Diploma in Mechanical and Post Diploma Automobile.
    so please suggest me Vacancies for me.

  46. karthikeyan. says:

    I am indian Diploma civil Engineer, I have 10 years experience in site Engineer, i will face interview in chennai for dubai. how much salary can i expect?

  47. Mohamed Ghouse says:

    Hi Dude,

    Im Indian.
    I have 3+yrs experience in Telecom core network engineer.
    Im BE-computer science graduate + MBA (International Business).
    I planned to come Dubai on 1st quarter of 2012 through visiting visa.
    How much possible is there to get job and minimum salary expectation?
    I need your guidance to start my career in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
    Waiting for your response.

    Mohamed Ghouse

  48. JAdhav S.D. says:

    Hi All,

    I am Jadhav. I am looking for job oppertuinities in Dubai as Glazing & facad -Recruiter or designer jobs. I have experience in relevent filed around 3-4yrs.
    I have 3yrs India experience in Engineering Industries & Glazingwork industries. 2 Yr expeirence in glazing companies. Please let me know,wht kind of oppertunities i will get in Dubai and wht will be the salary range that i can accept? What about the visa process procedure?

    I appriciate your response.

    Thank you.
    Jadhav S.D.

  49. Hi Nash,
    i am from pakistan and having over 8 year of experience in media industry in pakistan television channel. now i wants to comes in dubai media market. I have worked as senior producer, producer/ director in programming departments. please help me on this how can i get job in dubai. As i searh the job for last 6 months but not get any opportunity. Please tel me how can i get to overcome on this.

    azam shakeel

    0092 300 2218397
    0093 321 2432717

  50. Patrick Ryan says:

    I have been self employed as a garden landscaper since 2002 and have also a civil engineering certificate. landscaping work has dried up here. Would there be an oppertunity for me in Dubai with a landscape contractor or in the construction industry as i have many labouring skills also. And if so what kind of monet could i expect to earn.thanks.