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. Maryam Rad says:

    hi, i live in Iran. For some problems that my you know such as financial problems i decided to emigrate . The best place for me is Dubai , because is near to my country and also has professional situation …. Currently i am the area manager of a company which has the retail of famous clothing brands in Iran …. I am familiar with all the steps of opening a clothing brand store and also other operation which must done in the store such as training the sales persons and Visual Merchandising, etc
    I would like to find the agent of clothing brands in Dubai , if it is possible please help me
    Regards ,

  2. Hi
    i have been offered a job for 200000 Dhirrams per annum. this includes all benfits. Will this be sufficient for a family of 3 ? (myself, husband and a 10yr old). currently our lifestyle is very good, we can save and still go out at least 2 or 3 times a week.
    we would need a two bedroom place, a car and also need schooling for our kid.
    Please adivse. thanks


  3. Hi I am an MBA Graduate and i am from India, Presently working in Indian Government Department as mid-level officer from past three years. My job is actually an administrative position, I draw a monthly salary of about 2400AED in india. However I am not satisfied with the Job as the salary is less and work culture is awful. Being an MBA, I feel like i am wasting my time in working in Government Sector. I have thought about trying to move to Dubai for a Job, Do i have any chances of Getting a job there, since my experience is in Govt. Sector. Suggestions welcome..

  4. Fawad Ahmed says:

    Assalam O Allikum,
    I have done MBA in 2003 and since then working in reputeable organizations in Marketing & Sales department, at the moment working in Production oriented company which is selling industrial goods to Spinning sector in Pakistan. I would like to relocate my self in Gulf for better oppurtunities with better life style. plz advice me

  5. hi,i am shahid working in india as a government employe ,i hav 29 yr exp in civil engineering please tel me wat would b the package for my experience.

  6. hii,

    I received offer from RAK bank & they are offering me 8000 AED.The below is the break up.

    also confirm 8000/-AED means how much in indian rupees.The below is the offer.

    Location: Ras Al Khaimah –UAE

    Company: IT People Deputation at RAK Bank (

    Salary: 8,000 AED with Benefits-Airfare, Medical & 30 days Paid Leave.

    Mode of Employment: Contract to Hire

    Contact Period: 1 year Ext.

    plz revert ASAP.

  7. 8,000 AED means how much indian rupees

    Remuneration & Client Detail:

    Location: Ras Al Khaimah –UAE

    Company: IT People Deputation at RAK Bank (

    Salary: 8,000 AED with Benefits-Airfare, Medical & 30 days Paid Leave.

    Mode of Employment: Contract to Hire

    Contact Period: 1 year Ext.

  8. Hii,

    Pls advice me we got below offer from Dubai & I have 3 years exp in india only.

    Pls suggest me this offer is god for me or not as per their cost of living.

    Client – RAK bank
    Salary: 8,000 AED with Benefits-Airfare, Medical & 30 days Paid Leave.

  9. Hi I am from India . I have got 18 yrs of Industry Experience ( 12 yrs domain and 6 yrs of SAP MM Implementation Exp ). I am a certified SAP MM Functional Consultant having done implementation for two world know Pharma Companies. I am wanting to shift base to Middle East in SAP Practice. I will be accompanied by my wife and two daughters one in Class 7 and the other in Class2. I would be interested in having a 2 bedroom appartment and sending my daughters to ICSE School.

    My Question

    1. What should be the Mnthly salary in AED to have 2 bedroom appartment, car , sending 2 daughters to ICSE School, good avg std of living and to have a good saving per annum.
    2. Does Company provide accomodation or I have to arrange. If I have to arrange for accomodation does comapny help me with the rent initially.
    3. Does Company help to get my daughters enrolled in ICES Schools.
    4. Does the Company provide Medical Insurance.
    5. If someone can give me the Expense Break up per mnth a) 2 Bed Room Appartment b) Car c) Fuel d) School Expense for 2 daughters e ) Food f ) Misc + any other

    If you can please send your comments.

  10. Sadaf Khan says:

    Hi Nash,
    I have an offer as per details below.Can you please suggest if I shud go for it.I will be travelling with my wife. I will be joining as Technical Analyst position.Accomodation is in International city. Will i be able to save here. In India I am getting 12.5 lacs INR annually.

    Annual CTC is 104540/- AED (Base salary 8300/ – AED permonth + Gratuity 1940/ – AED per annum + Medical Insurance 3000/ – AEDper annum) In addition to Dubai Salary, I will be getting Free (Fully Furnished)Accommodation and Transportation (To and Fro to office).

  11. I want to know the Dubai room rental fees, for a normal livig person.

  12. hii

  13. Hi dear,

    I recently got a job in Dubai.Its a retail chain..Redtag.
    They have hired me as IT manager.
    They are offering me 4000 AED + accommodation..

    tell me will it possible to survive in dis chunk of money.

  14. DEBASHIS NANDA says:

    Dear sir,
    i am a cost accountant, having 2 years post qualification experience in finance & accounts, costing.
    Now i am seeking for a job at Dubai. To whom i shall contact,any big job consultant? solicit your help,
    Thanks & regards,
    Debashis Nanda

  15. kristine perez says:

    how much monthly salary should i be getting to lived in dubai with a wife and two kids, both kids in highschool? we have a savings of about 20,000 aed..

  16. Hi,

    I have got an offer 25KAED per month+15% Variable pay+Fully Paid co Vehicle +Annual Housing Allowance of 115K AED.I have approx 10 years oe Exp in Sales and Marketing.Please update how is the offer.


  17. JaideepbHichkad says:

    Dear Sir

    I’m an Indian andI’m looking for an opportunity in Dubai to work as an IT professional.My area of expertise is Network Security. I’ve more than 7 yeras of experience and am married and have to relocate with my wife. I’m willing to live frugally in order to save as much as I can.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice of yours on the salary negotiation part.

    Sir, also please guide me on how to get more interview calls from Dubai.

    Warm Regards

  18. pavankumar says:

    Dear sir,

    Recently i got the offer frm abhudhabi with 4000AED (accomdation and food) ,is that salary ok for living there alone? please suggest me.

  19. Hi
    Nash Assalmuwalekum I have done MCA and I have been recently offered a package 3000 AED per month and no any accommodation no food and no travel can i survive in this pkg in Dubai please tell me.

  20. Sir,

    I want to work in dubai i have it hardware knoledge of 15 Year please guide me how to go about it

  21. Ahmed Hassan Ahmed Qishta says:

    Hello I want to go to Malaysia now I like Malaysia a lot, but I want to get a job in Malaysia means, for example, in a restaurant or hotel or at the airport mean like I want to be a function in the hygiene and the salary is very beautiful too, such as a monthly salary of 3 thousand dollars Now I want to I know now I only live a very difficult situation very very please with my family helped me but I am (there is no certificate of the third public high school) there is the second high school certificate, but I am 19 year please help me

  22. dr amit anandani says:

    im dr amit anandani with bachelors of dental surgery with experience of 3 years, currently planing to join post graduation in dubai in dental sciences. After post graduation wht basic pay am i expected to get??

  23. Hi Nash !

    I have been reading through all your sincere & useful replies.

    Please guide me.

    I am a Modular Kitchen Specialist – Designing , Sales and Operations – 10 yrs experiece.

    What do you think about the employment opportunities and career path in UAE ?


  24. teke motombi esose says:

    for now i work with fakoship buea as a welder so i wish to get a job in dubia.if i can have one i will be much gratefull


  26. Is there any IT Recruitment agency IT People FZ-LLC

  27. Sir,

    i have total job experience of 10+ years in which 7 years in Telecommunications ( documentation Audit, Customer service, Sales, Credits & Collections). can you pls provide me the details of few companies sites / few best consultancies / your mail id to which i can forward my Cv directly. i was being trying for Job through job sites since 2 months and i didn’t get any response. pls help me in this. thank You.

  28. I am from Canada and was offered the following package. I have been offered 27000 AED per month in Abu Dhabi. There is car allowance and 80% of kids schooling will be covered. tickets back to Canada will also be covered. I have 3 kids, is this a good monthly salary to move to Abu Dhabi?

  29. im planing to look for a job in dubai I’m a fresh grad .. But I will apply tru agency.. Can I find a job there considering that I don’t have any experience.

  30. hi,

    I am from India and trying to get employment in Abu Dhabi. Would be happy if you guide me on the cost of living at present in dubai if i go for bachelor accommodation. Alo would like to know the cost of food and transportation (on an average pm).


  31. Hi
    Very helpful articale and comments.
    I am from India and Working as Software Engineer in web and software developement for last 3 years (Microsoft Technologies). I was planning to relocate to Dubai for my carrier and living. I am married and shift their with my wife. So I wanted to know how much I should demand in AED from employers.
    Waiting for you reply.

  32. hi,
    Im currently in dubai and looking for job in financial/banking co in dubai. I have over 3 yrs of experience in an indian bank. Iv been searching for a job since a while now without any results. Can you suggest how to contact the HR mangers in banks and how to get to the interview stage as Im completely new to Dubai.

  33. HI NASH

    Me n my husband is planng to move to dubai.but befor that we want to confirm our jobs.can you please help me out?How can i find a comfortable accomodation within a minimum rate..

  34. Hi

    I am from the UK and 26 years old Telecom’s Engineer working for the largest UK Telecoms company. I have 6 years experience in field work which includes providing and repairing fixed line phone and broadband/internet. I have experience in cabling large office and shopping malls ready for telephone systems to be installed. I have a basic knowledge in telephone systems. I have uploaded some CV’s to various companies with know luck. I am looking for the Dubai area if anyone could help me out with any contacts or company they could recommend that would be great.

    Thanks Daniel

  35. Hi iam working in life insurance co. ineed some client or companies list for those i can provide insurance please help me.

  36. I am a Metallurgical Engineering graduate from REC / NIT – Durgapur (WB-INDIA ) and have a strong experiences in LAB ( MET+MECH+CALIBRATION+DIMENSION+NDT+CHEMICAL),STEEL FOUNDRY ,HEAT TREATMENT , QMS ISO/TS16949 , MR Function , Prooblem solving ,Customer Complaint Handling ,SPC , MSA , 85 , 5S , TPM , JIT ,PPM ,NDT ( UT +MPT+DPT+RT+VI+ECT) with asnt,ndt,L-11 (ut+mpt),Audit ,Corossion & SST with Coating etc .Need A VERY BRIGHT OPPORTUNITY .09556042604

  37. I’m not studious or innovative.because of my parents pressure i studied! Electronics&com.I somehow passed my after a long i want a job, what all kinds of job i could apply for with my qualification? Please help experts! I dont want to be software engineer.any other job for my qualification with good salary?

  38. I have been in the Transpotation business for 26yrs and also buy and sell cars and i am looking to find someone or a company that needs vehicles for Dubia or wouldlike to purchase vehicles from me and I can have them shipped over if anyone can point me in the right direction it would be very helpfull
    Thank you
    Steve just e-mail me

  39. hi
    i am offered a job as HR in a company. d salary told to me is 7000dhs per month. i hv 2yrs exp n m a graduate. they didnt tel me anything abt d accomodation,travel allowance, food n other things. is d salary worth it? or hw much shud i expext?

    another question wud b
    my boyfriend is also looking out for a job in dubai. he has 2yrs sales experince in hotel n also few more like working in a mobile shop, showroom for 6months or so. wat shud i do to get him a good job der? plz let me knw abt d steps. and also hw much salary shud he expect in a company or hotel industry.

    thanking you in advance. hoping for a reply soon.

  40. hello

    I am Planing to work in Dubai As they are ready to pay 7000AED
    including house & medical insurance
    can i save Money hear

  41. rupain vij says:

    dear sir,
    I am from india and a newly qualfied chartered accountant, want to do job in good companies of dubai , so want to know about the scope of ca as a professional in dubai.Moreover tell me the portal where i can get the vacanies & post my resume there.

  42. Ifeanyi Bob says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am a Nigerian 31 years and a Computer Technician with 11 years experience and I am looking for a Job in Dubai. Please can you help me with any contacts.


  43. I have received a job offer for 20000 AED per month. I am a chemical engineer with 5 years experience. How much will be the cost of living for me and my wife in Dubai for a comfortable life, and how much can I save per month?
    Please advise.

  44. Dear sir,

    I am Planing to work in Dubai.I got my BA. as a software engineering about 1 year ago,I’m23 years old,in addition I have worked for 3 different companies as an IT Help desk,but currently i am working as a translator of professional Text in both German and English,I would like to work with my German ability in Dubai,because I really like this field,Therefore I would appreciate if you could provide me appropriated info. regarding to my purpose.

    In waiting for your prompt reply,
    Best regards