Budget Travel UAE: Where can AED3,000 or less take you?

Budget Travel UAE:  Where can AED3,000 or less take you?

Story and Photos by Gelo Santos

If you’re a resident of the UAE and you have an extra AED3,000 to spend and four days and three nights for traveling, where would you go abroad to relax, learn different cultures, taste various cuisines, meet new friends, take selfies worthy of Facebook and Instagram and, of course, create priceless memories? Here’s a rundown of budget-friendly countries, what to expect in each destination, as well as travel cost estimates based on actual experiences (daily expenses are computed with two full meals with drinks per day, assuming that breakfast is free at the accommodation). This should give you enough reason to pack your bags and book that next short haul flight from Dubai or Sharjah!


Why travel to Armenia?

Armenia is the country of “fresh”! Fresh air, freshly baked breads, fresh fruits and fruit-wines, and freshly cooked food! It is modest destination, yet it’s filled with interesting tourist spots – from the Republic Square, Mother Armenia Monument and Cascade in the capital city, Yerevan; to the ancient pagan temple in Garni, medieval Geghard Monastery, and a long but worthwhile drive to peaceful and calming Sevan lake; down to Tatev Monastery that’s perched on a hill, and only accessible via the Wings of Tatev – the Guiness World Record holder for being the longest two-way aerial ropeway, in the southern region. Just seeing the majestic snowcapped Mount Ararat, that’s traditionally believed to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark and a lot more, should compel you to visit this beautiful country!

Must-know before traveling to Armenia:

  • Flight duration from Dubai/Sharjah airport to Yerevan: 3 hours 10 min.
  • Visa requirements: Tourist Visa Application form from Yerevan airport, passport valid for at least 6 months, valid residence visa, return tickets, address of accommodation
  • Must eat in Armenia: lahmajun (local pizza), Armenian lavash (thin unleavened flatbread), dolma (meat or vegetables rolled up in fresh young grape leaves).

Sample Travel Budget to Armenia:

  • Cost of visa: AED23 (or AMD 3000) for Filipino residents in the UAE, paid and stamped on arrival
  • Return flight: from AED1100 (FlyDubai from Dubai, or almost the same cost with Air Arabia from Sharjah)
  • Accommodation for 4 days and 3 nights in Yerevan with free breakfast & WIFI :
    • Hotel room : from AED300 or
    • Hostel bunk bed in 6-bed mixed dormitory room : from AED66 – AED200
  • Total cost of food : from AED240
  • Cost of Day Tour: AED53 + AED137
  • Total Cost of Day Tour for 2 days: from AED190
  • Day Tours may be availed from Yerevan-based travel agency or from the hotel or hostel
  • Miscellaneous/souvenirs, taxi fares : AED200
  • Total cost of trip to Armenia: AED2,053 or even less

Check out Tourism Armenia for more info.



Why travel to Georgia?

With fascinating landscapes from snowcapped Gudauri Ski Resort and Kazbegi mountain in winter, unique remote valleys and rolling meadows; ancient cave villages like Uplistsikhe, to countless heritage sites, and centuries-old churches; experiencing Georgian hospitality and visiting traditional wine making sites, are more than enough reasons for you to consider Georgia as your next travel destination!

Must-know before traveling to Georgia:

  • Flight duration from Dubai/Sharjah airport to Tbilisi: 3 hours 30 min.
  • Visa Requirements: Passport valid for at least 6 months, valid residence visa
  • Must eat and drink in Georgia: Khachapuri (bread, with cheese), Khinkali (Georgian dumplings), local wines.

Sample Travel Budget to Georgia:

  • Cost of visa: FREE for Filipino residents in UAE, stamped on arrival.
  • Return flight: from AED764 (FlyDubai from Dubai), or from AED1,010 (Air Arabia from Sharjah).
  • Accommodation for 4 days and 3 nights in Tbilisi with free breakfast and WIFI:
    • Hotel room : from AED500 to AED700 or Hostel bunk bed in 6-bed mixed dormitory room: from AED130 – AED300
  • Total cost of food : from AED240
  • Cost of Day Tour : from AED370
  • Total Cost of Day Tour for 2 days : from AED740
  • Day Tours may be availed from Tbilisi-based travel agency or from hotel or hostel.
  • Miscellaneous/souvenirs, taxi fares – AED200
  • Total cost of trip to Georgia: AED 2,890 or even less.

Check out Georgia National Tourism Administration for more info.

Budget Travel UAE:  Where can AED3,000 or less take you?


Why travel to Kenya?

If you believe that you need to experience a safari (appreciating animals in their natural habitats sans fences and cages), and to set foot in Africa for at least once in your life, then you must include traveling to Nairobi in your bucket list!

Must-know before traveling to Kenya:

  • Flight duration from Sharjah Airport to Nairobi: 5 hours.
  • Visa Requirements: e-visa worth USD50 (AED 184).
  • Must do in Nairobi :
    • Experience safari!
    • Visit an elephant orphanage and giraffe center.
    • Meet and interact with the Maasai Mara warrior tribe

Sample Travel Budget To Kenya :

  • Cost of e-visa: AED 184 (USD50).
  • Return flight: from AED 1116 (Air Arabia from Sharjah).
  • Accommodation for 4 days and 3 nights in Nairobi with free breakfast and WIFI:
    • Hotel room : from AED300 to AED500
  • Total cost of food : from AED240
  • Entrance fees :

Check out Kenya Tourist Board for more info.

Budget Travel UAE:  Where can AED3,000 or less take you?


Why travel to Russia?

Set foot in the largest country in the world! Have a close encounter with the iconic, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Orthodox churches in Kremlin, inside Moscow’s Red Square. Be inspired by how beautiful and efficient the metro subway stations in Russia run, while getting lost in translation!

Must-know before traveling to Russia:

  • Flight duration from Sharjah airport to Moscow: 5 hours.
  • Moscow is a surprisingly budget-friendly travel destination!
  • Visa requirements: Must apply personally to Russian Consulate in Umm Al Sheif, Dubai (please see website for list of complete requirements).

Must do in Moscow :

  • Visit Orthodox Churches and marvel at Russian architecture!
  • Wander inside Red Square, roam around Gum Mall

Sample Travel Budget to Russia:

  • Cost of tourist visa: AED305
  • Tourist voucher purchased online from Moscow-based travel agency: AED184 (USD50)
  • Return flight: from AED1200 (Air Arabia)
  • Accommodation of 4 days and 3 nights, with free breakfast & WIFI:
    • Hotel room : from AED400
  • Total cost of food: from AED240
  • Entrance fees:
    • Red Square: FREE!
    • Kremlin in Red Square: AED33
    • Basil’s Cathedral: AED32
    • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts: AED20
    • Church of Christ the Saviour: FREE!
    • Miscellaneous / souvenirs, tram fares, etc: AED200
    • Total cost of trip to Russia: AED2,614 or even less.

Check out Russia Tourism for more info.


Other options where same the range of travel budget may apply include Azerbaijan, Iran, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Oman.

Your vacation may be short and cheap.  But remember, your experiences and memories are priceless!



Currently based in Dubai, Doc Gelo is a licensed General Physician in the Philippines, a former medical lecturer in Malaysia and an author of two published travel photobooks, who works for in an international medical insurance company in the UAE. He documents his love and passion for traveling, culture, heritage and food on his blog and narrates stories through his photographs on his Instagram gallery.  He also loves chasing winter, watching sunsets and sipping tea or coffee. Follow him at: www.docgelo.com   www.instagram.com/iamdocgelo www.instagram.com/gelothebear   www.twitter.com/docgelo and www.facebook.com/docgelo


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From the Middle East to the rest of the world, IllustradoLife shares the stories of Filipinos expats from around the world, providing a global venue championing the world class Filipino. IllustradoLife features articles on fashion and beauty, travel, lifestyle, business, events and other topics of interest to the international Filipino community from its mother publication, Illustrado Magazine.

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