Whether you are new in Dubai or have
only started to drive or perhaps just bought a new vehicle, being familiar with
the Salik system is crucial if you want to cruise through the country’s
highways with ease. To start, you will need a Salik tag, which links to your
personal prepaid Salik account. Keeping this account topped up is important
because while no one will stop you from passing through Salik gates regardless
your account’s status, insufficient credits (and plain failure to get a Salik
tag) may lead to huge fines. Fortunately for the modern driver, Salik recharge
online services are widely available so you can
easily keep your account recharged.
On the go Salik recharge online
services are your best shield against fines that authorities impose on vehicle
owners who fail to keep sufficient balance in their accounts. SpotServe is the
best and only digital marketplace that can offer you the quickest and easiest
way to top up your Salik account. With SpotServe, you can instantly send the balance
to your Salik account through your mobile without having to endure long queues,
on-hold on the phone or to maintain multiple accounts for different online
services (SpotServe offers access to a wide range of companies and services
under one account). Your Salik account should be recharged 5 days after it is
due to avoid fines from having insufficient funds in your credit. An AED 50
violation will apply if you are unable to reload in 5 days.
I have been working in Dubai for over 2 years now but I never had the time to go around and visit the city thoroughly. I’ve always wanted to visit the UAE attractions since I came to Dubai; I had a few things in mind that I wanted to do as soon as I get to Dubai apart from looking for a job. Going on the desert safari, eating a fancy brunch, going on top of Burj Khalifa, visiting Atlantis, visiting the Zabeel park were just a few. However, when I finally landed in Dubai, I realized that Dubai is definitely a luxurious tourist attraction. It can be very expensive and can be fairly over the budget a lot of the times.
Dubai has the reputation of being the rich man’s playground as people here define lavish lifestyles for the rest of the world. A lot of people are hesitant of coming to Dubai as they think that Dubai is too expensive. However, it depends on the tourists and people themselves can make it as expensive or as cheap as they want. I guess this applies to all other cities and countries as well. I so badly wanted to visit Atlantis and spend a night there as well as go At the Top-Burj Khalifa but since I was traveling on a budget, I decided to avoid them. Luckily, while I was in Dubai I found out that I could live and enjoy myself in Dubai for as low as a few dollars. There were days when I spent as low as $4 to $6 per day without breaking my wallet.
So what kind of a tourist are you? Dubai is an experience in itself and it has a lot of fun places for you to visit on a budget. Are you a nature lover or do you enjoy a cultural stroll or are you someone who loves beaches or water, in general, there is something for everyone in Dubai without wearing out your wallet! Listed below are a few things that you can do in Dubai while on a budget;
If you are the outdoorsy type them you should give Zabeel Park a try. Zabeel Park is one of the largest parks in Dubai and is located between Al-Karama and the World Trade Center. Zabeel Park offers many recreational activities such as housing a children’s amusement complex, a 3D cinema, and an edutainment center. There are many open spaces throughout the park as well as an adventure playground, boat rides, ice skating, children’s party and activity rooms, amphitheaters, covered areas for barbeques and picnics, jogging tracks, BMX track, techno zone and many more. The best part is that Wi-Fi connectivity is available throughout the park. The entry fee for this park is a mere Dh 5 per person.
Almost everyone I know who has traveled to Dubai has at one time or another experienced Dubai’s Desert Safari and yes it was definitely on my to-do list as well. Dubai Desert Safari packages vary in price though affordable options are also available and can start for as little as AED 100 including overnight camping, dune-bashing on 4WD jeeps, camel riding, quad biking safari, belly dancing and dinner under the stars. In short, while in Dubai, Desert Safari is one of the must things that you should definitely do and experience.
Dubai has many public beaches where tourists and the local residents can go to for free. JBR beach is an all-time favorite for the residents- if you want a good spot with plenty of sunshine be sure to get there before 4pm, especially during the weekends or else all the best spots would be gone. Another famous beach that you should visit is the Kite beach. This beach gets its name from the large number of kite-flyers who visit this beach frequently. It is also dotted with lots of small hip cafes and food trucks. This beach is one of the busiest beaches in Dubai, however if you want to avoid the crowds and simply chill then try the Al Sufouh beach, also known as the Black Palace beach. This place is little hard to find but once you are there, you can enjoy its peaceful waters, serenity and the beautiful view.
While I was job searching in Dubai, I had quite some time to search for cheap eateries and I came across the Al Karama neighborhood where the locals are mostly Indians. This neighborhood has a lot of cheap, pocket-friendly restaurants where I was able to enjoy different cuisines on a budget. Some things that I tried were Idli for breakfast which costs just AED 4, the breakfast platter costs around AED 15 and while being so delicious and filling, it is even a healthy breakfast choice. Lunch and dinner was an Indian Thali which was for about AED 17 and had 4 to 5 small portions of veg and non-veg curry, a portion of rice and a sweet dish. Chicken biryani costs around AED 24 and the one person serving is enough for two persons. However, if you are a person who loves Arabic food then do as the locals do and visit the 2nd of December Street for some budget-friendly food. Cuisines from all over the world are available here- chicken shawarmas from Al Mallah are just too amazing. Per person servings here costs approximately AED 15 and do not forget to bring cash as many cafes and stalls do not except card.
Then there’s Deira which is famous for its traditional souks such as the Deira Gold Souk and the Deira Spice Souk. It is packed with shoppers throughout the day. At Deira Spice Souk, you can simply roam around and enjoy the hustle. Furthermore, you should definetly visit Gold Souk, the largest gold market in the world, even if you don’t intend on buying anything.
Other places that you can visit while on a budget include the Jumeirah Mosque which is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in Dubai, Etihad Museum where you can discover how UAE was formed, Dubai Water Canal which offers one of the best views of the city and the Dubai Fountain where you can enjoy the world’s tallest dancing water fountain at night. While Dubai does boast of an extravagant lifestyle, it still offers enough for the budget travellers.
Before subscribing to a credit card, you should decide whether you would want to pay your credit card bills to the bank on a monthly cycle or make payments after 30 days/over several months. The reason why you should decide this in advance is that if you clear the credit card bill each month before the due date, the interest rates on the credit cards will not affect you.
2. Incentives/Benefits Provided
While choosing a credit card, you should also consider the more fun aspects of the credit cards which are the niche benefits provided or the extra incentives offered by various providers. Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose a credit card which gives you the incentive of either getting cash back on purchases, movie ticket deals, discount on school fees, air miles, dinner and lunch vouchers, and reward points which can be redeemed through shopping and/or dining and many more. Some platinum and gold credit cards also offer free airport lounge access, free or discounted health club memberships, golf privileges and/or free room or plane ticket upgrades. People who travel a lot would benefit from a card where traveling and spending points are piled up to give the user attractive offers on mileage, plane tickets, airport lounges, hotel stays etc.
3. Stick to your Limits
You should be aware that no matter how much freedom a credit card offers, the debt on it still has to be paid so you should choose such a card which has a sensible credit limit so that you can pay it off within the granted time period. You can use SpotServe to compare different credit cards so that you can see for yourself which card can become your credit buddy and which can become your credit enemy.
4. Spending Habits
When you are thinking of applying for a credit card, one thing that you should be certain about is your spending habit i.e. are you a big spender or a small spender? Are you a spendthrift or a cautious credit user? Do you use credit cards when dining or for entertainment purposes or just for grocery shopping? What is the biggest expense that makes a dent in your wallet? First, you need to ask yourself whether you actually need a card or you just want one for fashion purposes. If you need a card then browse through SpotServe to find the credit card that will reduce your expenditure on your highest spending place.
5. Single Digit Interest Rates
Another thing that you should be aware of is that Islamic banks are Sharia compliant and so they do not charge their clients profit over profit. What this means is that the card issuing bank will apply a kalafah fee on the cardholder as the membership fee for services the bank provides on the card and this fee is determined in advance and is fixed and is not linked to the amount spent by the cardholder. Late payment fee on these Islamic credit cards is fixed and is considered to be compensation or penalty for the late payment. It is calculated based on the outstanding balance and is most of the time given to charity. Secondly, these Sharia-compliant credit cards also offer balance transfer plans at low rates. The benefits of these cards include 0.5 to 1 percent cash back on every dirham spent which the customer can use to pay utility bills such as FEWA, DEWA, DU, Etisalat, and Salik. Not only this but other personalized services such as roadside assistance, purchase protection and/or travel insurance are also offered on some cards. Other factors to consider when looking for a card are the annual fees which are mandatory for some credit cards, amount of cash withdrawal charges and other service fees- remember to ask the salesperson for any hidden fees.
6. One card or Two Cards
Most banks offer a supplementary credit card to the credit card holder or one or two of his immediate family members as an incentive, however, you can choose not to take them. If you want a second card then remember your motivations as well as your ability to pay while getting one. Ask the salesperson to check your debt-to-burden ratio, to see if you are eligible.
7. Overseas expenses
If you are planning to use a credit card for overseas transactions than bear in mind that some banks charge 2 to 3 percent of your overseas expense amount as the processing fee for each time the credit card is used by the customer.
8. Credit Shield
A credit shield is like an insurance against your credit card bill- it removes a negligible amount from your credit card bill for unforeseen circumstances such as death, disability and/or injury which stop you from repaying your credit in the future. However, if you do not use your credit card for such huge expenses then it isn’t important for you to activate the shield.
9. Installment Offers
Most banks in UAE, as well as the rest of the world, offer interest-free instalment plans when it comes to purchasing goods and services. The duration of these plans can be anywhere from three months to 36 months. For instance, when you buy a phone and choose the instalment option then many banks offer you an interest-free payment plan for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and/or 12 months if you use their credit card to initiate the payment. Some credit cards also offer parents the chance to pay their child’s school fee as part of an easy instalment plan.
10. The Fine Print
Always look at the fine print or the hidden terms and conditions on the contract before ticking on the ‘agree’ tab. The fine print might contain details on fees charged for using the credit card during a year, additional costs charged when the card is used during a promotion, stipulations (if any) on spending, stores included/not included in the offer and etc. And finally, choose the channel where you will compare and apply for a credit card. Take advantage of cash back rewards incentives with these bank partners, such as SpotServe. Search for the right credit card for you- download SpotServe on Google Play or Apple Store or go to https://www.spotserve.ae/dl for an exclusive invite to download the SpotServe Beta Version. SpotServe works by providing a detailed credit card comparison so that its customers can get the best visa credit card in the banking system as per their requirements.