Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Money Matters

You will require Emirati Dirhams. Pretty well the only place you can get these is at the cash window of the Royal Bank on Queen Street (cash window is in back of the bank). They will order the funds in and call you when it arrives (usually a few days). For you off-Islanders, not sure, but try the largest Royal Bank in your city. The exchange rate is approximately 1.00 AED=
0.28 CAD. I have not had a problem using my bank card in UAE just like here, but you may want to take some dirhams to start you off. Remember everytime you use your bank card over there you will be charges about $5 CDN per transaction.

For this portion of the trip, there is no need to take any other currency. US dollars don't mean much there. The dirham is a stronger currency. For those travelling on, you can change any unused dirhams (less those for souvenirs) into Euros, Pounds Sterling etc. You can also get this beforehand too. Those going to Egypt should order their funds here before leaving, as well. Ask the bank to give you as much currency in small denominations as they can. Try to get at least 10-20% in the smallest denominations as it can (or used to be) very hard to find small denominations and a lot of smaller vendors will not have change (or at least they say they don't) so if you pay $8 with a $10, you may not get change. It is very easy to convert funds into Euros and Pounds in Dubai. Egyptian Pounds, perhaps less so. Therefore get those before. There are bank machines in Egypt too.

If you plan on using your credit card in Dubai (and elsewhere) you may want to call your card company to tell them this. Sometimes unusual activity out of a pattern will trigger a fraud alert and they will put a hold on your card. Just push the appropriate buttons to get to "report lost or stolen credit card" and tell them you will be travelling overseas and the dates.

As mentioned previously I will cover all basic groceries. I am going to renew my International Driver's license, but I am unsure if I can use the SUVs at the villa. Regardless, probably plan on about $75 CDN for taxis for your ten days. This should be more than enough. I recall that a taxi from the Mall of the Emirates (near the Palm) to Dubai Creek (downtown) was about 30 - 40dh which is about $10. So this is very reasonable, especially if split amongst a car load. I'm saying $75, but it could be $30. Taxis are by the km, not the time...which is good, cause that trip from the mall to the creek was about 45 minutes as it was rush hour.

Jason will drive us to nearby sites if between 8am and 8pm. Nearby sites include the Mall of the Emirates and Wild Wadi.

See previous posts for amount of tip for Jason.

Sites/excursions $ up to you. See 'things to do' on the side. I'd say $250 would allow you to do just about all you want (excluding tea at Burj Al Arab which is about $100 with tip).

Meals - I imagine we will breakfast at the villa (poolside) and most evening meals will be at the villa, but perhaps we will go out once or twice. Depending where we are we may have a handful of lunches out. This can be $3 for a kabob or $7 for a combo at a fast food in the Mall. You could always pack a lunch from the villa too.

Shopping $ - up to you. I will conduct a bartering seminar the first day at the villa. The first day or so of each group, we will go to the souks (markets) have a shopping list - dates, lamb, arabic coffee, rice, spice, fresh fruit - I'll give you each an item, some money, and we will have a ball shopping for our groceries. We will also go to a real grocery store for the other essentials.

I think that is it...you can spend as much or as little as you want. If funds are tight, just put a shopping limit on yourself and pick your outings accordingly. We will do lots of stuff that doesn't cost anything like the camel track for practice (I wrote 'rehearsal' first...), souks, window shopping, and just soaking up the culture of this amazing place. Not to mention vegging poolside at the villa. I am going to buy one of those pool blow up floatey lounges with a drink holder. Which reminds me...remember your booze $ at Duty Free. That will be your only opportunity.

Any questions, let me know.

1 comment:

Terry said...

When I say you can use your debit card in UAE, I mean at a bank machine. Don't know about debit as I don't do debit.