So sometime last month, the Lord laid this on my heart to plan this whole Jesus Girls Dubai trip for September 2020
Phew. I am super PUMPED for it, cos we get a WHOLE year to save up and then make it happen
I was in Dubai April 2019 with my kids and it was AMAZING. I looked forward however to being back this time with adult company as most of what I had to do was chosen with kids in mind, and then I planned the entire trip myself with everyday a DAILY hit (yes I know I repeated DAY right there but I mean it).
Check out the links that follow for my Day 1 to 8
So I am excited to plan this one with a couple Jesus Girls. Actually, I have a real group called JesusGirls on whatsapp and we meet from time to time and this whole plan started from there but hey, the more the merrier…
So what will the trip entail?
First, MONEY. I am such a wise planner and disciplined spender and have the grace to find and lock down amazing deals. When I share how much Dubai with my kids cost me, people are usually shocked. I got the VERY BEST deals and even without an agent haha. I actually planned an American trip in Oct 2018 and my goodness, my itinerary was AIR TIGHT good, just that I didn’t get the visa. I was going to about 4 cities and had gotten the BEST airline deals, transport logistics, accommodation, best airports to land and all. It was a perfect itinerary abeg. I have God’s grace for this thing!!!
So money. I cannot for sure say what it would cost but I can give an estimate and because we have a WHOLE year to plan, we can start to save small small
Here is a rough list
1. Flight: I favor Emirates abeg and it is under 300k when they are on promo. If we book early enough, we can surely snag up a good discount. Of course this return ticket price takes the bulk of the money
2. Accommodation: Skip the hotels baby, we are Air BnB’ing it. So basically, we stay in a house and depending on how many of us we are (I would prefer we are under 10 sha), we can rent out the whole house. My host in Dubai has a 4bed house and 3 are up for rent. With 3 people per room, we can definitely rock it out.
Depending on how many we are, each person may be spending like 50 to 80k OR LESS actually for the 8day trip. That is because we are sharing and all. I soooo am favoring Sara’s house cos it is close to practically EVERYWHERE. The house is right by a metro and two stops from Dubai mall, with loads of places to eat all kinds of food in her neighborhood and everything was affordable.
Her place is on Sheikh Zayeed road but that helps nothing cos that road spans the whole length of Dubai lol. Soooo long. But it is accessible to just about anywhere by Metro, Bus, or Taxi.
3. Visa. This one is like 40k per person. Sometimes if you do in bulk, you get a discount like my kids and I got 36 or 38k, no longer sure. I mean, this is so subject to change because one year is a long time but as at now, this is what it is. While you can book flight and accommodation very much ahead, you can only book a visa I think21days or so to your departure as it expires, but the visa can be out in 2 working days or less. It is really a seamless process, just scan and send your passport data page and passports. Easy peezy.
4. Transportation and Feeding is really something you need to budget for and by my rough estimate as at now, and with all the places we plan to go to, you may do well to budget like 20k to 30k for transport and then for feed, let us just cook at our Air BnB and keep buying minimal. Most of the food in Dubai especially in all these public tourist places are EXPENSIVE and if you are not careful, you can spend 20k on nothing.
So what we did was make our own meals as I took plenty food stuff from Nigeria and as I ran out, I bought stuff from Carrefour which was SO CHEAP.
Buying stuff at downtown Deira where the Gold and Spice souk was also helped me save money.
Then there are SO MANY local places to eat around where I stayed so that really helped save me money unlike buying stuff in malls where even one tiny bottle of water can be N1500. So maybe for food, except you are into fancy eating (of which you should fancy eat at least once haha), you can get away with like 20k.
Please I am giving all the prices in Naira biko.
4. Tourist attractions and shopping
Phew. This is another one that MAY cost you money though you have the option of choosing to go or not go lol. I haven’t drawn up an itinerary yet but hey, most likely we would do Top of the Burj,
Underground Aquarium and Zoo,
Dessert safari (a must for me as I couldn’t do it with my kids), the Souks in downtown Dubai (even if you are not buying anything, you NEED to be in the presence of all that gold lol.
Plus this is where to buy all the Dubai souvenirs for fam and friends back home as they cost LESS than half price at the malls),
Dubai mall (free and you really can never tire of or even exhaust the space that is Dubai mall), Mall of the Emirates, the beach (some free some paid but affordable),
Lego land water parks (another must for me), the museum (we couldn’t go cos kids a certain age aren’t allowed) and more sha.
This one, na your money kill am. Truth is even with a lean budget, so far you don enter Dubai, there are a gazillion free attractions to keep you busy.
On a personal note, I plan to do a WHOLE professional photo shoot in Dubai. So really, any experience you want to have, so long as it is within your budget.
Flight aside, this probably took the bulk of my budget cos I really wanted the kids to explore. I actually think even with 40k or less, you can explore Dubai and shop sensibly. I will do a proper itinerary and prices so you can pick which your budget allows abeg
By which I am looking at the dollar. So per currency exchange, in Dubai you go from Dollar to Dirhams and vice versa, except you wanna change your money in Nigeria which I don’t really advise. I changed my naira to dollars, paid for MOST of all our tourist attractions here in Nigeria online and travelled with minimal cash and my dollar card. You can pay for almost anything using your dollar card so it is something to get if you don’t have. I use GTBank Dollar MasterCard after all my research and it worked well, and costs like 20USD yearly maintenance fee and there were NO charges when I paid using POS. I think they charge when you withdraw from an atm but I dint have to as I planned my trip down to the last dollar and cos Dubai works, what you plan is what you get.
I dirham (AED) is about 98 naira but with a BDC, of course they get their own cut so you pay slightly more. Like I said, I worked with dollars and I think it paid me more as I exchanged in the bank using PTA i.e. personal travel allowance. But because I wanted to hold on to some AED as I travelled, I converted about 11k to 100AED at a BDC in the airport. The BEST and most cost effective payments were when I paid with my card.
Also miscellaneous would cover things like communication. I mean you can choose to buy a sim and that is usually SUPER EXPENSIVE. Calling too is expensive to home so I had to give up on it and regretted the Etisalat sim I got for over 10k lol. Oh and you must know that whatsapp calls don’t work in Dubai and in fact all video calls and audio except cell phones so except you are ready to spend A TON on airtime, don’t bother. I resorted to sending voice notes and chatting and since there is free and fast Wi-Fi literally everywhere including the apartment we will lodge in, I would say just stick to chats and VNs to keep in touch at home. You can send them pictures and videos but no calls. And I am really OK with it. Me I will just keep my house in order and be ready to not hear from or see my kids LIVE in those days. I sure am not buying any sim again as the tourist sim even expires in weeks or so except you keep paying to keep it going. You may also ask a local to give you a sim they aren’t using or buy for you in their name, but if you try to buy in your name, you MUST buy a tourist sim as you use your international passport as ID. So rubbish lol.
So this is a ROUGH estimate and guide. Trust me, if you want to go, and you start to plan now, save and pay small small, you won’t know when you complete payment. And once you start, you gain momentum and you wanna keep going.
Soooo interested? Send me a mail with subject JESUS GIRLS DUBAI TRIP and then we go from there. Of course I expect more input from those of us who are also expert planners
We would also have like whole Jesus moments
Bible study on the beach
Worship in the desert haha
Tongue strolling through their almost perfect roads
A vigil right at home
Enjoy Friday church service (I didn’t get to go with the kids cos we overslept)
Hopefully, those of us going won’t really know ourselves so new friendships will be formed, yay!!! I am SO HERE for that one.
Like we are going to have a BLAST!!!
Date for this trip would be MOST LIKELY be Tuesday Sept 22, to Wednesday Sept 30, 2020.
By then, the summer rush should have died down, those of us with kids in school would have resumed and settled into their new classes, and our homes should have picked up some good momentum
If you need to also take your leave around the time, then you can start to plan for that early enough
So email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with DUBAI as the subject abeg and then we will have our group and commence more precise planning together.
Please I am all for keeping groups right for the purpose it was created. Abeg, nothing extra and certainly no drama. It is not a counselling group, mentoring group, sistership group, and prayer group and so on. We are planning for a trip so we focus on that abeg.
So let the emails start to come. Will close after I hit a certain number except I dint a reason to make it bigger. And hey, of course you can also come from outside Nigeria. The more extensive, the better