Travelling to Dubai? Here’s What You Need to Know


Travelling to Dubai? Here’s What You Need to Know

Travelling to Dubai? Here's all that you need to know before you embark on your trip to this beautiful desert paradise...

Dubai – a city of superlatives, where innovation meets tradition against a glittering skyline of architectural feats. If you’ve got your sights set on a visit to this opulent oasis in the desert, there are some crucial things you should know before you jet off.

From navigating the famed multicultural atmosphere to understanding local customs and laws, this guide will ensure you’re fully prepared for your Dubai adventure. So, before you buckle up and head for the home of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, take a moment to plan your trip with care.

So, if you’re travelling to Dubai, here’s what you need to know before you go, to make sure your time there is as smooth as the expanse of its pristine, sandy beaches.

Travelling to Dubai? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Go

Understanding Dubai’s Culture and Society

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with the majority of its residents being expatriates. While the city’s core is built on Islamic tradition, it prides itself on being welcoming of all faiths. It’s crucial to respect and acknowledge this blend of multiculturalism.

Modesty is a virtue in Dubai. While not all visitors are expected to dress in traditional Muslim attire, it’s important to be mindful of how you present yourself. Revealing clothing should be saved for the beach or private establishments, and public displays of affection are best kept to a minimum.

Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken, making it fairly easy to communicate. If you’re venturing into less touristy areas, some key Arabic phrases will be greatly appreciated.

One of the quintessential experiences in Dubai is a visit to a bustling souk or market. Here, bargaining is expected, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals and learn about their art, culture, and livelihoods. Before you arrive, acquaint yourself with the social nuances to ensure a respectful and enriching visit.

Dubai’s Weather and When to Go

Dubai’s climate is hot and arid, with the scorching summertime temperatures making outdoor activities quite challenging. The best time to visit is during the winter months, from November to April when the heat is more tolerable.

Winter in Dubai isn’t anything like the cold, snowy winters many are used to. Temperatures range from 73°F to 88°F (23°C to 31°C), offering warm, pleasant days and cool, comfortable evenings. This window also encompasses Dubai’s event season, hosting a wealth of cultural and sporting events, which add an extra layer of vibrancy to your trip.

Should you find yourself visiting Dubai during the summer, bear in mind that this is the city’s off-peak tourist season, meaning you can take advantage of lower hotel rates and fewer crowds. However, you’ll also be dealing with temperatures that can soar upwards of 104°F (40°C), so plan indoor activities during the midday heat.

Travelling to Dubai? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Go

Planning Your Itinerary

With so much to see and do, crafting an itinerary is crucial to making the most of your time in Dubai. The city offers a variety of attractions that cater to different interests, from the Dubai Mall and its impressive aquarium to the thrills of a desert safari.

A day trip to the diverse enclave of Al Fahidi Historic District – formerly known as Bastakiya – is a perfect way to explore Dubai’s roots. Wander through its narrow lanes, wind towers, art galleries, and museums that radiate an old-world charm balanced with a modern artistic experience.

For those seeking adventure, a trip to the dunes is a must. Engage in dune bashing, sandboarding, or even a serene hot air balloon ride at sunrise. The desert landscape is a stark contrast to the city’s glitz, and watching the sunset over these vast sands is a serene experience.

Cruise along Dubai Creek on an Abra – a traditional water taxi – for a unique perspective of Dubai’s contrast between old and new. Watch the dhows unload their cargo as skyscrapers loom in the background. Whether you’re interested in art, history, nature, or shopping, Dubai has something for every traveler.

Travel Insurance for Your Dubai Trip

Securing travel insurance before venturing to Dubai is a prudent decision for any traveler. Given Dubai’s opulent attractions and high-octane activities, having comprehensive travel insurance coverage can provide peace of mind against unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage. Although Dubai is renowned for its safety and state-of-the-art medical facilities, healthcare costs can be steep for tourists.

Look for a policy that offers comprehensive medical coverage, including repatriation. Furthermore, if you’re planning adventurous activities like desert safaris or skydiving, make sure your policy covers these specific ventures. Purchasing insurance is a small step that can safeguard your trip, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the splendour of Dubai without worry.

Navigating Dubai’s Transportation System

Dubai offers a variety of modern and reliable transportation options. The Dubai Metro is a fast and efficient way to get around, with two lines connecting most of the city’s major attractions.

Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, making for a convenient mode of travel. However, if you prefer to move at your own pace, consider renting a car. The roads are well-maintained and signposted in English and Arabic, but be aware that Dubai traffic can be quite aggressive.

You can also buy a NOL card, which is Dubai’s equivalent of London’s Oyster card. This contactless smart card can be used on the metro, buses, and water taxis. For those who like to plan, apps like Careem and Uber are also available.

Currency, Money, and Budgeting

The currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). Although credit cards are accepted in most places, it’s wise to carry some cash for smaller purchases and market transactions. ATMs are widely available, and currency exchange services are offered at banks and airports.

Dubai can be an expensive city, but there are plenty of ways to experience it on a budget. Look out for hotel and restaurant deals on travel websites, and consider purchasing a Dubai Pass if you plan to visit multiple attractions. This pass offers significant savings on entrance fees and includes a variety of perks.

When budgeting, remember to account for additional costs such as tipping, which is customary in Dubai. A service charge is often included in your bill, but an extra 10% is generally appreciated.

Dubai is a city of wonder that juxtaposes cosmopolitan development with historical charm. Ensuring you’re well-informed about Dubai’s culture, laws, and practicalities can set you up for a truly enriching and enjoyable experience.

From the bustling souks to the serene desert dunes, there’s an adventure waiting in every corner of this UAE gem. Plan your visit carefully, allow for flexibility in your itinerary, and most importantly, come with an open mind and a willingness to learn and respect the local way of life.

Now that you’re equipped with the essentials, it’s time to get ready for a trip to the dazzling city of Dubai, where the future is as bright as the desert sunsets.