Dubai, a traveler’s’ dream destination is a city that never ceases to surprise you with its bigger, flashier man-made wonders like the Burj Khalifa and World Island as well as a lovely beach and stunning desert.
With one of the best shopping malls in the world, spectacular attractions, exciting activities and buzzing nightlife you can’t have enough of this second largest emirate in the UAE. With so much to do and experience, our Dubai travel tips guide will ensure you do not miss out on the essential travel tips & tricks for a memorable vacation.
10 Essential Dubai Travel Tips
1. When to Go
- The best time to visit Dubai is during the winter months from November to March when the weather is comfortable for sightseeing throughout the day. Summer months must be avoided when temperatures are unbearable and all of Dubai goes into hibernation.
- Mid-November to early December and then first half of March are ideal to avoid the crowds and enjoy Dubai’s delights.
- With the New Year celebrations and Dubai Shopping Festival, December end to mid-February is the peak season with thick crowds, long queues and skyrocketing hotel prices.
2. What to Pack
- Modesty and moderation are the operative words when packing for Dubai to ensure a safe and fun trip without hurting any sensibilities. So tight-fitting and revealing clothes must be avoided by women travellers
- Considering the climate, light and loose cotton clothes should be preferred.
- Prescription medicines and basic first aid supplies so you don’t get hassled in a new place for minor bruises and illnesses
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses are a must to stay protected from the Dubai sun & heat
- Even though Dubai has ample options for Indian food, it is always a good idea to pack some ‘desi ‘snack and eats for a quick bite
- Since Dubai has a beautiful beach with water sports options and most hotels have swimming pools, a good beachwear/swimwear must be taken along
3. Documents and Currency
- Though obtaining a Dubai visa for Indians is hassle-free and takes about 3-4 working days, it is advisable to process your Visa at least a month in advance to avoid last-minute panic or delays. You can download the form and all other information at this comprehensive Website
- Make sure you carry your travel insurance along with the passport and other important documents.
- In case you decide to rent a car, you must carry your international driving license
- The prevalent currency in Dubai is the AED, commonly called Dirhams. You can carry few Dirhamsper head for taxi and food expenses at the airport.
- For other expenses it is advisable to either exchange INR at the Dubai airport or the malls (which sometimes offer better exchange rates).
- You can also carry international Debit/Credit cards and withdraw AED from the ATMs.
4. Health & Safety
- Dubai is one of the safest places with very low crime rates so you can be assured of your personal safety while travelling through the city.
- Basic precautions must still be taken like leaving your original documents in the hotel locker and carrying photocopies of all important documents along with you.
- With great emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness, Dubai has no health hazards and you can be rest assured of a safe and healthy experience in the city.
5. Arriving in Dubai
- Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest in the world so it’s better to have a fair idea of what to expect once you land there.
- The airport has three main terminals for International Arrivals. Once you are through with baggage reclaim, immigration and inbound security screening you need to move towards your chosen mode of transport to reach your hotel.
- You must keep in mind that there is a limit to the amount of alcohol or tobacco products that can be carried into Dubai, which will be scanned at the customs
- There are three options to reach the city-centre or your hotel from the airport. You must purchase an NOL travel smart card at the airport for payment for all three modes, as cash payment is not accepted
- The Dubai Metro is a fast, convenient and affordable way to reach your destination. With a 4-minute frequency and terminals near major hotels, this is a hassle-free option. Bear in mind that only 2 pieces of luggage per passenger are permitted on the metro. Ticket cost ranges from AED 4 to AED 8.5.
- The bus from the airport takes almost twice the time than the metro and ticket cost starts from AED 5
- Though much more expensive than the metro or bus, the Airport taxis are the fastest and most convenient way to travel to the city. With a flat base rate of AED 25, the taxis charge AED 1.96 per subsequent kilometre. While the metro and buses ply from early morning to midnight, the taxis are available 24×7
6. Getting Around and Local Transport
- Hiring a taxi is the best way to commute within the city. One of the important Dubai travel tips to bear in mind is that not all taxi drivers are local so you must carry a city map and address of your destination.
- Though not advisable, in case you still decide to rent a car then be wary of unpredictable driving behaviours and ensure you stay within the speed limits. Female drivers must specially be careful of not attracting too much attention by overtaking etc.
7. Dubai travel tips for the Shopping Enthusiasts
- If shopping is your primary agenda at Dubai, then you must plan your trip to coincide with the Dubai Shopping Festival (January) or Dubai Summer Surprises (July) for the best deals and heftiest discounts on all items.
- International shopping brands are not tax-free so they generally cost more than what they would in their countries of origin.
- Karama is a great place to buy souvenirs and novelty gift items to take back home. Try to buy all items from the same store to get a good bargain and discounts.
- While shopping for gold in the dazzling Dubai Gold Souk be sure to compare prices at various stores and then bargain for the best price. Payments through credit cards incur extra cost.
- The annual Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) is the best place to buy electronic products at hugely discounted prices along with freebies on offer.
8. Dubai Food & Nightlife
- Dubai has a vibrant nightlife with a great choice of bars, nightclubs and restaurants to lounge in and party.
- Though 21 years is the minimum age to buy alcohol in bars and clubs, some places might refuse entry to anyone under 25 years of age
- All nightclubs close at 3:00AM so you cannot plan to party till the wee hours of the morning.
- Dinner cruises are a great way to drink and dine with amazing views of the Marina
Suggested Read: 50 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30
9. Dress Code & Social Etiquettes
- When in local company, women travellers should avoid shaking hands unless the men offer to shake hands first.
- Being a country with traditional values it is important to dress as per the local sensibilities. It is preferable to keep your shoulders and knees covered while visiting public places like the malls.
- Shorts and sleeveless clothing are acceptable at major tourist places as well as the dune bashing areas. Swimwear is acceptable around the beach and near pool area.
- Though Dubai is the most liberal amongst all emirates, still it is better to avoid tight-fitting or revealing clothes to avoid unsolicited attention
- You must remember to take off your footwear before entering a mosque or house of the local residents.
- It is an unsaid etiquette to give and receive money, food or other items with your right hand.
- Photographing local people without their permission is considered a sign of disrespect.
10. Some Useful Arabic Phrases
- Min Fadlak – Please
- Shukrun – Thank You
- Na’am – Yes
- La’ – No
- Marhaba – Hello
- Afwan – Sorry, Excuse Me
These essential Dubai travel tips will ensure a pleasant and hassle-free trip to one of the top-rated destinations in the world. And to make it even better, we suggest you book a Dubai Tour Package from TravelTriangle and enjoy a personalized trip.