Travel Tips for Dubai

Some things to keep in mind when traveling to Dubai...

 
Location

Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates and is roughly at sea level. The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast. The Persian Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate. Dubai covers an area of 1,588 square miles, which represents a significant expansion beyond its initial 1,500 square miles designation due to land reclamation from the sea.

Climate

Dubai weather is generally hot and humid with a high daily average of sun hours. The Dubai climate is an arid subtropical climate due to Dubai being located within the Northern desert belt. The weather in Dubai can bring short and irregular rainfall as is typical for the Middle East. Most of the rainfall in Dubai occurs between December and March. However, these months are also considered to be the best for visiting Dubai as temperatures cool down to a more comfortable level of 75°F during the day time. The Dubai weather is at its worst from June until September, reaching daily average temperatures over 110°F.

Entry Requirements

For personal travel of 30 days or fewer, U.S. citizens holding valid tourist passports may obtain visitor visas at the port of entry for no fee. For stays longer than 30 days, all travelers must obtain a visa before arrival in the UAE.

Tipping Protocol

Tipping is not widely accepted practice in Dubai. However, it is appreciated. Sometimes, a service charge is added to your bill which is then pooled among waiters. If no service charge is applied, tip by cash so that it goes to the person who actually served you.

Language

The official language of Dubai is Arabic. However, English is widely spoken and understood.

Health

In addition to up to date routine vaccinations, the following are needed at 4-6 weeks before departure: typhoid, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.

Currency & Exchange, Credit Cards, and Banking

The Dirham is the currency in Dubai, as well as the rest of the United Arab Emirates. The banknotes come in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. It is typically smart to get one hundred dirhams prior to leaving the airport for cabs, tips, etc. MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted in most places in Dubai.

Electricity

Electricity in the UAE is 230V and frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug type is Type G, which looks like this:

Religion

The UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab and Bedouin culture. In contrast, the city of Dubai is a highly cosmopolitan society with a diverse and vibrant culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as a compromise between Friday's holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday.

Jet Lag

Westbound flights appear to be the worst for jet lag but many people report feelings of jet lag with any long haul flights. To prevent feeling the worse for wear when you arrive at your destination try the following tips: Be well rested before boarding your flight, drink plenty of fluids and cut back on the alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, try to exercise by stretching in your seat or strolling the isle. One of the best tips is to try to set your body clock to your destination’s time while in flight. Waiting until you land can leave you literally in the wrong time zone.

What to Pack
  • Don’t bring low cut dresses, sleeveless tops, or very short or tight skirts, jeans, or pants.

  • Choose casual, comfortable, and breathable clothing. Lightweight cottons and washable linens are especially comfortable

  • Sweatshirt, sweater, or lightweight fleece jacket (for a possible cool evening in the desert.

  • Lightweight waterproof rain poncho or small umbrella.

  • Sun hat with a brim.

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen, sunburn relief products and lip balm with SPF

  • Toiletries (Note: feminine hygiene items are not always easily accessible)

  • Good Camera

  • Normal western swimwear is acceptable at Dubai hotel swimming pools and at the beach with the exception of thongs.